After a short hiatus, I'm back with the Friday edition of Bruin Bites. We're now less than two weeks from the kick-off of the football season, with our Bruins gearing up for their opening game clash with Rice. And for each of us, we're now on the verge of kicking off a hot, sunny California weekend. So, with the weekend just a couple of hours away (who else is counting down the clock to 5 p.m.?), let's take a look at the various bits and pieces of news floating around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with football, the folks behind selling the premium boxes and seats at the Rose Bowl, are desperate for UCLA to have a big season to help boost sagging sales numbers for the renovated Rose Bowl, which is in dire need of funding after the renovation project budget surged an extra $27 millions dollars. And it sounds like the folks at the Rose Bowl are feeling the effects of Chianti Dan's total destruction of our football program due to the culture of mediocrity he has allowed to fester at Morgan Center: out of 1,180 club seats, only 60 has been sold, while only 21 of 54 suites have been sold, and just 12 out of 48 loge boxes.
- Sticking with football, ESPN's Kevin Gemmell wrote up a good bit about Joseph Fauria about a week or so ago, talking about Big Joe's transition from "tight end" to "Y receiver" which Fauria doesn't seem to think much change his role. In his mind, Fauria is still a TE at his core, but with Mazzone's new offensive system promising a much more expanded passing game, Fauria looks to get targeted much more often this season, which could pay off big dividends in his chase to become only the second Bruin (after Marcedes Lewis) to grab the Mackey Award.
- Meanwhile, oft-injured running-back/wide receiver/return man Damien Thigpen is looking forward to the opportunity to finally show the potential that had Bruin fans eager with anticipation when the shifty redshirt junior arrived in Westwood. After being compared to former Atlanta and Tampa Bay Pro Bowl running back Warrick Dunn by Mora, the young man is feels that his injuries will be behind him. Let's hope so.
- In one last football note, former UCLA defensive end Wesley Flowers has landed in San Luis Obispo, where he'll suit up for Cal Poly immediately (following in the footsteps of former UCLA receiver Dominique Johnson). The Mustangs needed Flowers, as Cal Poly will have to replace nine (!) defensive linemen who graduated after last year's lackluster 6-5 season. Let's all wish Wesley the best of luck in SLO.
- Turning to hoops, the Orlando Magic's official website has a nice profile, with various quotes, from our favorite part of the blockbuster Dwight Howard-to-the-Lakers trade, our very own original Ben Ball Warrior, Arron Afflalo. Afflalo, who is no stranger to be playing on teams/programs in rebuilding mode, is hoping to replicate his role as the foundation of Ben Howland's Final Four successes, telling the Magic's official site that he's looking forward to being a "building block" in Orlando. Classy guy, so I know who I'll be rooting for in the Eastern Conference this season.
- Finally, our own women's volleyball team, fresh off winning the national championship in 2011, have been picked by the Pac-12 coaches to win the Pac-12 conference, with Stanford and U$C trailing behind, in that order. Led by then-junior Rachael Kidder, the Bruins stormed to a NCAA title, and look like strong favorites to repeat as national champs, with superstar outside hitter, now-senior Rachael Kidder, returning to lead the Bruins' charge.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites to end the week with, as we gear up for the homestretch of football fall camp before the Bruins return to Westwood to get ready for the season opener at Rice. Fire away with your thoughts, takes, and additions in the comments thread.