Kenny Clark leads UCLA with All-Pac-12 first team selection

UCLA nose tackle Kenny Clark (97) was the Bruins' lone representative on the All-Pac-12 first team. He also caught at touchdown pass in UCLA's season-opening 34-16 win against Virginia. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA nose tackle Kenny Clark (97) was the Bruins’ lone representative on the All-Pac-12 first team. He also caught at touchdown pass in UCLA’s season-opening 34-16 win against Virginia. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Through most of the season, nose tackle Kenny Clark looked like UCLA’s best player. Pac-12 coaches agreed.

When the All-Pac-12 teams were announced Tuesday, Clark was the Bruins’ sole first-team representative on offense, defense, or special teams. The 6-foot-3, 310-pound junior was second on the team with seven tackles for loss, showed off his development as a pass rusher by notching his first five career sacks.

UCLA placed several more players on the second team. On offense, running back Paul Perkins, center Jake Brendel and left tackle Conor McDermott all earned spots. Linebacker Deon Hollins and defensive backs Randall Goforth and Jaleel Wadood filled in for the defense.

Receiver Jordan Payton, linebacker Aaron Wallace, and cornerback Marcus Rios were honorable mentions.

Perhaps the most eyebrow-raising part of the all-conference selections was Ka’imi Fairbairn settling for being a second-team specialist. The kicker became the Pac-12’s all-time leading scorer this season, hit a school-record 60-yard field goal, and is one of three finalists for the Lou Groza Award. Throw in his respectable 20 of 23 conversion rate on field goals, and he seemed like a shoe-in on the first team.

Instead, Pac-12 coaches voted for Aidan Schneider. The Oregon sophomore was slightly more accurate at 20 of 22, but hadn’t attempted a field goal longer than 41 yards. Fairbairn’s three misses have come from 47, 49 and 50 yards.

See the full All-Pac-12 teams below: Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Recapping UCLA’s 40-24 win over No. 20 Cal

UCLA snapped its two-game losing streak on Thursday by beating a higher-ranked team for the fifth time in its four years under Jim Mora. Here’s our coverage from the Bruins’ 40-24 win over No. 20 Cal at the Rose Bowl.

» UCLA still has tough climb ahead in the Pac-12 South race, but delivered an encouraging performance after back-to-back losses.
» In what was expected to be an exciting quarterback duel, UCLA’s true freshman Josh Rosen came out on top.
» Mark Whicker’s column on UCLA’s solid defensive showing against the Bears.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

UCLA’s Eddie Vanderdoes to miss season after tearing ACL

UPDATE: Eddie Vanderdoes tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. This is just about the worst news the UCLA defense could’ve gotten in Week 1.

UCLA defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes suffered a knee injury on Saturday against Virginia, the severity of which remains unclear.

Head coach Jim Mora said that the junior’s knee had “locked up” on him during the game. Vanderdoes appeared to aggravate it when he lifted up defensive tackle Kenny Clark to celebrate the latter’s first career touchdown catch. The 6-foot-3, 305-pound defender has undergone an examination, and the team is “waiting to see” on the results.

Vanderdoes and Clark teamed up for a dominant performance against the Cavaliers, helping UCLA limit UVa to just 2.9 yards per carry. Even if he is cleared for action, Vanderdoes seems like a likely candidate to sit out on Saturday against UNLV as a precautionary measure.

Safety Randall Goforth, who was tended to by trainers in the second half, is suffering a sore neck and should be ready to practice again on Tuesday.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

UCLA camp notes: Jerry Neuheisel takes first-team quarterback reps

Josh Rosen (3) and Jerry Neuheisel (11) listen to UCLA quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone at Cal State San Bernardino on Aug. 12, 2015. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff)

Josh Rosen (3) and Jerry Neuheisel (11) listen to UCLA quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone at Cal State San Bernardino on Aug. 12, 2015. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff)

» UCLA still technically has three quarterbacks competing to start, but after three days, it’s clear that Jerry Neuheisel and Josh Rosen are sharing the bulk of meaningful reps. Even when other Bruins have been asked about the race, they’ve usually discussed it purely as a Neuheisel vs. Rosen situation.

Mike Fafaul, who earned a scholarship this summer, got most of his action in seven-on-sevens today.

Neuheisel had his best day yet in training camp, and looks as if he’s taken a couple of steps forward since a relatively uninspiring spring. However, it’s going to take a lot to surpass both what Rosen has shown in practices and the higher ceiling he presents — even if Neuheisel is the one with meaningful game experience.

» A few notes on running backs. Nate Starks looks a bit more explosive than he did even in spring, and is now breaking off long runs at least once per practice.

So far, Bolu Olorunfunmi looks like a guy that could figure into the backfield rotation, though that may not be necessary given the existing depth at tailback. He won’t blow anyone away with highlights right now, but he has enough speed and can lower his shoulder into a defender or two. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

UCLA spring camp position reviews: Defensive backs

UCLA Bruins defensive back John Johnson (7) during a NCAA college spring football game at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena, Calif., Saturday, April 24, 2015. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

UCLA cornerback Johnny Johnson runs with the ball during the Bruins’ “Spring Showcase” at the Rose Bowl on April 24, 2015.
(Keith Birmingham/Staff)

Like UCLA’s offensive line, the secondary is a unit that has grown significantly during the Jim Mora era. Back in 2012, the Bruins were maligned for their pass defense, one that ranked eighth in the Pac-12. In the last two years, they haven’t ranked lower than fourth.

With every starter returning, there’s plenty of depth in the defensive backfield, one that has emphasized positional versatility to facilitate the use of shifting schemes and to better secure against injuries. This fall, the X-factor will be whether or not any one player makes the leap into becoming a dominant, shutdown corner.

The best candidate is likely still senior Fabian Moreau, who looked fantastic in spring and fall camp last year before a very uneven 2014 season. The former running back was burned repeatedly through the first half of his junior campaign, but eventually found more a rhythm as the year wound to a close. Position coach Demetrice Martin said in April that Moreau often appeared to be in great position for a play, then explicably stopped running all the way through. The Florida native has since made an effort to work on his ball skills and fix that habit. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page