Eric Kendricks, Myles Jack named Butkus Award semifinalists

UCLA’s Eric Kendricks and Myles Jack were both named among 15 semifinalists for the Butkus Award, given each year to the best linebacker in the country.

Kendricks leads the Pac-12 with 93 tackles this season, and is just 43 tackles away from tying Jerry Robinson’s all-time school record of 468. The senior is coming off one of the best games of his career: a 16-tackle performance in the Bruins’ 40-37 win at Colorado that included an interception, as well as three third-down stops to force a punt or a field goal. All but one of his tackles were unassisted.

Head coach Jim Mora called it Kendricks’ best game of the season, adding that the tackle total wasn’t inflated by plays farther down the field. Continue reading

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UCLA’s Myles Jack makes season debut at running back vs. Memphis

PASADENA >> Myles Jack is a running back again.

The reigning Pac-12 Freshman of the Year on both sides of the ball played exclusively at linebacker in UCLA’s season opener, but got his first carry at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. He was in on two plays on the Bruins’ first drive against Memphis, gaining one yard on a carry before subbing back out.

Jack had 13 tackles against Virginia in Week 1, and is expected to play offense only in certain packages this season. He rushed for 267 yards and seven touchdowns through four games in November 2013.

Starting running back Paul Perkins opened scoring with a 17-yard touchdown, helping the Bruins to a 13-7 lead over Memphis after one quarter.

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Jim Mora: Center Jake Brendel close to return from sprained knee

After missing his first start at UCLA, center Jake Brendel appears to be day-to-day in his recovery from a sprained knee.

Head coach Jim Mora said Sunday that Brendel was “very, very close” to returning to full action after injuring his MCL three weeks ago in training camp. The Bruins’ offensive line looked awful in Saturday’s 28-20 win at Virginia, and losing their most experienced lineman played a significant role.

Brendel dressed and warmed up at Scott Stadium, but sat on the bench while sophomore Scott Quessenberry took his place. The redshirt junior had started 27 straight games for UCLA over the last two seasons, giving Mora and his staff an anchor in the middle of the line.

“I didn’t realize that, until after the game yesterday, it was the first game since we’ve been here as a staff that Jake hasn’t been our starting center,” Mora said. “He’s a leader. He’s a great communicator. He’s got toughness. He’s got experience.” Continue reading

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VIDEO: Myles Jack talks about UCLA’s season opener at Virginia

After weeks of growing hype, UCLA will finally be able to focus solely on their Aug. 30 season opener at Virginia. Linebacker Myles Jack summed up the team’s attitude succinctly on Monday: “We lose this game, and everybody goes away.”

Jack also talked about linebacker depth, the lack of two-way players nationwide, as well as whether or not he expects to play some running back this weekend.

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