Five questions: Daily Progress’ Andrew Ramspacher talks Virginia

Leading up to UCLA’s season opener this Saturday at 9 a.m. PT, who better to scout the opponent than a Virginia beat writer? Andrew Ramspacher of The Daily Progress in Charlottesville took the time to answer five questions about the Cavaliers.

How hot is Mike London’s seat right now? Is there a rough performance bar he has to clear in order to keep his job?

You go 6-20 in your last 26 games, you have declining attendance (see an expected crowd in the mid-40,000s Saturday) and you struggle to handle the quarterback situation, your seat is obviously going to be hot. There’s no doubt Mike London is facing some serious heat this season. It’s his fifth year at UVa and the program has gone in the opposite direction after a 2011 campaign in which he took ACC Coach of the Year honors and guided the Cavaliers to eight wins and a trip to the Chick-fil-A Bowl.

Virginia administration, despite multiple requests, has chosen to remain mum on the situation, not publicly stating a bar. But I would believe six wins would keep London for a sixth year. Continue reading

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Devin Lucien doesn’t care what Greyson Lambert thinks of UCLA defense

Maybe it’s because he’s never started a game before, but Virginia quarterback Greyson Lambert missed a memo.

Slated to start behind center against UCLA on Saturday, the redshirt sophomore laid down some Grade-A chalkboard material this week when asked about the Bruins — who return eight starters to a defense ranked 35th nationally in opponent scoring, and add a potential star in defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa after a year off due to hip surgeries.

“We’ve been going up guys on our defense every day in practice that are just as good, or better,” Lambert told the Daily Press on Monday. Continue reading

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Center Jake Brendel questionable for UCLA’s season opener

A UCLA offensive line that was projected to have experience and depth could be missing a crucial piece this weekend at Virginia.

Center Jake Brendel, a third-year starter, has been limited in practice since injuring his MCL two weeks ago during training camp at Cal State San Bernardino. The junior is a team co-captain who was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention last season.

Asked Tuesday about Brendel’s status for the Bruins’ 9 a.m. PT Saturday kickoff at Virginia, head coach Jim Mora said, “We’ll see.”

It’s a dramatic downgrade from the original diagnosis. Right after Brendel was carted off the field, Mora had expressed hope that the former Freshman All-American would only miss “a day or two.” Even last week, he sounded confident that Brendel would play.

If Brendel is unavailable, UCLA could move starting guard Alex Redmond to replace him. A Freshman All-American last year, Redmond has practiced a bit at center since Brendel’s injury. Backup center Scott Quessenberry could be an option if he recovers fully from a concussion suffered in training camp.

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VIDEO: Myles Jack talks about UCLA’s season opener at Virginia

After weeks of growing hype, UCLA will finally be able to focus solely on their Aug. 30 season opener at Virginia. Linebacker Myles Jack summed up the team’s attitude succinctly on Monday: “We lose this game, and everybody goes away.”

Jack also talked about linebacker depth, the lack of two-way players nationwide, as well as whether or not he expects to play some running back this weekend.

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First look: Virginia Cavaliers

No. 7 UCLA Bruins vs. Virginia Cavaliers
Kickoff: 9 a.m. PT, Scott Stadium (University of Virginia)
TV: ESPN
Radio: AM 570

Coach: Mike London is 18-31 through four seasons in Charlottesville, and has taken the Cavaliers to just one bowl game: a 43-24 blowout by Auburn in the 2011 Chick-fil-A Bowl. He hired four new assistants in 2013, which only resulted in a 2-10 record — the program’s worst mark since 1981. Very popular on hot-seat lists.

Key players: Continue reading

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UCLA’s season opener at Virginia scheduled for 9 a.m. PT

UCLA will start its 2014 season bright and early.

The Bruins’ opener at Virginia will tip off at 9 a.m. PT, and be broadcast on ESPN. They fell into an 18-point hole at Nebraska last season in a similarly early start before rallying back, but also were also still grappling with the death of receiver Nick Pasquale.

The Cavaliars are coming off a 2-10 season and a winless trek through its ACC schedule.

UCLA last opened a season on ESPN in 2008, when it beat No. 18 Tennessee in a 27-24 overtime win at the Rose Bowl.

No other kickoff times have yet been released.

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