Brett Hundley talks about Bruins’ offense, O-line


Early this season, Brett Hundley couldn’t talk enough about UCLA’s resurgent offensive line. Since then, two starting tackles have gone down — one (Torian White) lost for the season with a broken ankle, the other (Simon Goines) still uncertain with an injured left MCL.

The quarterback’s most-used line now is talking about what he needs to do to help the five guys in front of him.

“I’ll keep my eyes down the field no matter what’s happening, what’s going on back there,” Hundley said. “I’ve just got to trust that they’re going to get the job done and do my part.”

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Three Bruins leave with injury at Stanford

After starting the season off relatively healthy, UCLA is starting to take hits.

Linebacker Eric Kendricks was taken to Stanford Hospital at halftime to receive tests for kidney pain. Left tackle Simon Goines went down with an injury, shortly followed by backup Conor McDermott. Goines later returned, but the Bruins’ offensive line — already without tackle Torian White — can’t afford to lose any bodies.

The Bruins, outgained 207 offensive yards to 84 in the first half, trail the Cardinal 17-3 with a little over three minutes to go in the third. Quarterback Brett Hundley is just 10 of 18 with 58 yards and an interception.

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Torian White’s injury unsettles UCLA offensive line

Through its first three games, UCLA’s offensive line had looked every part a resurgent unit — plowing lanes for an effective ground attack and keeping quarterback Brett Hundley on his feet. For the first time in a decade, the Bruins had both NFL-caliber talent and quality depth.

Also crucial was the chemistry, something both coaches and players said had improved vastly since an injury-plagued 2012 campaign. Early on this fall, the Bruins staff had emphasized building a consistent starting five.

Thursday night complicated those plans. In the second quarter of a 34-27 win at Utah, left tackle Torian White broke his right ankle. (UPDATE: White is officially out for the season with a break and slight ligament tear.) Continue reading

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Tackle Simon Goines adjusting to knee pain


After hyperextending his right knee during preseason camp, starting tackle Simon Goines has moved from the left side to the right — a shift that allows him to keep most of his weight on his left leg. The UCLA sophomore said the pain is similar to the issues that nagged him through his freshman season.

“It’s something I have to deal with, but over time it just keeps getting better and better,” Goines said.

He played right tackle for the first time when he arrived at UCLA from Keller, Texas, and said the change mostly involves developing muscle memory around his hips: “You’re opening in different ways and stepping different.”

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VIDEO: Left tackle Simon Goines talks knee injury


Two weeks ago, Simon Goines limped off the Cal State San Bernardino practice field, his UCLA teammates standing in silence. The left tackle’s right leg had taken an awkward roll, and he placed little pressure on it as he was helped toward the locker room.

“Initially, I was pretty scared,” he said.

Further examination showed that it was a hyperextended right knee — good news for a young unit that needs as many experienced members as possible. The sophomore participated in Monday’s practice for the first time since the injury, and head coach Jim Mora expects him to be ready to play against Nevada. Continue reading

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Linebacker Eric Kendricks returns to first full practice since spring


After sitting out most of spring and fall camp, UCLA linebacker Eric Kendricks returned to 11-on-11 drills Tuesday morning, the most field action he’s seen in nearly four months.

Last year’s Pac-12 leader with 150 tackles, the 6-foot, 228-pound junior said he underwent ankle surgery four weeks ago. The procedure was optional, but he said he didn’t opt for it because of worsening pain. He just wanted to be fully ready for the season.

“It feels great to be back,” Kendricks said. “To be honest with you, I’ve just been taking it easy. I’ve been in the training room. I got a lot of treatment in San Bernardino.”

He said Tuesday that he had been instructed not to disclose the exact nature of the injury.

“It was just a little bit nagging,” he said. “It was annoying. It just wasn’t normal. I know how my body feels when it’s normal, and it was just a little bit off.” Continue reading

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Freshman DE Eddie Vanderdoes returns to practice

SAN BERNARDINO — Eddie Vanderdoes may have been a little too eager.

Limited by a tight back nearly all of fall camp, the freshman defensive end bull-rushed without pads on his first play Friday morning, his first significant taste of college football. After being scolded by Mora, he dialed the intensity back a little too much.

“As you guys noticed, he didn’t quite understand the tempo there,” head coach Jim Mora said. “He got a little bit aggressive, so we sent him off for a couple of plays. He told me after practice he feels good.

“We just have to really work him back in — not at a snail’s pace, but at a pace where we don’t overload him too early. You can certainly see the level of ability.”

Vanderdoes pegged his progress at about 85 percent. The five-star recruit wasn’t sure exactly what ailed him, but described symptoms that indicated a slipped disc. He said treatment included stretching and a lot of work on the trainer’s table.

“The last few days, I was still hurting a little bit,” Vanderdoes said. “I wanted to go in, but they wouldn’t let me.”

PASS-BLOCKING KEY FOR TAILBACKS

For weeks, UCLA has stuck with the message that it will use five different tailbacks. Through that time, however, junior Jordon James has taken the bulk of the first-team reps.

One reason? His pass-blocking is improving, which bodes well for his chances to become the official starter. Continue reading

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Jim Mora says new targeting penalty is worst rule change he’s seen in football

SAN BERNARDINO — During a recent fall camp practice, one of the officials brought in to help UCLA suppress penalties approached Jim Mora. One of the hits, he told the Bruins’ head coach, would have resulted in an ejection.

Forty-five minutes after the session ended, the official changed course: Upon further review, there wasn’t enough evidence that the player had targeted a defenseless opponent.

“Well, OK, so do I get to now bring in, ‘Go put your stuff back on, get back out’?” Mora said Thursday. “How does that work? I don’t like it.”

Such is the fault in human judgment. Tweaks to the college football rulebook have greatly increased the penalty for football players who aim at an opponent’s head or neck — especially with intent that exceeds a legal tackle or block. In the past, the punishment was a 15-yard penalty. Continue reading

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Right guard rotation key to improving UCLA’s offensive line


SAN BERNARDINO — After one of the worst practices he’d ever seen, Adrian Klemm was asked how comfortable he felt with his offensive line.

Frustrated, the UCLA assistant coach said he expected to start two or three true freshmen.

After the Bruins started preseason training camp in San Bernardino, Klemm clarified: He meant that two or three of his seven freshmen will compete for, not necessarily win, a spot.

“More often than not, they’re not as technically sound as you’d like them to be,” said Klemm, who was named Pac-12 Recruiter of the Year by both Rivals.com and Scout.com. “We have three or four of those guys that are physically close.

“We have probably three of them that have a long ways (to go) in terms of body composition. Two that came in pretty poor shape.” Continue reading

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Fall camp preview: Offensive line

With less than four weeks until the start of UCLA’s fall camp, let’s examine each of the Bruins’ position groups as they try and best last season’s 9-5 record — the program’s highest win total since 2005.

First, the offensive line, one of UCLA’s most problematic areas last season. A thin and relatively inexperienced unit, the Bruins’ line gave up 52 sacks and committed numerous penalties. After landing seven touted freshmen, it could be the most improved group on the roster.

Key returners: Continue reading

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