We're just one day away from the return of UCLA football, with the Bruins now in El Paso and going through the final preparations for their Sun Bowl battle against Frank Beamer's Virginia Tech Hokies. It's another weird week, with a holiday stuck right in the middle of the week, but fortunately, we have our Bruins on tap tomorrow, plus some delicious bowl match-ups the rest of the week. As we wait for Mora and our Bruins to hit the field in El Paso, we take a look at the various bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Beginning with the Sun Bowl, the Los Angeles Daily News has a handful of notes relating to the Bruins as they prepare for the Hokies, including the simplification of their blocking schemes to aid an offensive line without much experience as Klemm and Mazzone have been forced to plug in three true freshmen along the front-five, and interestingly, Hundley's goal to emulate his athletic idol, former Syracuse and Philadelphia Eagles QB Donovan McNabb, who led the Orange over the Hokies in 1998.
- Speaking of Hundley, the Los Angeles Times has a nice profile of Hundley and the role he takes in his epileptic younger sister's life and how her struggles have kept him grounded despite the mounting hype around the 2014 Heisman front-runner (assuming he makes the decision to return to Westwood for one more season).
- Turning to another pair of Bruin stars, former UCLA linebacker Brendon Ayanbadejo, now working for Fox Sports, wrote on how projected early first-round NFL Draft pick Anthony Barr and super-stud freshman linebacker Myles Jack are continuing a rich tradition in Westwood of outstanding linebacker play, punctuated by Barr winning the Lott Trophy for his outstanding impact this season. Most interesting however, is Coach Ulbrich's comments on Myles Jack, telling the media that Jack is "a better athlete than Patrick Willis" and considering that Ulbrich lined up alongside the hit-machine as part of the 49ers' linebacker corps, he would know.
- Following up on Jack, the Los Angeles Times profiled the young linebacker and how he's handled the transition from anonymous freshman to one of Los Angeles' brightest young stars. So far, the young two-way star has handled it well, and you have to imagine that having coaches with NFL experience, who have worked with some of the biggest stars in the game, are helping to keep the phenom well-counseled.
- Finally, switching away from football for a minute, in non-revenue action, the Lady Bruins hoops squad was in action this past Saturday, dropping Cal Poly at Pauley, 96-89, to close out their non-conference slate of games. Shorthanded, with just a seven-player rotation, Cori Close's squad was led by Nirra Fields, who posted a huge game (36 points, 6 rebounds, 5 steals), with Thea Lemberger (23 points, 8 assists) and Atonye Nyingifa's double-double (23 points, 10 rebounds) helping the Lady Bruins get back to .500. Now at 6-6 for the season, the Lady Bruins will be in action tonight against Southern Cal at Pauley at 7 p.m.
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites as we kick off this last final week of 2013 and gear up for the Sun Bowl tomorrow. Fire away with your additions, opinions, and commentary in the thread as we follow Jim Mora and our football Bruins as they get ready for the Sun Bowl tomorrow.