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Spaulding Roundup: Preseason Mags, UCLA's New "Blog" & Other Notes

Let's start the Humpday roundup (I love 4 day workweeks) with some pre-season notes on the football teams. Apparently two pre season magazines - Athlons and Lindys - are already out. I used to get them during the pre-internet days. Now I pretty much stick to Blue Ribbon yearbook. If you are picking up Athlons and Lindy's though, here are some of the snipets you will find on the UCLA football team (via the official site):

Athlon's National Preview has selected place kicker Kai Forbath and defensive tackle Brian Price to its All-America second team and cornerback Alterraun Verner to its third team. Verner, Price, linebacker Reggie Carter and wide receiver Terrence Austin (as a receiver and a kickoff returner) were named first-team All-Pac-10. Forbath, safety Rahim Moore and linebacker Akeem Ayers to the magazine's All-Pac-10 second team.

Athlon, which features linebacker Reggie Carter on its UCLA-USC cover, lists seven of UCLA's incoming freshmen - Randall Carroll (5), Morrell Presley (8), Xavier Sua-Filo (15), Richard Brehaut (21), Marlon Pollard (22), Damien Thigpen (24) and Keenan Graham (25) are ranked among the Top 25 newcomers in the Pac-10.

Lindy's College Football Preview named Forbath to its All-America first team. In addition, Verner was listed No. 5 nationally among cornerbacks, Carter was listed No. 9 among inside linebackers and Price was listed No. 9 among defensive tackles. Verner, Carter, Price, Forbath and Austin (all-purpose) were selected first-team All-Pac-10 while Ayers was named to the second team. Quarterback Kevin Prince was named the league's Newcomer of the Year.

Both publications are keeping their expectations low in terms of where UCLA football will finish this coming season. Lindy's has UCLA ranked No. 48 nationally and No. 6 in the Pac-10. Athlon has the Bruins No. 51 overall and No. 6 in the Pac-10. That sounds about right given our previous discussions here on BN.

Still analysts such as WWL's Bruce Feldman is bullish on the Bruins. Feldman has UCLA as one of the potential most improved teams of 2009:

UCLA (4-8): Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel took over a very inexperienced, undermanned team last year. The Bruins' O-line was a disaster, and it got even worse after being hit hard by injuries. Some transfers and some quality big recruits will make a huge difference up front, and UCLA infused some necessary speed on both sides of the ball. I expect them to come on very strong late in the season.

One of the coaches who will be involved with the program next season is former UCLA (and Colorado) assistant Jon Embree. According to Dohn, Embree is working out the details to serve as a graduate assistant in the staff next season:

One of my sources said it is looking very good for former UCLA and NFL assistant Jon Embree joining the Bruins staff as a graduate assistant. Embree still must be admitted to graduate school, but it looks like it is going to happen.
Embree, who was the tight ends coach with the Kansas City Chiefs, will continue to get paid by the Chiefs, which is one of the reasons he can coach at UCLA without getting paid.

I wonder what graduate program Embree is looking to enroll in? Anyone have ideas?

Lastly, this is kind of interesting. The Athletic department has launched an official blog. They are calling it "What's Bruin Blog" We have already blogrolled it in the Bruinspere. Take a look. Here is one of the entries from yesterday:

Mark your calendars. UCLA's 2009 pre-season football scrimmage has been set for the evening of Saturday, August 22. It will be held at Drake Stadium on the UCLA campus.

The scrimmage is tentatively scheduled for 5:00 pm. Gates at Drake Stadium will open at 4 pm.

The Bruins will open practice on Monday, August 10. In accordance with NCAA rules, the Bruins will practice once a day in the afternoon through Friday, August 14, the first day of full pads. They will practice twice a day on Saturday, August 15, as well as the following Monday (17th), Wednesday (19th) and Friday (21st) and once a day on the other afternoons.

All practices prior to the August 22nd scrimmage will be open to the public.

Following the scrimmage, head coach Rick Neuheisel and the Bruins will be available for autographs and photographs.

Well I have some thoughts. I guess it's a start. I give them some credit for at least even pondering it. They are actually doing a decent job getting information via their twitter account.  However, for the athletic department employees and interns who are reading BN, here are some suggestions (offered up at no charge) to improve what they have:

  • Place permalinks for each posts so that each entries can be individually linked at other sites. This is one of the basic functionalities that a blog should have. Without having such a feature, it's kind of silly to call it a blog.
  • Include a blogroll. I am assuming some of the people in there would just shudder at the thought of making themselves look connected to the outside world. However, if the UCLA official blog includes a blogroll and then link up other UCLA online communities, it would not only be seen as a sign of goodwill, it will come across as a website, that is looking to build relaltionships with other communities.
  • Show the willingness to share video content by posting embeddable videos. Currently one of the entries in that blog has a link to 2009 UCLA football ticket commercial. When I clicked on it a Windows Media Player box popped up and I immediately closed it out. Don't have the time to go through that. I still don't understand why the official site hasn't done anything to place their content in youtube or other flash streaming services with embeddable videos.
  • Provide actual commentary, thoughts that is coming from a coach, a player of even an official. Perhaps this will be happening in the future. It would have made sense if the first post was a heart felt post from Dan Guerrerro himself or a UCLA coach, showing Morgan Center's genuine willingness to engage the UCLA athletic community online.
  • Provide the ability to offer comments. Seems kind of basic. No?

Again, those are just some of my initial thoughts when I saw the blog.  I will give them some credit for at least thinking about using a blog but they have a long way to go.