Let's start our UCLA football roundup this Monday with Toby Umodu's off-season notes. He has been writing a weekly "Keeping It Bruin," which is a look into UCLA athletics for a local paper in Malibu. Toby's this week's write up is all about gearing up for the start of training camp:
WESTWOOD—The day we have all been anxiously waiting is almost here. In a little over a week the Bruins begin training camp and when that is all said and done, the college football season will finally be upon us.
For the past six weeks, the Bruins have been pushing their bodies past their limits to make sure they are completely prepared for San Diego State, come September 5. Winning doesn’t come without a price and by working out four days a week in the morning and afternoon, the Bruin football team has definitely earned their pay, but it still remains to be seen whether they cash in or not.
"I am confident this season is going to be good. You can tell by the team’s offseason work that we are a lot bigger, faster and stronger team," said senior defensive back Alterraun Verner.
As for ATV's offensive team-mates Toby has some interesting notes on our passing game in his writeup:
The afternoon workouts have been most helpful for the offense because it has given them the opportunity to improve the passing game. Freshman quarterback Kevin Prince, who has been named the new starting quarterback, has shown that he is more than ready to assume control of the Bruin offense.
"I think he has come a long way over the summer, especially with the timing of everything. The timing between him and the receivers has definitely gotten a lot better. His confidence has grown a lot throughout the summer and he has made all the hard throws look easy," said sophomore wide receiver Taylor Embree.
With what seems like a never ending depth when it comes to receivers, Prince has been able to forge great timing and a better understanding of what each receiver likes to do. All of that and a lot of success against the defense for most of the summer during the afternoon passing sessions has the offense thinking they can take over the role of being the strongest aspect of the team this season.
Once again gotta add the usual caveat about not getting too excited from this off-season reports because of how many times we have all been burned during this past decade. Still can't help getting excited to find out what we are going to get out of our new QBs and some of the new players coming into the mix. Speaking of new players we have some good news after the jump.
Earlier this summer we had heard that there were some questions about whether incoming freshman Nik Abele and JUCO transfer Eddie Williams will be able to get their coursework done this summer. Dohn had some good news on these kids late last week as he was told both of them were "on track to complete the necessary academic work and be admitted in time for training camp." I am sure Coach Palcic more than anyone was excited to get that news.
Lastly, let's end with this amusing note from Dennis Dodd about a certain college football coach (emphasis added):
After the career year, he interviewed with Washington. He would have killed to get UCLA the previous year. His name was attached to Notre Dame. That was just in the last two years.
Of course he is talking about none other than the Captain of Texas Tech
Pirates Red Raiders: Mike Leach. I thought the note was pretty funny. I remember the UCLA coaching search well. While Leach might have wanted to come to UCLA really badly, he certainly wasn't sending those signals during the negotiation process from what I have heard.
Moreover, when Neuheisel's name popped up, the more everyone thought through it, the more it became clear that the best fit for UCLA football program given the culture around the university was CRN. I think the world of Leach's ability as a football coach. However, given how our football program is situated, I think Neuheisel is the better fit in terms of guiding the program within the academic culture of UCLA and the UC system. We got the right guy.
Still a pretty amusing note to say the nonethless from Dodd and it tells us something about the potential of the football program at UCLA when a coach like Leach is so interested in it.