It's another sunny Monday morning in California and our Bruins are finally back in Westwood and en route to Spaulding Field to gear up for the season opener against the Nevada Wolfpack in less than two weeks. And as we inch closer to fall, life around campus slowly begins to pick up pace, with UCLA's other non-revenue sports getting underway this week. So, with that said, let's take a look at the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with football, the Associated Press compiled (via Grand Rapids' NBC affiliate Wood TV-Channel 8) various notes from football coaches from the Big Ten, Pac-12, and Conference USA, with Coach Mora embracing the high-octane football style of the Pac-12 (UCLA ranked 13th in the nation in plays per game), and our Southern Cal rival Lane Kiffin concerned about the "safety ramifications" of the system (probably because teams playing up-tempo have worked over his sanctions depleted roster).
- With our season opener less than two weeks away, the local Nevada media is feeling bullish about the Wolfpack's chances against our Bruins, with one sports writer predicting a high-octane shoot-out and a very narrow UCLA win. Perhaps someone should tack that article on the board in Lou Spanos' wall as extra motivation for the Bruin defense to put the hurt on Nevada's offense.
- With fall camp in San Bernardino, one thing that became very clear to even the most casual observer, was that UCLA now finds itself with some very solid depth at WR, with Shaq Evans, Jordan Payton, Devin Lucien, Darius Bell, and Devin Fuller all returning with significant experience under their belts. But with a few more spots to fill in Mazzone's multi-receiver spread offense, WR coach Eric Yarber has a lot of options to fill those spots, saying there will be a lot of competition in the WR corps this year.
- The Redlands Daily Facts ran a profile of the two local freshmen that joined the Bruins this year, focusing in on Redlands High graduate Craig Lee and East Valley High's former stand-out Kylie Fitts. The former high school rivals now find themselves in the same locker room and in the same Blue and Gold, something that almost didn't happen until Fitts realized the mistake he was making in committing to
Second ChoiceSouthern Cal.
- Moving over to non-revenue sports, UCLA will have an Olympic gold-medalist coming to campus this fall as a freshman. Jordyn Wieber, who with the "Fierce Five" grabbed an Olympic gymnastics gold medal in London, will be enrolling at UCLA this fall as a freshman. Unable to practice with or compete for UCLA (not eligible per NCAA rules), the Olympian plans to continue training on her own in Westwood, but more importantly (for UCLA), she intends to be a manager for the Bruins' squad, which would be a welcome source of tips and tricks of the trade from a gymnast who knows a thing or two about how to win.
- Finally, UCLA's non-revenue sports have finally returned (sort of) after the summer hiatus. The #9-ranked men's soccer team returned to action this past weekend, dropping Westmont College 3-0 in an exhibition match in Westwood. Goals were plentiful, with sophomore Jordan Vale (18'), senior Max Estrada (43'), and senior Ryan Lee (85') all finding the net for the Bruins. The men will get their season officially underway on August 30 against #7-ranked Notre Dame before taking on #1-ranked Indiana in a two-match Midwest road trip.
Alright folks, those are your bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse for this Monday morning. Fire away with your comments, additions, opinions, etc. in the comment thread as we anxiously await the return of football to Spaulding Field.