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

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UCLA to open Maui Invitational against UNLV

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UCLA last won the Maui Invitational in 2006. Doing so again this year would be a big statement for Steve Alford.

The eight-team tournament will signal the Bruins’ first significant competition of the season, starting with UNLV on Nov. 23 at 8:30 pm PT (ESPN2). The Runnin’ Rebels have regressed under head coach Dave Rice — missing the NCAA tournament the last two years — but still have a talented roster that includes five-star center Stephen Zimmerman.

After that game, UCLA will face either Kansas or Chaminade the next day. The other side of the tournament bracket consists of St. John’s, Vanderbilt, Wake Forest and Indiana.

“You get a really good litmus test right away,” Alford said. “You get a really good feel from a coaching standpoint, playing three games in a row against quality opponents. You’re going to get a really good idea and picture of who your team is going into December.” Continue reading

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Four more UCLA kickoff times announced on 2015 schedule

UCLA coach Jim Mora prior to the Bruins' game against Utah at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 4, 2014. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA coach Jim Mora prior to the Bruins’ game against Utah at the Rose Bowl on Oct. 4, 2014.
(Keith Birmingham/Staff)

For all your tailgating planning purposes, UCLA’s nonconference schedule is now fully set with kickoff times.

The Bruins will open their season on Sept. 5 at the Rose Bowl with a 12:30 p.m. kickoff against Virginia, which they will then follow with a pair of 7:30 p.m. starts at UNLV (previously announced) and against BYU.

UCLA’s Thursday games at Stanford and at home against Cal in October are also set for 7:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. kickoffs, respectively.

Here’s what the 2015 schedule looks like so far, with TV broadcast information: Continue reading

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UCLA’s 2015 road opener at UNLV set for 7:30 p.m. kickoff

The details of UCLA’s 2015 schedule are starting to get ironed out.

The Bruins now have their first kickoff time of the season set, with their Sept. 12 road opener at UNLV getting a 7:30 p.m. start on CBS Sports Networks. Not sure what the over-under is on the number of people who pass out before reaching the stadium.

No other kickoff times have yet been announced.

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Jerry Rice Jr. to finish collegiate career at UNLV

Jerry Rice Jr. announced his next destination on Friday, tweeting that he will use his last year of eligibility at UNLV.

The former UCLA receiver, who is graduating Sunday, had already decided to leave prior to the Bruins’ spring practices. He caught nine career passes for 69 yards, 30 of which came in a 42-14 win at Colorado last September.

The son of Hall of Famer Jerry Rice will join a Rebels team that won two games in 2012. UNLV returns wideouts Devante Davis and Marcus Sullivan, rising juniors who caught for 854 and 659 yards, respectively. Each grabbed four touchdowns.

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