Weekly Q&A — 9/24/15 Answers

Q: Does UCLA have enough defensive depth to win the Pac-12 given the three major injuries that have taken place to date?

A: Saturday’s game at Arizona will be very telling, but I wouldn’t count UCLA out of the Pac-12 yet. There’s no team in the division — or in the conference, really — that doesn’t have at least one significant question hanging over its head right now. It helps the Bruins that they can avoid Oregon and Washington in conference play.

I do think that the Bruins’ chances hinge a lot on whether or not the rest of league hits some speed bumps too. This feels like a season that will see the Pac-12 produce a two-loss champion, so UCLA’s path could become more about surviving a war of attrition rather than razing the field.

Q: Do you think Myles Jack will stay another year?

A: I do not. This is cherry picking a bit, but other players have left college after missing most of their final season without suffering much in terms of draft position. Sam Bradford (No. 1, 2010) and Todd Gurley (No. 10, 2015) are the first examples that come to mind, and both were coming off injures — shoulder and ACL, respectively — that appear to be more serious than Jack’s. If the UCLA linebacker sticks to that four- to six-month timetable, he should be fully healthy in time for all the major pre-draft workouts. There’s also the matter of that $5 million insurance policy he took out more than a year ago. If he does slip a little bit in this coming draft draft, that should make up for a good chunk of the financial losses. Why would he want to come back to college and risk an even more serious injury?

Q: What are your odds Myles makes it back this year? Continue reading

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UCLA LB Myles Jack’s torn meniscus sidelines him 4-6 months

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack’s knee injury is a torn anterior meniscus, and will almost certainly keep him out for the remainder of the season — as well as cast doubt on his future as a Bruin.

Head coach Jim Mora said Thursday that the tear will sideline the defensive star for four to six months, and said that he does not expect Jack to return in time for a bowl game.

“If he were, that would be a bonus that we’re not really even thinking of or counting on,” Mora said. “I don’t think it would be fair to put that type of pressure on him. … I think you have to be very careful when you start putting a timeframe on, but when you say four to six, there’s a little wiggle room there.

“So I think — I’m certain he’s out for the year.”

Jack got hurt on Tuesday, Mora said, when he bumped his knee against another player’s during a 7-on-7 portion of practice. Continue reading

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VIDEO: UCLA reacts to LB Myles Jack’s season-ending injury

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack suffered a season-ending knee injury on Tuesday, and his absence could derail the No. 9 Bruins’ high aspirations this season.

“You can’t replace him,” said outside linebacker Deon Hollins. “The things he that can do on the field, you just can’t replace it.”

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UCLA linebacker Myles Jack out for season with knee injury

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, the most devastating blow yet for a Bruins’ defense that had already lost two starters.

Jack was arguably the most versatile player on the roster, a 6-foot-1, 245-pound athlete who was capable of matching up one on one with wide receivers and returning kicks. No other Bruin is capable of replicating what he provided to a defense that, through three weeks, ranked top 20 nationally in scoring defense (14.0 points) and yards allowed per play (4.39).

Head coach Jim Mora would not say whether or not Jack had torn his ACL, only calling it a “significant knee injury.” Jack suffered the injury late during Tuesday’s practice, and had surgery later in the day.

The All-Pac-12 second-team linebacker was projected as a first-round pick before his injury. He took out an insurance policy in April 2014, one that Yahoo! Sports reported to be worth more than $5 million and accounted for injuries affecting his NFL draft stock.

UCLA also lost starting defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes to a torn ACL in a season-opening win over Virginia, and starting cornerback Fabian Moreau to a foot fracture this past weekend.

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UCLA 24, BYU 23: LB Myles Jack

UCLA linebacker Myles Jack shared his thoughts on the Bruins’ 24-23 win over BYU, and described his game-clinching interception in the final minute.

“I just played really deep,” Jack said. “I just shadowed right over him. I knew it was going to be a deep out, and he slipped on his route. The quarterback still just threw it to him. It was fourth down — he was just hoping anything would happen — but he threw it right to me.”

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