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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UCLA football injury update

The most significant injury so far in spring camp didn’t happen to a player.

While trying to demonstrate a route on Sunday, UCLA wide receivers coach Eric Yarber went down with what appeared to be a torn tendon in his quad. The 49-year-old lay on the ground for a few minutes before carted off.

“That was scary,” head coach Jim Mora said. “Initially, we went over there and I thought he either dislocated his hip or his knee. My first thought, honestly, was oh no — is he having a heart attack?”

A torn tendon was a relief after that initial scare, and Yarber should be back on the field barking at wideouts before too long.

“He’s got to remember that he’s almost 50,” Mora said. “His body doesn’t work like an 18, 20 year old anymore. I think he learned that rather dramatically today.”

As for the players, linebacker Eric Kendricks was on crutches and a boot after spraining his right ankle on Thursday. Mora termed it as “mild to significant,” and wasn’t sure if the rising junior would return this April. Continue reading

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