Let's start the roundup on this Humpday with another pre-season award watch list. This time it's Rahim Moore and Kai Forbath's turn, who were listed as first-team pre-season All-Americans by NationalChamps.net:
Forbath, the Lou Groza Award winner and consensus All-America place kicker in 2009, led the nation in field goals per game (2.15) last season, making 28 of 31 attempts, including all 25 tries inside 50 yards.
Moore, who has started all 25 games of his Bruin career, led the nation with 10 interceptions a year ago, one shy of the UCLA school record. His 10 interceptions were the most by a player in the NCAA's Football Bowl Subdivision (formerly Division IA) since 2003.
UCLA was the only Pac-10 school to have two first-team selections, with Stanford and Oregon State having one each. UCLA was one of just five schools nationally to have two first-team selections, with Georgia, Miami, Oklahoma and Pittsburgh being the others.
Wanted to offer couple of quick observations here. I noted the other day that Rahim Moore was also listed as a late first round draft pick in a ridiculously early projection last week. I would think Moore is not paying attention to those listings all that much. Moore is one of the more gifted athletes Bruins have been blessed to have in their defensive backfield. However, I still think he has more work to do. While he is an amazing ball hawking safety, I think he can take another step forward in the area of helping out with run defense. Moore needs to work on getting stronger and more physical this coming season.
As for Forbath, all I can say if anyone wants to take him for granted they should watch a replay of some of the bowl games from this past season during when a number of teams had their offensive strategies shackled due to horrible/uncertain kicking game. Of course this also means I hope our coaches don't get too dependent on him either and get vanilla in the red zone thinking they have 3 points already in their pocket. Hopefully Forbath would be more occupied with kicking extra points and get in his share of GWers next season.
Speaking of honors, Logan Paulsen and Trevor Theriot were named to National Football Foundation 2010 Hampshire Honor Society Membership. This select group is comprised of college football players in their final year of eligibility from all divisions of play who maintained a 3.2 GPA or better. Paulsen (3.45) and Theriot (3.25) are representing UCLA on the list. Congrats to both of them although I still don't get how a smart kid like Paulsen committed all those dumb penalties on the field. Aaagh.
MJD was never frustrating to watch. The most exciting Bruin football player from this decade is making his mark in the NFL. The New York Times recently listed him as one of the 5 best running backs in the League with the following tagline:
Bowling ball bruiser who can also go the distance at any moment.
In case you were wondering, Mr. Kardashian didn't make the top-10.
Can you imagine if Norm Chow had someone like MJD to work with in Westwood? Well this year Chow will have some a good mix of RBs to work with. Derrick Coleman is hoping to emerge from this group and he is liking the new revolver formation in the Bruin offense:
No UCLA running back had a better spring than Derrick Coleman. He was the best offensive player in the spring game and was the most consistent tailback during the 15 practices. He said he noticed both good and bad when it came to blocking in the pistol formation.
"Throughout the whole training camp I've seen a lot more gaps and holes opening," Coleman said. "I can get there and be explosive. I think they're opening a lot faster than they did before.
"I'm actually liking this offense."
That was from Adam Maya, who took a snarky potshot at the Bruin OL based just on the spring game performance. Maya also discovered through his hard-hitting reporting that Bruins are recruiting some JC quarterback out of the Bay Area. Bell story is just another data point to note for those who come here to question our track-record. Darius Bell was discussed here more than two weeks ago before it popped up on the radars of UCLA "beat reporters," who often seems more content with sleeping on the job and taking snarky pot shots (in the case of Trogans like Maya) instead of actually paying attention to what is going on in the world of Bruin athletics.
Lastly, CollegeFootballNews.com has an early 2010 "preview" with "way too early bowl predictions." According to their "staff" UCLA will not be making any bowl appearances this coming season and the Trogans are headed to the Rose Bowl (against Wisconsin). Again, I kind of like this for now and I hope this kind of prediction is the norm for this off-season. Objectively we can't get upset. These guys who are taking a very surface view on various teams see a 7 win UCLA squad playing without Brian Price, ATV, Reggie Carter, its stud freshman OL (XSF) and a rebuilt OL. So there are lot of reasons to doubt us. I think it will make it that much more fun if our team keeps making incremental improvement from this past season and keep us on our path back to where we belong.
Offseason predictions like this one and that power rating from Ted Miller will keep bandwagoning losers out of BN. That is more than fine with us.