Let's take a quick break from our own March Madness, which sadly has nothing to do with our team in the tournament and everything to do with the ongoing drama of UCLA Basketball. I still don't understand why some personalities feel the need to come on TV and proclaim that the UCLA job is not an elite one, without even being prompted. It reeks of an agenda.
Wait, I said let's take a break...
All right, let's look instead at some news and notes around a program that instead has us excited and has engendered some positive anticipation. With spring camp set to start for UCLA Football, things are getting busy so here is a quick update.
- If you haven't already done so, take a peek at Jim Mora's press conference from yesterday (HT LA Bruin)
- You have already heard that Tevin McDonald was kicked off the team after his fourth positive drug test, a real shame for everyone involved. It appears three more players will also no longer be with the team, however it is because they will be graduating in the spring. Todd Golper, Ricky Marvray and Jerry Rice Jr. will forego their final year of eligibility at UCLA. Golper will likely retire from football after injury problems, while Marvray and Rice will likely transfer as graduate students and should be able to play immediately.
- From the same article, Devin Fuller is now listed as a wide receiver. It will be interesting to see if he gets any reps at QB, but with Asiantii Woulard now on board, the staff will likely feel that he can be most productive as a WR and he showed promise last year. Here is the full 2013 spring roster.
- Once again, if you haven't seen it yet, here is the schedule for spring practice, set to start April 2. And don't forget:
Nice to see graphics improving for football. Now about those sandwich boards...
- While on paper, our team looks to be nice and deep at the start of the season, many of those players have yet to set foot on campus or are recovering from injuries. There are definitely holes to fill on the roster aside from those left by graduating players, and with Tevin's dismissal the situation at safety could get interesting if not challenging.
- We have heard of dismissals, departures and injuries, so it's nice to hear about a player returning instead. You all know by now that Malcolm Jones will be back on the team, though as a walk-on. I particularly like Mora's approach with the young player, the willingness to give a second chance, and I tend to agree with Mora when he says:
"I kind of feel like Malcolm is going to have a renewed sense of intensity and urgency in the things that I was talking about and I'd love to see it. I'm excited to see it. I'm excited to see him play."
The school is also petitioning to get him another year of eligibility, and if Malcolm indeed has that new dedication, he could be a huge asset next year.
- Although it is a couple of weeks old, you can read Stewart Mandel's quick take on issues facing each Pac-12 team as they start spring camp (although it seems 9 teams have already started!). A common theme for UCLA seems to be the need to achieve consistency. It may end up being a year similar to 2012 as we continue to play young players, although it seems we have experience with our starters now.
That's it folks, hope I was able to distract you a bit from the hoops craziness.