It was a quiet media day at Spaulding. With game day coming one day earlier than normal this week, the team went with its Thursday routine and practiced in shells while putting the finishing touches on game plans for Washington. Coach Mora acknowledged the difficulties of getting around Los Angeles on a Friday afternoon, but encouraged fans to get out to the Rose Bowl and that the players appreciate the support. Needless to say that the players would probably appreciate more support from Morgan Center in promoting the game and the blackout, but that would require the sort of enthusiasm and aggressive outreach we never see from them, so the coach repeated the message himself.
Mora was asked about the running back depth for this week. and he went over the roster and discussed their availability, noting that Steven Manfro is still out and that Damien Thigpen will be a game time decision.
They're doing good. Jordon James is fine. Thiggy, gametime decision, hasn't done much this week at all. Steven Manfro is still out. Paul Perkins, good. Malcolm Jones, good. Roosevelt Davis, good. Melvin Emesibe, good. Ryan Davis, good.
Mora was obviously trolling the media at this point, forcing our friend Chris Foster to suggest he "left one out". Not willing to bite, Mora deadpanned, "Who's that?" When Foster dutifully replied, "Myles Jack", Mora simply responded, "He's a linebacker".
Also on the injury front, Foster reported that reserve offensive tackle Conor McDermott is now out for the season after having surgery on his injured left shoulder yesterday. McDermott played one series this year, filling in for an injured Simon Goines against Stanford before promptly suffering a separated shoulder. UC Berkeley alum Jack Wang noted in InsideUCLA that Goines has appeared at practice but "still has his right knee wrapped and limps noticeably". That sounds like we should expect Xavier Su'a-Filo to remain at left tackle and freshman Scott Quessenberry to stay at the left guard spot. The Bruins have started that lineup the last three weeks so that group should be continuing to improve as they get more reps together. In the meantime, get well soon, Conor!
The official site announced that a couple more awards for star linebacker Anthony Barr were announced today.
During the practice it was announced that senior linebacker Anthony Barr was named a Walter Camp "Player to Watch" for Player of the Year and a Lott IMPACT Trophy semifinalist. The Walter Camp list is comprised of 15 student-athletes while Barr was one of nine named to the Lott Trophy list.
Though Barr was held off the score sheet last Saturday (which is not the only time he was held that day), his presence on the defense is having a big impact as opposing teams are going overboard to scheme for him, and he is still hurrying or rerouting opposing quarterbacks. He has really become a complete linebacker this season as he has added more pass coverage and positioning responsibilities to his game. Still, I suspect he'll be anxious to make his presence more tangible this