Less than a day to go till Coach Mora gets to match an excellent off-season w on field results. (Photo by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images)
We are almost there. We are now on "Friday" of our short game week. May be Coach Mora is thrown off a little because he called Monday as "typical Thursday." With a game on Thursday, wouldn't Monday be more like a Wednesday and it's Tuesday that's supposed to be like a "typical Thursday" of a college football game week. Today after all certainly feels like a Friday before game day. Right? Or am I totally thrown off too? Oh well.
ICYMI I posted Mora's Tuesday post practice presser video last night in which he dished out some pertinent personnel info. True freshman Javon Williams is waiting to get cleared by the NCAA. He could miss the trip to Houston. Mora also confirmed Kevin McReynold's move to the OL as a "guard" (wearing number 50) but added that he would also be available as an "emergency" option at the DL.
There wasn't a lot of other news except for the usual chit-chat about the weather as a Southern California team is headed towards what is basically one of the worst destinations - weather wise - in the country. It should be hot and humid in Houston. Bruins got a taste of severe heat in San Bernardino but the combination of heat and humidity in the Southeast is a whole different beast.
In case anyone was wondering here is weather.com's latest projection for Thursday in Houston. As I blog this it's supposed to be 92 degrees with 61 percent humidity and a 50 percent chance of rain. I am guessing by the time local kickoff time rolls around it will be somewhere in the 80s.
Yet the weather shouldn't be an excuse. Despite not having good coaching we won in Austin and Knoxville in recent years. We almost won in Houston last year against a decent team despite some head-scratching decisions and game scheming from Rick Neuheisel and his staff last season. More after the jump.
Peter Yoon from ESPNLA wrote a stand-alone post on our latest kicker and our "tradition" at that position:
Fairbairn goes by the shortened version of his first name, Ka'imi. That means "seeker" and while he is seeking to join that exclusive list of kickers, it's clearly too early to put him in that same class just yet. Still, just by winning the job he's at least starting off on the same track. Lee, Sailer, Medlock and Forbath were all four-year starters for UCLA.
But winning the job is only the first step of continuing the legacy. All four of the aforementioned also went on to earn All-American honors of some sort and Forbath won the Lou Groza Award for nation's top kicker in 2009. Fairbairn has yet to set foot on a field for a college game.
"I don't see it as pressure," Fairbairn said. "It's more of an honor to be recruited here as a kicker with that kind of history here. Obviously, I want to do well. Not only for me, but for my team. And even better if I can carry on the tradition."
While all of that sounds great no one here is honestly holding their "breath" over UCLA continuing its kicking "tradition." We certainly don't want to see the "tradition" of conservative mindset of Donahue and his disciples of settling for FGs in the red zone because they could count on dependable kickers. We hope Ka'imi is as useful to the Bruins as someone like Mike Coffer was for the 49ers in the back in day. Get him to kick lot of XPs and perhaps a 35-45 yarder here and there to balance out touch downs in a prolific offense.
We are more anxious about the revival of tradition built by Gary Beban, John Sciarra, Tom Ramsey, Troy Aikman, Tommy Maddox and Cade McNown than about the one around FG kickers.
Speaking of tradition, Charles Chiccoa from BruinReportOnline.com has a good read about the "goal" of this upcoming season that is consistent with the standards of Bruin football tradition before Dan Guerrero totally wrecked it. Chiccoa's story is not behind the firewall as I post this. So I will go ahead and share couple of excerpts. Chiccoa notes something we have always maintained - this is a talented Bruin squad. He observes there are as many as "19 possible impact players" in this year's program - which gives him reasonable basis to set up this (emphasis added):
Of course the number one topic around here is coaching: whether Mora and this seemingly golden staff will be looking as fresh and promising in mid-October as they look today; the "Won't Be Fooled Again Syndrome." That this staff is far superior to the last three overmatched staffs is a given. The adults are finally in charge. No more finger pointers; no more overwhelmed, no-profile rookies; No more airy, passion bucket carriers floating in clouds of "relentless optimism." Even so, patience and goodwill could be in short supply the first time the Bruins underperform as a team. We've become a squirrely bunch, here, always sniffing out disaster when merely bad luck or inevitable human error pops up. But then this staff looks like a thick-skinned lot, not likely to panic at the first sign of adversity.
Of course this team doesn't have to reach double figure wins to gain our respect, but the presence of a relatively sweet schedule, an under-rated defense, and very likely under-rated skill position personnel makes 10 wins, in my opinion, likelier than 5 or 6.
Sounds good to us.