This has been a crazy June so far. I don't think we have ever experienced the kind over drive in terms of news from all fronts like we have been saturated with in last three weeks. We have collectively experienced a lot of roller coaster of emotion with the passing of Coach, the NCAA's hammer (although we can advance reasonable arguments that it wasn't harsh enough) on the Trogan cheaters, Pac-10's hasty expansion, and the charges UCLA softball/baseball team have made in this year's tournaments. As a result few tidbits on the UCLA football team have slipped through the crack in recent days. So let's start the day with some notes you might have missed.
Bruins announced their four captains for this upcoming season:
Prince: Starting quarterback who runs the offense anyway, and is not afraid (for better or worse) of going head-first into a tackler.
Kia: Well-liked senior who will be in his fifth year at UCLA, and earned huge respect for his efforts to get back from the severe knee injury suffered in August.
Moore: Possesses a 24-hour-a-day clever tongue and strong vocal cords, always titled toward the positive, and makes the kinds of plays to give his words weight.
Ayers: Massive play-maker and classic lead-by-example guy, with the examples being pretty good (see interception against Oregon and one against Temple).
None of those four selections should be a surprise to anyone here on BN. These guys are going to start their summer workouts today. As Taylor Embree noted in his latest edition of "82 review" it's also the same day incoming freshmen will begin their careers at UCLA:
Randall Carroll made a few spectacular catches on some deep balls during the last day of throwing. Akeem Ayers made a great interception on an out-route, stretching out and making an impressive catch. I am always amazed at his freakish athletic ability. We had a few days off from lifting so we could focus on finals. However, the team went in for voluntary workouts throughout the week. I have to give a shout out to Rahim Moore, my workout partner for most of the week, and Courtney Viney, who made our sprints very competitive. Our summer workouts begin June 21, which is also the same day that the incoming freshmen will begin their careers at UCLA.
Read rest of Taylor's notes here, which includes a moving tribute to Coach and also bits about how UCLA football players have been rooting for all campus teams during the off-season. More after the jump.
Last week Coach Rick Neuheisel appeared on Dan Patrick's show. From the DP show's website:
Neuheisel said he's trying not to focus on what's going on cross-town. "I don't think it changes the game very much for what we have to do," Neuheisel said.
Neuheisel said that he thinks Colorado is a great fit for the Pac-10, and he's not sure this is over. "I don't think it's done forever," Neuheisel said. "I think eventually these conferences will come into play," Neuheisel said.
CRN as he has been doing in alumni appearances didn't give any kind of compelling bites on the Trogans. You can listen to the whole show by going here.
Moore is the bridge between the present and the past, taking Verner's cues by working with sophomore cornerbacks Sheldon Price and Aaron Hester, filling Carter's shoes as the mouthpiece of the defense, even giving pointers to new junior linebackers Steve Sloan and Sean Westgate.
"My role is not only to worry about myself, but to share my wisdom and knowledge with those guys," Moore said. "I once was in Sheldon's shoes. I've been run through. I've been dipped on. I've been beaten for touchdowns. I had to learn; I had to get put on. Now I'm a big dog, and I'm gonna show ‘em what a big dog does."
He has the bark, and with those 10 interceptions, he clearly has the bite. With 13 for his career - including three during his freshman season, when he became the first Bruin rookie position player since 2001 to start every game - Moore has his eyes set on Kenny Easley's team record 19.
For Moore, that's not enough. One hundred, maybe. Even a thousand. And once he gets them, he'll finally be able to laugh again. All the way to the bank.
No. 56: UCLA - The key word for UCLA in 2010 - progress. Rick Neuheisel came into town in 2008 proclaiming "The monopoly is over" in Los Angeles, hoping to challenge monolithic USC. Then he lost his starting and backup quarterback on back-to-back, non-contact plays and finished 4-8. After rebounding to 7-6 last season with regular-season wins over Tennessee, Kansas State and Arizona State and an EagleBank Bowl victory over upstart Temple, the Bruins have high expectations in Neuheisel's third year.
Guess we will find out where we end up when the season is over. For now I have no issues with where we are getting ranked. It should only help motivate a young team during the off-season.
On his decision to transfer:
"I really didn't talk to coach Neuheisel or the coaches. I had a feeling, a gut feeling, that if I stayed there, I wasn't going to get the opportunity. That's what it is - I didn't really go up and ask them what was the deal. I kind of looked at the situation and looked ahead at everything."
On why he's excited to play for Fresno State:
"Fresno State has a huge chip on their shoulder, and I have a huge chip on my shoulder. Some people don't believe in me. Fresno State has been able to beat BCS schools - it's disrespectful they weren't picked for the Pac-10 when they beat schools on the West Coast. They are respected, but also they're disrespected. I feel the same, me against the world. It's the best fit."
I find the decision to not communicate with Rick Neuheisel kind of odd. CRN has been more than fair with lot of these kids. If he wasn't someone like Stan Hasiak wouldn't be in the program by now. It was not that difficult for those who follow UCLA football closely to see why Knox couldn't bump Chane Moline, Jet Ski and Coleman off their spots in the depth chart.
Knox never figured out a way to provide optimal help in pass protection (which has been at a premium given the shoddy state of talent at OL left by previous regime). To make matters complicated, Knox also made number of unenforced errors even from the Wildcat formation (folks can go back and look at the Washington game at the Rose Bowl). Then Knox also was part of four Bruins who got suspended for team rules following the memorable win against Tennessee.
So it's interesting that he feels that he never got a decent shot given he himself admitted he didn't bother going up to the coaches and inquire more on what he needed to get himself planted in the rotation. I also find the comments on Fresno State interesting. Not sure what he is thinking but given Fresno State's academics, it will never be part of the Pac-10. Anyway, wish Knox the best of luck and hopefully he will have a great career in football and with whatever else he decides to pursue.
Lastly, let's end this roundup with some comedy. Ted Miller has been copying and pasting whatever the Trojan PR department has been feeding him. It got even more pathetic than usual, when he posted a fantasy laden post about Trogans getting short changed by the NCAA by linking to BS youtube video of selective camera shots of interview from NCAA proceedings. Miller has been serving up comedy after comedy through it all. Remember the nonsense he served about how Trogans should have gotten a wrist slap before the decision came out? Expect Miller to come up with more of these doozies as he gets played by Heritage Hall in their continued PR "offensives" against the NCAA.