UCLA’s Jake Brendel, Fabian Moreau to attend Pac-12 Media Days

UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau (10) will help represent the Bruins at Pac-12 Media Days. He is pictured here defending former UCLA receiver Devin Lucien during spring practice on Apr. 16, 2014. (Brad Graverson/Staff)

UCLA cornerback Fabian Moreau (10) will help represent the Bruins at Pac-12 Media Days. He is pictured here defending former UCLA receiver Devin Lucien during spring practice on Apr. 16, 2014. (Brad Graverson/Staff)

At Pac-12 Media Days next month, UCLA will be represented by center Jake Brendel and cornerback Fabian Moreau.

The event expanded to two days for the first time in 2014, and will remain in that format at Warner Bros. Studios in Burbank on July 30-31. Head coach Jim Mora and his two players are scheduled to speak on the first day at 10:50 a.m.

The Bruins have customarily brought veteran players to the conference’s first major press event of the season, and this year is no exception. Brendel is an easy pick as a team captain, one who has started 39 of 40 possible games in the middle of the offensive line.

That Moreau is attending rather than linebacker Myles Jack is a bit of a surprise, but the cornerback is one of the few seniors with starting experience. The former running back was a second-team All-Pac-12 selection last season, but put together an underwhelming campaign given his preseason hype.

See the full Pac-12 Media Days schedule below: Continue reading

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Pac-12 Media Days roundup: Bruins and Trojans and Huskies; oh my!

Photo gallery from Day 2 of Pac-12 Media Days (Andy Holzman/Daily News)

The Pac-12 stretched its annual media event across two days for the first time, In case you missed any of it, here’s a roundup of all the coverage that appeared in Los Angeles News Group newspapers.

Day 1
— Columnist Jill Painter, on the “glitz and glamour” of the Pac-12’s coaches and athletes.
— The Pac-12 returns 10 of its starting quarterbacks … leaving defensive backs somewhat forgotten.
— It’s a high-scoring conference, but its member teams find the end zone in different ways.
Steve Sarkisian does not care that his USC team received just one division vote to UCLA’s 37.

Day 2
— He isn’t the biggest UCLA name, but linebacker Eric Kendricks is ready to play.
— How many good quarterbacks does the Pac-12 have? Not one, not two, not three
— Washington suspended quarterback Cyler Miles, the Pac-12 Networks are going international, and other conference notes.

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UCLA notes: Jim Mora warns against stereotyping Brett Hundley as ‘runner’

» Brett Hundley led UCLA with 748 rushing yards last season, but head coach Jim Mora emphasized at Pac-12 Media Days that his quarterback is — first and foremost — a passer.

“I say that about Brett because people have a tendency at times to see an African-American quarterback and say he’s a runner,” Mora said. “And I hate that stereotype. I always have. I coached Mike Vick. I believe we stereotype those guys started with that, and I don’t want that to happen with Brett.

“I’m going to make sure it doesn’t. It shouldn’t. The guy’s a passer, man, but he can run.”

» Mora smiled when asked about the weather in San Bernardino, where UCLA will start training camp on Aug. 4: “I hope it’s hot. I would just like us to be in triple digits. As long as we’re in triple digits, I’ll be happy.”

Unlike last summer, UCLA will not go down to San Diego for a three-day pre-camp session with Navy SEALs. Mora said the experience helped his team later in the season — particularly when it needed to bond together through the death of receiver Nick Pasquale — but didn’t want to dull the impact by repeating it too often.

» What does two-way superstar Myles Jack have in store for his sophomore season? Not even his teammates are sure.

“I’m excited,” said linebacker Eric Kendricks. “I don’t even know what to expect. He put on 15 (pounds) of muscle. He’s gotten so much stronger. He’s been working hard. That’s all you can ask of a guy. He doesn’t let any of this hype, this circle of fame get to his head.” Continue reading

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Quarterback Brett Hundley doesn’t care about ‘big superstar’ status

It’s getting harder and harder for Brett Hundley to walk around unnoticed. This offseason, the redshirt junior has made the rounds the media rounds, been slapped on a budding Heisman campaign, and featured in a sketch video touting him as UCLA’s “Campus Enforcer.”

About par for the course when you turn down NFL riches for one last shot at collegiate glory. Hundley knows the Bruins have been marked as a dark-horse national title candidate. He knows that, lest the team stumbles, the hype is only going to grow with each passing week.

So, what is he thinking?

“I think I feel more confident and relaxed this season,” Hundley said Thursday, shortly before a UCLA official shuttled him off to yet another interview spot.

The Bruins were arguably the biggest attraction at the latter half of Pac-12 Media Days, drawing a crowd even during an impromptu game of cornhole on the Paramount Studios lawn. It helps that Hundley doesn’t seem to care. Continue reading

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Jim Mora: Leaving UCLA would have left Bruins with ’empty lessons’

Over his first two seasons at UCLA, Jim Mora has fielded overtures everywhere from Washington to Texas to the San Diego Chargers. Each time, he said no, eventually signing an extension through 2019.

During his Pac-12 media scrum on Thursday, he again reiterated his commitment to the Bruins. Acknowledging that he was not the “the most popular hire in the history of college sports,” he said he wanted to reciprocate the trust athletic director Dan Guerrero gave him back in December 2011.

Mora also remarked on — and disapproved of — the way that some college coaches have changed jobs.

“Most importantly, I’m committed to our players,” he said. “We go recruit these kids, go into their homes and talk to their parents and we ask them to commit to us. We see coaches run out on them, and I don’t think that’s right. We sit in our meeting rooms and talk to our kids about being selfless and sacrifice and putting a team first. Then you see coaches when the first opportunity comes up to take off and better their situation, they run and do it and leave these kids behind with these, to me, empty lessons.

“And that’s not who I want to be. I’m saying there until they kick me out. That might be tomorrow, who knows. I’ve been kicked out before. But I’m staying until they kick me out.”

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