The kicking game has been one of the few bright spots in UCLA's recent dreary football history. Thanks to kickers like Kai Forbath and Jeff Locke, Bruins didn't have to worry much about that department last few years. Locke is back this year but Kip Smith will now have to step up and fill in for Forbath.
Key reasons for Forbath and Locke's success were contributions of specialists such as Danny Rees and long snapper Christian Yount. Reese was dependable and Yount was an All American. Both of them are now gone and the Bruins will be looking to a new guy to fill in the spot. Enter Kevin McDermott, a 6-3 250 junior who has been the backup for last couple of seasons. McDermott was profiled in the latest UCLA Magazine:
"My dream is the same as all long snappers," he admits. "To make a tackle on a punt, force a fumble, recover it and run for a touchdown."
A political science major, the kid from Tennessee might have Hollywood as well as athletic aspirations. "I'm just starting a film minor," McDermott says. "I really enjoy films and movies." He's also getting used to Los Angeles. "It's definitely an adjustment, but I wanted to try something different."
From his vantage point, McDermott notes a difference in the team this spring. "I see a lot more energy, the tempo is really stepped up and the talent we have is really being utilized," he notes. "I really like the new coaches and I'm really excited for the season."
That enthusiasm has already paid off for the Bruins - Kevin's younger brother, Conor, has a scholarship to play offensive line for UCLA and arrives in the fall.
Lord knows we are going to need help at OL. As for Kevin, best of luck to him in living out his dream.