UCLA still waiting to name a starting quarterback

UCLA head coach Jim Mora speaks to reporters during NCAA college Pac-12 Football Media Days, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Burbank, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

UCLA head coach Jim Mora speaks to reporters during NCAA college Pac-12 Football Media Days, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Burbank, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

At this point, just about everyone is tired of asking questions about UCLA’s starting quarterback. And rest assured, Jim Mora is tired of fielding those questions.

So when Mora accidentally let slip that Virginia would be blitzing a guy who has “never taken a snap” — well, reporters latched onto that like piranhas. Of the Bruins’ three quarterbacks, only five-star recruit Josh Rosen has never stepped on the field in a college game.

The UCLA head coach insisted afterward that it was simply an honest faux pas — that he’d meant to say a quarterback who has “never started a game.” As always, he insisted that the competition between Rosen, returning backup Jerry Neuheisel, and former walk-on Mike Fafaul (now on scholarship) is still alive.

“What I am after is competition,” Mora said. “Competition brings out the best in everybody. It’s trying to balance wanting that great competition, and wanting to have that synergy that’s so important on offense. That’s where it gets a little tricky. Hopefully we do a good job of that.”

“I would like to decide sooner rather than later,” he added later, “but I can’t force it to happen.” Continue reading “UCLA still waiting to name a starting quarterback” »

Clancy Pendergast officially hired by San Francisco 49ers

The San Francisco 49ers have officially hired longtime defensive coordinator Clancy Pendergast, striking one potential name off the list of candidates for UCLA defensive coordinator.

The Bruins officially announced Jeff Ulbrich’s departure for the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday, although the offer was first reported last Tuesday.

Pendergast’s name had been tossed around as a potential replacement for Ulbrich, even though he had reportedly been hired by the 49ers. With the hire not yet finalized until today, the door remained open to the possibility that the 47-year-old might opt for the college ranks despite his distaste for recruiting. He had mentioned for defensive coordinator openings at both LSU and Utah last month.

He had been a defensive coordinator for the Arizona Cardinals and Kansas City Chiefs for over half a decade before taking the same position at Cal (2010-12) and USC (2013). Pendergast is about as bland as Ulbrich is charismatic, but is a football lifer with well-regarded knowledge of the Xs and Os.

UCLA could still opt for someone with a similar background — with the most popular name now being Jim Haslett, who worked with Bruin head coach Jim Mora on the New Orleans Saints staff in 1995 and 1996. Haslett mutually parted ways with Washington at the end of 2014, and is currently without a job.

An NFL-type hire would make sense for a few reasons. It would fit Mora’s pattern for hiring assistants, and could be used as a selling point with recruits — even if the candidate himself doesn’t turn out to be a stud recruiter. It also might be harder to lure a NCAA assistant away at this time of year, at least without a significant pay raise or other extenuating factors.