The signs of upcoming football season are starting to pop up everywhere. We are just 26 days away from the start of our training camp. EA Sports NCAA 11 is out for the video game junkies. 03rdn9 wrote his initial impressions of the game here (although I have heard a little grumbling about from some other UCLA fans). As we kind of expected recruiting has really heat up in July, bringing good news from all over the place. Definitely lot of things to get excited over when it comes to Bruin football. So let's get to our football notes from today.
As noted last night Darius Bell is a Bruin. The LA Times got a hold of the first Bruin scholarship QB from the Bay Area since Drew Olson:
"I wasn't interested in UCLA until I found out that they were incorporating the ‘pistol' " said Bell, who will have three years of eligibility remaining. "That, and academics, were the things that attracted me to UCLA."
UCLA already has a No. 1 quarterback in sophomore Kevin Prince, who started 11 games last season. Bell, though, said he was not deterred by the fact he would have to beat out an incumbent.
"The way I see it, most teams have a No. 1 quarterback coming into the season," said Bell, the brother of former UCLA running back Kahlil Bell. "As long as I get the opportunity to show I can play. They told me I will have the opportunity to prove myself and that's all I can ask for."
From what I understand Bell has three years of eligibility to play in the NCAA. It is unclear how much of an impact he is going to make this season. Lot of this depends on how quickly he picks up Norm Chow's offense which will include the revolver formation, installed during spring practices. I think it is too much to expect Bell to immediately come in move up to number 2 spot in the depth chart, given the head start other QBs have had in the system.
What is going to benefit here UCLA is really the competition Bell is going to present to someone like Richard Brehaut. From what I understand Kevin Prince has emerged as the clear cut starter heading into this summer. He has been working hard to maintain that edge. Now Bell can also put pressure on Brehaut to step it up more during practices. That kind of competition hopefully will bode well for our offense. More after the jump.
Shifting focus on the other side of the ball the official site posted a Q&A with DT David Carter, who gave us a close look at the kind of grueling schedule these guys have been maintaining this summer:
How is it incorporating this type of training program during the school year while trying to balance it with academics?
"That is definitely one of the hardest parts of being a student-athlete here at UCLA. There's so much to do for both the team and my schoolwork, so its all about finding ways to fit it all in. Even this summer it has been tough because I'm taking a language class which meets five days a week. I've had to figure out ways to work around my class schedule. I have to do my workouts at six in the morning, and be in class at nine, and then do the 33 workouts in the afternoon. And this class is five hours a day, so pretty much the only time I have is the hour break between class and afternoon workouts. So overall it's very time consuming and sometimes a bit overwhelming, but it's all worth it in the end so that's what keeps me going."
Carter also talked about the family atmosphere in the UCLA team:
How are you embracing your role as a leader on the defensive line?
"Well, the mentality of our defensive line is all about working hard. Guys like Datone Jones, Damian [Holmes] and Nate Chandler are all guys on the line who are working extremely hard during this offseason to make sure that we're all in our best shape for September. So even though experience may not be on our side, we're making up for it in hard work and effort. And even though it's a competition, we're all working together to make us the strongest unit around. And some of the younger guys do come up to me and ask for advice and tips, so I just do my best to let them know everything they need to in order to make them the best they can be. But beyond advice, I'm leading by example this offseason. No matter how simple the drill is, I'm always finishing through the line, which has shown the newer guys how we play ball. And honestly, we're more than a team, we're family and so we're all just doing the best to help each other to make sure we're as competitive as we can be this upcoming season."
The word that comes to mind when watching, hearing and reading quotes from Carter comes to mind is "steady." He has been great since the departure of Brian Price in terms of doing his best to bring a sense of steadiness in our DL. Hopefully all the work he and his team-mates are putting in will result in steady performance off the field.
Paul Richardson, Shaquille Richardson and Joshua Shirley, the three UCLA football players arrested on suspicion of theft in June, have had their letters of intent ruled null and void.
The three are free to be recruited by other schools and can play immediately.
From my understanding the second line is not accurate. Those three may be free to be recruited by other schools, however, they cannot play immediately. Note that all of them were already enrolled during UCLA summer school sessions. So no matter what they will have to sit out for a year should they chose to transfer immediately somewhere else. So the issue of being released from LOI is kind of moot in technical sense.
That said, the release on its face was a good move on the part of UCLA. Ultimately what matters is that we want student athletes in the UCLA program, who wants to be here. No one should be forced to play for UCLA. That would create an unhealthy situation and will not be helplful to anyone in the program.
What would be preferable is for these three student athletes to go through JC, reflect on their mistakes, take responsibility and rejoin the Bruins seeking redemption. However, the intiative has to come from them.
I think Gold made a great point on this:
Well, first and foremost, I think it is the nail on the coffin on the "Slick Rick" moniker. Now, I'm not saying he won't toe the line and make borderline decisions on occasion - I truly believe that any coach needs to play that line with utmost care - but the recent trend of good behavior no longer appears to be a trend. With this decision - not just delaying their enrollment but actually allowing them to choose new schools - it's not only clear that Neuheisel is running a cleaner ship, but that he's making it known to recruits and players.
Can't agree more with him on this. Ultimately CRN's decisive actions will help UCLA in the long run because he has now made it clear exactly what kind of program in Westwood. Times have changed and from early indication lot of reasons to be hopeful that things are moving in positive direction at UCLA.
UPDATE (N): Wanted to correct a note from above. I wrote that the LA Times report that those three will be immediately eligible was inaccurate because they would still have to sit out a year due to their registration as summer school sessions at UCLA. Well, it turns out that LA Times was correct, while my interpretation was off base. From what I have no heard via UCLA is that because the three freshmen were denied admission for Fall quarter by UCLA, they can go elsewhere and be eligible immediately because the letters of intent were nullified when they were denied admission. The fact that they were enrolled in summer school is not a factor because the letters were nullified. So they are free to sign with other schools and be eligible immediately. Will be interesting to see what they chose to do. Either way, CRN made the right decision and we wish them luck. GO BRUINS.