Bruins honored on Pac-12 All-Academic teams

The Pac-12 announced its all-academic teams today, which you can view in full here. The 11 UCLA players mentioned are listed below.

First team
FB Phillip Ruhl, RS Jr., 3.37, Political Science
C Jake Brendel, RS So., 3.49, Economics (two-time mention)
QB Jerry Neuheisel, RS Fr., 3.56, undecided (special teams selection)

Second team
LB Aramide Olaniyan, RS Jr., 3.30, Political Science

Honorable mentions: FB Luke Gane, Rs. Jr.; LB Ryan Hofmeister, Rs. Jr.; LB Eric Kendricks, Rs. Jr.; LB Taylor Lagace, Rs. Fr.; LS Christopher Longo, Rs. So.; RB Steve Manfro, Rs. So.; RB Paul Perkins, Rs. Fr.

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Injury report: Left tackle Simon Goines fractured fibula

Left tackle Simon Goines is done for the season after fracturing his right fibula. He had surgery done Sunday morning at around 8 a.m., and will not be able to put weight on it for eight weeks.

He had returned to the starting lineup Saturday night after missing four games with an injured MCL, and his absence again forces three true freshmen onto UCLA’s first-string offensive line. The unit had one of its worst showings of the season against Arizona State, allowing nine sacks. Head coach Jim Mora said that after looking at film, quarterback Brett Hundley would have had a hard time avoiding most of those even with an early throw or run.

USC’s defensive front is just as impressive than the Sun Devils’. The Trojans have 32 sacks on the season to ASU’s 34, and are slightly ahead with 82 tackles for loss to 77.

– Receivers Grayson Mazzone and Darren Andrews will both have surgery for torn knee ligaments. Continue reading

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Jim Mora talks injuries, offensive line and weight goals


– Running back Jordon James (ankle) and left tackle Simon Goines (knee) likely won’t play on Saturday at Arizona. Reserve running back Steve Manfro (ankle) is also not yet healthy enough to return.

Backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel had surgery on his right thumb, and has had his hand wrapped all week. He will still be able to hold kicks, but not pass. Walk-on Mike Fafaul will likely sub in if Brett Hundley gets injured. Continue reading

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Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn not looking to the past

That 52-yard miss from last year’s Pac-12 Championship loss? Ka’imi Fairbairn doesn’t think about it much.

“Every kick’s the same kick,” the UCLA kicker said. “We have a 24-hour rule. You learn from it, and you move on.”

He’s practiced that field goal from the left hash over and over in the months since that 27-24 loss to Stanford. Even if the miss no longer gnaws at him, some heroics this Saturday at the Farm could help fans forget it too.

Fairbairn also has no complaints about new longsnapper Chris Longo and holder Jerry Neuheisel. If there’s been a drop-off from the mechanical efficiency of the Kevin McDermott-Jeff Locke duo, Fairbairn insists he hasn’t noticed. Continue reading

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Fall camp preview: Quarterback

Barring injury, quarterback will be the position of least concern at UCLA. Brett Hundley will start, and he will vie for All-Pac-12 first-team honors — if not an eventual Heisman. The more intriguing battle through fall is which Bruin backs him up, or replaces him in case of injury.

Key returners: Let’s talk a little bit about Hundley first. The redshirt sophomore is UCLA’s best quarterback in a decade, and is talented enough that leaving for the NFL is a legitimate proposition. Right now, I’d bet he stays a third season — much like Andrew Luck and Sam Bradford did at Stanford and Oklahoma in recent years.

The main knock on Hundley last year was his decision-making; too often, the talented freshman held on to the ball when he should have tossed it away. He also didn’t slide well, having simply bowled through defenders until college. In spring practices, he showed marked improvement on all fronts.

Already gifted with a prototypical frame, he added lean muscle through the offseason, crucial given the 52 sacks he took last year and UCLA’s questions on the offensive line. If an injury forced Hundley to miss significant time, the Bruins would likely miss a bowl berth. Continue reading

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Father’s Day: What makes a coach’s son?

For Father’s Day, a short read on what it’s like to grow up as a coach’s son — as it was first published in late November. (Taylor Mazzone has since been promoted to quarterbacks coach, after initially replacing Marques Tuiasosopo as Y receivers coach.)
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Taylor Mazzone has a vision. A beautiful home in a football- crazed town, a wife and kids, and a bit of job security.

Simple conditions, but difficult to come by when you’re vying to become a football coach. Mazzone, a UCLA graduate assistant, is no stranger to the profession’s winding path, the packing boxes and new ZIP Codes. After all, he’s a coach’s son. Continue reading

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Wake Forest QB Brendan Cross transferring to UCLA

Per CBS Sports’ Bruce Feldman, Wake Forest quarterback Brendan Cross will graduate in May and enroll in graduate school at UCLA. He will be eligible to play immediately.

The son of former UCLA great and College Football Hall of Famer Randy Cross, Brendan completed five of his 14 passes over three seasons with the Demon Deacons. A former three-star recruit on Rivals.com, Cross will enter a still-open competition for backup quarterback.

Through spring, Jerry Neuheisel and T.J. Millweard have more or less taken turns in having better practices. Walk-on Mike Fafaul is also in the mix, and four-star freshman Asiantii Woulard will arrive in the fall.

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