It's Wednesday, which means we're getting closer to the long holiday weekend and it's time for the mid-week edition of Bruin Bites. Of course, it wouldn't be normal if we didn't have some complete fail around our football program to discuss, and this week, it's the return of the extremely stupid and frankly, embarrassing "over the wall" "tradition" at UCLA. It's pathetic, especially for a team that went 6-7 and had to ask for a waiver to play in a fourth-rate bowl game because this is the new-age NCAA where, like Little League, everyone gets a gold star for six wins, as if it's some kind of accomplishment.
For a team that underachieved all season and gave us embarrassments against Arizona and U$C, how did any of these fools think that they are in any kind of position to skip practice? Frankly, this sorry squad needs all the practice they can get. If I was Coach Johnson and wanted to show prospective employers (read: Akron) I was a serious coach, I'd take every senior who was behind this and tell them they can enjoy the Kraft "Who Gives a Damn" Bowl from the sidelines because they won't be suiting up; since they deprived underclassmen of a practice, the underclassmen will take their spots on the field to make up for it. Looks like we are already going to have some players academically ineligible (Tony Dye, Alberto Cid & Isiah Bowens) and suspended for the bowl game. We may as well suspend all the key senior leaders who organized this ridiculous stunt.
Thankfully not every Bruin bought into this kind of complete and utter stupidity. So while the senior fools (who showed that they selfishly don't care about UCLA's need to give underclassmen every bit of practice they can get to help build for next year) led this idiotic move, guys like Kevin Prince and Johnathan Franklin expressed their displeasure that the seniors chose to revive this loser "tradition." Fortunately Coach Jim Mora gets it.
With that, let's take a look at the bits and pieces of news around the UCLA-iverse after the jump.
- Unfortunately, this edition is starting on a somber note. UCLA lost one of its best this past week, as former UCLA football and baseball player Gene "Skip" Rowland, age 84, passed away on Saturday from complications related to pneumonia. Rowland led the Bruins in rushing in 1946, taking UCLA to a 10-0 regular season record, before falling to Illinois in the Rose Bowl. Rest in peace Skip, you will be missed.
- If you've been out-of-the-loop on the football recruiting news, Coach Mora and his new staff of dynamic recruiters have been en fuego out of the gates, landing commitments, shoring up commitments, and getting UCLA in the mix with a lot of other top recruits that UCLA didn't have a shot at before. Mora has been a busy man, and if you've missed it, you can see a real quick recap of his recruiting efforts at the Orange County Register here.
- Speaking of recruiting, UCLA is getting interest from some top recruits in the Class of 2013. Per the public portion not beyond a subscription firewall, ESPN's Greg Biggins reported that fresh off of beating Westlake in the state championship, five-star linebacker Michael Hutchings from De La Salle took an unofficial visit to UCLA on Sunday, which is one of the five Pac-12 schools he is looking at. Considered a U$C lean, if Mora can make the Bruins a legitimate contender in the conference next year, rather than backing into the title game like chumps, it could shift the recruiting dynamic and lead Hutchings to follow in the foot-steps of fellow De La Salle alum and UCLA stand-out Maurice Jones-Drew.
- In the same vein, Biggins is also reporting (per the public portion not beyond a subscription firewall) that UCLA is getting interest from Eddie Printz, a QB from Lassiter HS in Marietta, Georgia, who also has offers from Arkansas, SMU, and Cincinnati, among others. Printz, once a SMU commit, has re-opened his recruitment and will take an unofficial visit to UCLA, following in the footsteps of his HS teammate Kenny Orjioke, who recently committed to UCLA and is thought to be recruiting his HS QB to join him. With Prince, Brehaut out of the picture after next season, UCLA will need to bring in more QB talent to shore up the depth behind Brett Hundley (and to start grooming the eventual successor to Hundley).
- Finally, Illinois will be without Jay Prosch, their starting fullback, for the Kraft "Six Win Chumps" Bowl due to a staph infection. The backfield blocker will not play in the bowl game, having been hospitalized for the infection (although he is set to be released on Friday). Here's hoping for a speedy and full recovery to Jay.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites for the middle of the week before Christmas. Get your last second shopping done and fire away with your comments, thoughts, additions, etc. in the thread.