It's Thursday morning, which means we're getting real close to finally making to what looks like a picture-perfect sunny spring weekend here in the Golden State. Our spring sports are gearing up for post-season play and it's crunch time as UCLA looks to pick up its 109th national title (if not more) by the time classes wrap up at the end of spring quarter. So, let's get right into your bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with football, Jon Gold has an interview with redshirt freshman center Jacob Brendel, who has all the tools to be the next great UCLA center, but is suffering through some mental roadblocks in getting the snaps down. Gold has some good sound bites from Brendel and offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, as Brendel finds himself on the outside looking in, trying to get his snaps down before he loses his spot on the depth chart. What's great about this is that, unlike prior coaching regimes, you can get a sense that there is real accountability at Spaulding from Coach Klemm: either you perform or you get replaced, which is refreshing for Bruin fans used to favoritism regardless of on-field performance.
- Turning to the boss, Coach Mora was profiled by the Sporting News' Matt Hayes, in which he talks about his transition to the college game, what he's enjoying about college life, and some valuable lessons he got, from all places, his former player in Atlanta, Warrick Dunn, and the time he spent rehabbing his knee in Seattle with Washington Huskies players. It's an interesting read. Oh, and they throw an Ellis McCarthy quote in at the end for you recruiting junkies.
- The other half of "Two Fat Guys Talkin' Football," the Daily Bruin's Sam Strong, has a really good piece on freshman QB Jerry Neuheisel. Strong got some real good quotes from Jerry Neu and Mora, discussing Jerry's decision to stay at UCLA, what he wants to do while in Westwood, how he dealt with his dad being fired, and Mora's decision to change the culture around UCLA football without disparaging one of UCLA's own in Rick Neuheisel. Good read and it really makes you appreciate how classy Rick, Jerry, and Mora have been in this transition period. Unlike Karl Dorrell, who more-or-less fell off the face of the Earth after he was terminated, you get the sense that Rick is going to be very vocal in his support for UCLA.
- In negative football news, former UCLA kicker extraordinaire Kai Forbath was cut from the Cowboys this past week after spending all of last season on the non-football injury list with a quad injury. Disappointing news for Kai but I'm sure, once he's healthy, he'll catch on somewhere. Maybe he can land in San Francisco and kick for Harbaugh once Akers decides to hang it up.
- In non-revenue recruiting news, UCLA got a commitment from track and cross country runner Austin O'Neil out of Hart High (Santa Clarita). O'Neil, a runner with the fastest 800- and 1,600-meter times in the Foothill League this past year will be a solid addition to UCLA's stable of runners.
- Finally, with financial support from the Legislature again weakening, UCLA is responding by increasing the number of non-resident students that will be coming to Westwood, giving the university a much-needed cash infusion. As a result, the number of California residents admitted dropped 15%, while out-of-state admissions increased 32%. While the change is good for UCLA's student body diversity, it hurts for those of us who are Californians. So, if you want to see in-state student numbers remain as they have been in the past, perhaps it's time to write your Assemblyman/Assemblywoman and/or State Senator. Otherwise, many of our children may not get to call themselves Bruins (God, I hope my kid doesn't end up at Cal).
Alright folks, those are your Bruin Bites as we get ready to wrap up another work week. Fire away with your thoughts, opinions, and takes in the comment threads.