UCLA football 2015 season preview: UNLV Rebels

UCLA Bruins at UNLV Rebels
Saturday, Sept. 12 | Sam Boyd Stadium
7:30 p.m. PT, CBS Sports Network

The skinny: The optimist might say that UNLV made one of the offseason’s most daring moves. The cynic might say that the Rebels are throwing anything against the wall to see if it sticks.

High school experience can be an invaluable foundation to a coaching career. Baylor’s Art Briles bounced around Texas high schools for two decades before his first college job. Auburn’s Gus Malzahn did the same in Arkansas for almost 15 years. Ole Miss’ Hugh Freeze was once best known for being Michael Oher’s coach at Briarcrest Christian in Memphis.

But none of them jumped directly from preps to become the head coach of an FBS program. On that path, UNLV’s Tony Sanchez is preceded by just three others: Todd Dodge (North Texas), Gerry Faust (Notre Dame), and Bob Commings (Iowa). That trio combined for a 54-100-1 record at those respective schools. Dodge, who was with the Mean Green from 2007-10, is the only one who was still coaching by the time most of today’s college players were born.

Still, Sanchez has an advantage that those three other men didn’t: He is extraordinarily well connected, particularly with a moneyed crowd that poured resources into making Bishop Gorman a powerhouse prep program. 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

Four-star athlete Rahyme Johnson becomes UCLA’s first 2017 commit

There are still 194 days left until UCLA’s next group of recruits can sign their letters of intent, but Rahyme Johnson is already looking ahead.

With more than 500 days left until his own National Signing Day, the four-star athlete announced his commitment to the Bruins on Friday, becoming the first member of their 2017 class. He’s also ranked a three-star outside linebacker by Rivals.com, as well as one of the top 25 recruits in California.

Johnson has more of a receiver’s build right now at 6-foot-4, 196 pounds, but still has two seasons left at Los Angeles Salesian to fill out his frame.

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

What does it take to succeed as a true freshman quarterback?

UCLA will likely turn to Josh Rosen this season, making the St. John Bosco product the latest true freshman to start at quarterback. (Scott Varley/Staff)

UCLA will likely turn to Josh Rosen this season, making the St. John Bosco product the latest true freshman to start at quarterback. (Scott Varley/Staff)

Josh Rosen will almost certainly be UCLA’s starting quarterback this season. How successful he’ll be as a true freshman is another question. To try and answer that, I asked a few players who had started games their first year on campus — from Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor to Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg.

The story is part of our college football preview package, which comes out in magazine form as part of all LANG newspaper editions this Sunday. You can check out some of that content online, including (too early) USC-UCLA predictions and games to watch each week.

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

Three-star tight end Jordan Wilson commits to UCLA

UCLA has pulled a tight end recruit from 2,000 miles across the country.

On Wednesday morning, three-star prospect Jordan Wilson committed to the Bruins, picking them over several schools closer to his Nashville home — including Louisville and Missouri. He was also being recruited by some schools, including Oregon State, as a defensive end.

At around 6-foot-5, 215 pounds, Wilson is easily the biggest pass-catcher verbally committed to UCLA’s 2016 class. He caught 21 passes for 317 yards and a touchdown as a junior, and was part of a Montgomery Bell Academy roster that won its first Division II-AA state title since 2007.

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 football 2015 season preview: Virginia Cavaliers

By now, most of you are probably jonesing for the start of college football season. Fret not — it’s the perfect time to start looking at each of UCLA’s upcoming opponents. Let’s start with the Virginia.

UCLA Bruins vs. Virginia Cavaliers
Saturday, Sept. 5 | Rose Bowl
12:30 p.m. PT, FOX

The skinny: Virginia is not known for a deep, proud football tradition. While the program has been closer to mediocre than truly bad over the last decade, this remains a team that has not won a bowl game since 2005, and one that has not won its conference since 1995.

Can Mike London, a perennial coaching hot-seater, finally notch his second winning season in Charlottesville? The 54-year-old has some very interesting bullet points on his resume, but his recent coaching career hasn’t offered him much to brag about.

London peaked early, debuting as Richmond’s head coach in 2008 by winning 13 games and the FCS Championship. He put the Spiders back in the quarterfinals the following year, after which Virginia poached him to replace Al Groh. He won four games, then broke through in 2011 with eight wins and an appearance in the Chick-fil-A Bowl. He won ACC Coach of the Year, and earned a five-year extension.

The Cavaliers haven’t fared well since, slipping back to four, two, and five wins in the last three seasons. 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