1. UCLA: DE Datone Jones, LB Akeem Ayers, FS Rahim Moore
Moore and Ayers ranked seventh and eighth respectively on our top-25 list and are the best players at their positions in the conference. Ayers had 14.5 tackles for a loss with four interceptions, four forced fumbles and two fumble recoveries. Moore, who will be a consensus first-team preseason All-American, led the nation with 10 interceptions. In other words, those two combined to create 20 turnovers. Jones had 11 tackles for a loss as a sophomore starter and was dominant at times this spring.
"You know what, no one is more critical of our offense than we are. I accept all criticism. No problem. The numbers are what they are. When you're eighth or ninth or 10th in the Pac-10 in offense, that's not good enough. We're like car mechanics - we're always going to tinker. But you also have to always ask, what can you execute. It isn't what we know, it's what our players know.
When you're dealing with an inexperienced offensive line - a freshman left tackle, a brand-new junior college player inside, Kai Maiava playing his first year at center, Mike Harris playing in his second year - there was no one with more than two years of experience. Johnathan Franklin, freshman. Kevin Prince, freshman. Nobody at wide receiver with the exception of Austin with more than two years in the program. What can we really do and execute? One thing we couldn't do was turn the ball over. We learned that in our first year, and our turnover ratio was better last year, gave us a chance to win.
"I've always wanted to be four but never could because it was retired at Crespi and Terrence Austin had it my first two years here," Prince said. "Brett Favre is my favorite quarterback, but more than that, I want people to see me as a guy who plays for the love of the game like he does.
"Sort of a new identity."
Sophomore offensive guard Stan Hasiak has been reinstated to the UCLA football team and will take part in Spring Practice, head coach Rick Neuheisel announced today. Hasiak was informed of his reinstatement on Monday afternoon. [...]
"Stan has done everything we have asked of him during the Winter Quarter," said Neuheisel. "He has made some mistakes and has tried to correct them, After speaking with our coaching staff and our players, I felt like he deserved one last chance to be part of our team."