Well this is our last weekend without UCLA football. The fun starts on Monday with UCLA football holding its media and then first practice begins at 3:30 pm which is open to public. We have posted UCLA's practice schedule here multiple times already this off-season. So not going to post it again. However, if you want to take a look you can find it over at the official site. I am sure many of you from here will be out there sometime this August. If you are once again I will make the ask for sharing what you are seeing via pictures/posts/fanshots with rest of us here on BN.
As for pre-season football related news we are still seeing various rankings and award watch list coming out. The USA TODAY Coaches' Top 25 college football coaches' poll was released late last week. Not a lot of surprises. Florida is the number 1 with Longhorns and Sooners rounding up the top-3 spots. The Trojies who continue to skate free seemingly taunting an impotent NCAA and Pac-10 checks in at number 4. As for other Pac-10 teams in the top-25 Cal checks in at number 12 and Oregon at 14. Good for them. UCLA surprisingly checks in the "other receiving votes" category with 14 votes. That's more than enough respect for a team that went 4-8 and could have easily gone 2-10 with 2 wins coming against prolly two of the worst teams in the history of the conference. Just saying. I know if things went the other way we could have won 2 more games. Anyway, the full rankings are posted over at WWL.
One of the main reasons UCLA is getting a bit respect while flying under the radar is because of seniors like ATV. More after the jump.ATV was just named on the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list:
The 2009 Jim Thorpe Award preseason "watch list" announced today includes 31 of the nation's best defensive backs as the leading candidates for this year's trophy, including UCLA senior cornerback Alterraun Verner.
Verner, a pre-season All-American, led the nation in passes defensed in 2008, averaging 1.67 per game. He also ranked second on the Bruin team with 73 tackles and made two interceptions.
The Thorpe Award is one of college football's most sought after and prestigious awards. It is named after history's greatest all-around athlete, a man who excelled as a running back, passer and kicker on offense, but also was an awesome defensive back. Recognized in the Pro Football Hall of Fame simply as "The Legend", Thorpe also played professional baseball and won Olympic gold medals in the decathlon and pentathlon.
More on the official site (if you really care about reading up on how this award process works).
Hopefully ATV will experience the same success in his last year in Westwood as world champion Jordan Farmar. A brand new video is up on YouTube land of JF and JS giving back to their community via Matel's Children Hospital at UCLA:
Jordan Farmar Lifting Spirits Where It's Most Needed (via ESNEWS)
Really cool stuff and yes serves up as another example how UCLA student athletes tend to be a little different from Senora Ross's scholars from cross town.