COACH JIM MORA: First of all, thanks to everybody for coming out today. We’re excited to be here and I’m excited to be sitting between these two fine, young men, great student‑athletes, the pillars of our program, both great players, better young men. I think they are great ambassadors for UCLA and college football in general. We’re excited about the direction of our program.
We made some progress last year, and I think these two guys would tell you we’re nowhere close to where we want to be. We have a vision, we’re headed in the right direction but we have challenges we have to overcome this year in order to become the team that we desire to be.
First and foremost in those challenges is we have a very depleted secondary and we’re going to be playing four players back there, or five or six, whatever package we’re in that really haven’t played, ever, at this level. So that will be a challenge. Our schedule is a challenge. This conference that we play in is a challenge, but I think these young men would tell you that being the competitors that they are and we are as a football team we relish those challenges. We can’t wait for those challenges, we embrace ‘em and look forward to ‘em and we’re going to rise up to ‘em. We’re excited to be here, welcome your questions, and thank you.
Q: Coach, as a new coach last season you made some risky moves, maybe because of the fact that you were new. Can we expect similar risky moves in place this season? Continue reading
UCLA linebackers Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks and Jordan Zumwalt all made the 51-man watch list for the Butkus Award. The Bruins tied BYU with three players on the list, the most of any team.
Barr and offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo were also mentioned for the Lombardi Award watch list, though that ballooned to over 100 names. The award is given to a down lineman on either side of the ball, or linebacker who lines up within five yards of the ball.
No UCLA player has ever won either award. The Pac-12′s last Lombardi winner was Arizona State’s Terrell Suggs (2002), and its last Butkus winner was USC’s Chris Claiborne (1998).
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
NFL teams drafted four Bruins in April, the highest number for UCLA since 2005. Could the school best that mark next spring?
Bleacher Report’s Matt Miller ranked the 25 college programs with the most talent for the 2014 draft. The Bruins made the cut, along with four other Pac-12 teams:
UCLA is holding its own as college football enters watch-list season, putting three players on the national speculation bubble today.
Quarterback Brett Hundley and All-American linebacker Anthony Barr are two of 75 names on the watch list for the Maxwell Award, presented to the best player in the country. Barr was one of only six defensive players mentioned. Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te’o was the last Maxwell winner, with Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck taking the honor in 2011.
Barr was also named to the 75-man watch list for the Bednarik Award, given annually to the nation’s top defensive player. He is joined there by linebacker Eric Kendricks, whose 150 tackles last season led the Pac-12.
Linebacker Anthony Barr and offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo will represent UCLA at next month’s Pac-12 Media Day. Sony Studios Lot in Culver City will host the event on July 26.
Neither is a surprising choice given their status as potential All-Americans, but the conference better make sure the mics are working perfectly: Barr is one of the softest speakers on the team.
The rest of the media day lineup: Continue reading
Phil Steele named both UCLA linebacker Anthony Barr and offensive lineman Xavier Su’a-Filo as preseason All-Americans. The standouts were first- and third-team selections, respectively. The Pac-12 landed 20 players on the list, second behind the SEC’s 27.
Steele also ranks (snubs?) UCLA No. 31 nationally on his preseason countdown — behind Washington, Oregon State and Arizona State.
The 2014 NFL draft is less than a year away! Depending on who does or doesn’t declare, the Bruins could have two first-round picks for the first time since 1981.
Here’s a roundup of some too-early mock drafts/prospect rankings.
Brett Hundley — No. 8
Anthony Barr — No. 20
Chris Burke is higher on Hundley than anyone else listed here, and is also lower on Barr — whom he calls a potential “Von Miller-type” should he be drafted by a 4-3 team. The analyst does hedge a bit on the No. 20: “Odds are, in the long run, that Barr might be off the board well before this next April.” Continue reading
Be happy that you have one of the best quarterbacks in the conference. Brett Hundley isn’t flawless, but not many players in the country have the same level of tantalizing potential. (I don’t think he’ll leave, but if Hundley declares for the 2014 draft, SI already has him as the No. 8 pick.)
A superlative freshman campaign — 3,745 yards, 29 touchdowns against 11 picks — proved that the 6-foot-3 dual threat is the quarterback the Bruins have long sought. Perhaps the biggest knock on him was his decision-making, whether that meant not throwing the ball away when he needed to or not sliding at the right time. In spring, he looked like he corrected some of that, drawing cheers from his teammates once when he slid on a scramble.
He also took 52 sacks last season — second-most in college football, and something that did start to affect him later in the fall. Continue reading