Bruins are done with their little adventure in San Bernardino. After two weeks of grueling practices, heat exhaustions, hard hitting,
climbing mountains, battling rattle snakes, diving, and bowling, Bruins are back in the friendly and "comfortable" confines of Westwood. They will get to enjoy the cool breeze blowing in from Malibu while practicing for the season opener against Rice. But thanks to last weeks at this point they should mentally ready (at least theoretically) and with some practical depth due to backups getting in lot of valuable reps in last two weeks.
Menelaus already blogged about Jim Mora's comments after yesterday's practice that seem to be pretty significant. The way Mora went on and on about CSUSB Director of Development for Athletics - Cliff Dochterman was telling. Without saying anything about Chianti Dan - the way Mora talked about Dochertman told us all we needed to hear confirm what we have been saying about the leadership at Morgan Center (and UCLA in general) for months.
As it stands now the Director of Development for Athletics at CSUSB - the guy who personally made sure trash was cleaned out so that Bruins had clean facilities every day - is more competent and passionate administrator of UCLA football than the "Athletic Director" at UCLA. Think about that for a minute. Yikes. Let's get to some quick practice notes after the jump.
I will start with Miguel Melendez's wrap-up as a HT to IMO the best reporter among tradmed outlets (which doesn't counter the guys at BRO and BSR) covering UCLA:
***Practice today was mostly situational drills, specifically on special teams. They ran some plays in between to simulate a game. No pads, though. P Jeff Locke left a the bulk of the punting/kicking duties to Ka'imi Fairbairn and Justin Moreno. They were part of the emergency drills on special teams.
****WR Shaq Evans had some tightness on his left hamstring yesterday but it was minor. And you knew it because today he made some pretty slick plays. He made a good low reach in mid-air for a reception. But what made that catch even more spectacular is that he was sandwiched by DB Ishmael Adams and CB Brandon Sermons.
Looking forward to see what Evans can do in his senior season in Westwood. As for Miguel he signed off his post with this:
On a personal note, this marks the end of my two-week assignment covering UCLA football. Not sure if I'm back moving forward. I can't stress enough how much I enjoyed covering this beat in the short term. The 110-mile drive every day these two weeks and 100-plus degree weather was really an after thought for me. I've enjoyed interacting with you guys on here, the good and bad. Thank you!
Well the appreciation is mutual. I didn't agree with all of his analysis but I really appreciated his straight forward reporting every day. The guy is dedicated and he actually enjoys his job and covering the Bruin program and the community who follows the blue and gold. I am rooting for him to get the opportunity to cover UCLA on a full time basis at the DN.
Elsewhere, Peter Yoon wrote about Jacob Brendel stepping up and securing the C spot at our OL during last couple of weeks:
"Jake being in the middle and being solid and being smart and being tough and handling all the calls has been a real positive for us," coach Jim Mora said. "He's a redshirt freshman but he doesn't play like a young guy. He's tough, he's out there every day, he's dependable, he's able to make the calls."
That last attribute is particularly important in UCLA's uptempo offense. After each play, Brendel is responsible for finding the ball and getting his teammates to it. When the quarterback sets the offense, Brendel must make the pass protection calls for the offensive line and so far the coaches have been impressed.
"Our center is so important to this offense," offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said. "We have to have a center that is just like a quarterback for us because we're a fast tempo team and he's trying to get four other guys on the same page with him in a very quick amount of time. I'm really happy with Brendel and how he's stepped out and stepped up for us."
I am excited to see what Brendel can do. And, I think having him there would be an upgrade over Kai Maiava, who frankly was a disappointment during his career at UCLA. Brendel also comes in with more natural talent than Ryan Taylor, a JUCO transfer who was brought in to plug the dike after the OL was completely gutted from less than stellar recruiting preceding the Neuheisel era in Westwood.
Bruins don't have any practice today. They are going to take a little time off today before getting ready for a "Meet the Bruins Day" in Drake Stadium tomorrow from 3:30 - 5:30 p.m. You can get the details on tomorrow here. UCLA will get back to practice on Sunday with a two-a-day scheduled at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Sunday. Those practices will be public on Sunday and they will continue practice in public at 11:30 a.m. on Monday and at 8:30 a.m. and 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday. Then, they will close things down and get ready for Rice.