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The Saturday morning edition of the Bruin Bites round-up of the various bits and pieces from around the UCLA-iverse, while providing an open thread for the college football action leading up to the UCLA/Colorado kickoff.
It's our first Saturday morning with college football in the BN 3.0 universe, but as usual, we're going to get our day full of college football action started with the regular Saturday morning round-up of the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse. Our Bruins will have to bounce back on the road after the disappointing loss against Oregon State at the Rose Bowl. Coverage begins at 3 p.m. PT, and if you aren't able to join gbruin and the other Bruins in Colorado for the game in Boulder, it will be televised on the Pac-12 Network.
Last weekend was a pretty disappointing effort, which has become all-too-common for UCLA football during Chianti Dan's lost decade of mediocrity thanks to the diseased loser culture he's let fester at the Morgan Center. Let's see if Jim Mora is really the catalyst for change in this program or if the Bruins are going to stumble through another listless, mediocre season of football (which has been the one consistent feature under Chianti Dan). The Bruins are heavily favored, so while it's a road game, this is a game that the Bruins should be able to put away early, if they can pick up their focus and intensity, and eliminate the mistakes and lack of urgency that cost them last week.
So, with that said, let's turn to the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- With the game against Colorado on tap, it's the first of what at least one Colorado writer has dubbed the "Neuheisel Bowls" as two of Rick's former teams face off in Boulder. Otherwise, if you're looking for thoughts on how Colorado has been doing this season and how warm the seat is for Jon Embree (father of Stone Hands), keep reading the article. Fortunately, Rick does us a solid: he gives Embree support to stay in the job, and since Colorado hasn't shown much under his reign, bodes well for us.
- As for the game itself, the big news (obviously), in case you missed it, is the return of Jeff Baca from the head injury he suffered against Nebraska. We saw how crucial the big senior was, as Brett Downey and Alberto Cid got completely manhandled by Oregon State's defense, making it next to impossible to generate any running game on the right side of the line. The flip side is that the defense loses Jordan Zumwalt due to injuries he sustained in that scooter accident in Westwood. In all likelihood, Damien Holmes will slide outside (where he started this season before moving inside following Patrick Larimore's medical retirement), with Ryan Hofmeister seeing time at ILB.
- Speaking of Larimore's medical retirement, California passed a new state law on Thursday that will require universities with more than $10 million annually in sports media revenue to provide financial protections for student-athletes who suffer career-ending injuries. Thus far, the law only applies to UCLA, U$C, Cal, and Stanford, with SDSU likely to reach the financial threshold in the next few years. Very good-intentioned law, but it does seem kind of unfair if a kid suffers a career-ending ACL/MCL/PCL tear at UC Davis, Fresno State, or SJSU and they don't get squat.
- Today should be a good game for Brett Hundley to get back on track: despite posting strong numbers against Houston and Oregon State, he has looked more tentative in his decisions, tended to lock on to a receiver, and his release wasn't nearly as clean. Going into today's game, the Associated Press wrote up a profile of the redshirt freshman QB, and the kid says all the right things. Hopefully, his backward slide is related to his ankle injury, but hopefully, he can transition back to his play against Nebraska, when he was making good decisions, looking off defenders, and making crisp throws to receivers in stride (which led to four TD passes).
- On the recruiting front, UCLA got a commitment from Long Beach Poly safety Jayon Brown this week, which will help the Bruins shore up a secondary that is need of an overhaul (especially at cornerback, where the Toast Twins continue to be a defensive liability).
- Also, the Bruins made a pair of scholarship offers to offensive threats in the Class of 2013, making an offer to WR Mossi Johnson from Crenshaw (ESPN Insider article, portion not beyond subscription firewall), a 6'0", 170-pound receiver that fits the Mazzone mold. With Eddie Printz out of the picture, UCLA has now also offered QB Darryl Richardson from Florida, a 6'5", 220-pound dual threat QB with offers from Ole Miss, Missouri, Tennessee, and Ohio State. He'd be a long shot for UCLA, given that Florida kids typically stay on the East Coast, but he'd be a big get and would fill in nicely following Brett Hundley's eventual departure for the NFL in a few years.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites to get this Saturday morning of college football started. Kick-off is slated for 3pm Pacific, and we will have our usual set of gamethreads up for the game. For now, this will be our pre-game college football open thread. Get fired up and fire away with your thoughts, comments, etc. in the open thread below.