UCLA football excited to get out of San Bernardino

UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora. Coaches and athletes from each team in the PAC-12 pose for a group photo. The schools were invited to speak at the 2016 Pac-12 Football Media Days at the Loews Hollywood Hotel In Hollywood, CA. July 15, 2016. (Photo by John McCoy/So Cal News Group)

UCLA Head Coach Jim Mora. Coaches and athletes from each team in the PAC-12 pose for a group photo. The schools were invited to speak at the 2016 Pac-12 Football Media Days at the Loews Hollywood Hotel In Hollywood, CA. July 15, 2016. (Photo by John McCoy/So Cal News Group)

The UCLA football team wrapped up Pac-12 Media Days on Friday looking forward to fall camp. For linebacker Jayon Brown, there’s one more reason than usual to be excited.

Unlike in past years, the Bruins will only be spending one week in San Bernardino instead of two. Head coach Jim Mora scheduled the first week of camp on UCLA’s campus before spending the final week at Cal State San Bernardino.

“That’s lovely,” Brown said of getting to stay in Westwood for a week of camp. “Everybody on the team I know is hyped up for that. The ‘Dino is hot and it’s dry and it’s not a lovely place. Sorry for all the people out there in the I.E.” Continue reading

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Video: Jayon Brown and Conor McDermott at Pac-12 Media Day

Here’s some video of linebacker Jayon Brown and offensive tackle Conor McDermott at Pac-12 Media Day.

Brown talks about getting picked to win the Pac-12 South, the return of Eddie Vanderdoes and facing Noel Mazzone in the season opener.

McDermott talks about his decision to return to UCLA.

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Steve Sarkisian: USC has underperformed against UCLA

In two stints as an USC assistant coach, Steve Sarkisian saw the Trojans win six rivalry games with just one loss. As the program’s head coach, he’s 0-for-1 against UCLA — part of the Bruins’ three-win streak.

Asked about the factors that have tilted the rivalry to Westwood, Sarkisian traced the roots to Rick Neuheisel. Despite the his lackluster on-field record, the former UCLA head coach pulled in three top-15 recruiting classes from 2008-10. That gave Jim Mora some of the tools he needed to put the Bruins back atop Los Angeles football.

“They’ve recruited really well,” Sarkisian said on Friday. “I want to make sure I give Rick credit here too, because Rick brought in some really talented players: Brett Hundley, Owa (Odighizuwa), all these guys.

“I know Rick didn’t get to see it through, and Jim came in and continued upon that, recruiting good players. I think they’ve performed really well. The quarterback play with Brett really helped them. I think the first time around, their quarterback play struggled some.” Continue reading

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Pac-12 roundup: Everything on UCLA and the start of media days

Columnist Vinny Bonsignore and I recapped the first day of Pac-12 Media Days in the video above, talking about USC’s spot in the media poll and UCLA’s quarterback battle.

Here’s all our coverage from Thursday:
» UCLA players aren’t happy to be picked third in the Pac-12 South, but it might rekindle their underdog spirit.
» In deciding when to name a starting quarterback, Jim Mora is weighing competition versus synergy.
» UCLA offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry will redshirt the 2015 season after offseason shoulder surgeries.
» The Bruins’ loss to Stanford last year is one that still comes up in the defensive locker room.
» Notes from elsewhere in the Pac-12, including Colorado lineman Stephane Nembot’s journey from Cameroon.
» The Pac-12 is still waiting on DirecTV, even after AT&T’s acquisition of the satellite provider.

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