It's Monday morning and it's back to work, for both us and the football squad, as they enter the final week of practice before the Spring Game this upcoming Saturday at the Rose Bowl. Speaking of which, if you're in the Greater Los Angeles Metropolitan area this weekend, guess where you should be? That's right: as part of the 50,000+ Bruins that Coach Mora wants in the Rose Bowl this Saturday. Make it happen.
Beside football, the big news of late was our gymnastics team coming up short in the NCAA final, despite it being held at Pauley Pavilion, with the ladies only able to place in fourth, unable to capitalize and falling to Florida (just in case you needed more reason to hate the Gators). So, once again the quest for UCLA's 109th national title still is on hold, with the Bruins unable to seal the deal since 2011 brought us the 107th and 108th NCAA titles (women's golf and women's volleyball). So, on that dour note, let's turn the various bits and pieces of news floating around the UCLA-iverse:
- Starting with football news, our very own Johnathan Franklin is moving up draft boards as teams begin to second-guess the logic of having Alabama's Eddie Lacy as the top running back in this year's NFL Draft. Apparently, the Mayor is drawing comparisons to the Niners' Frank Gore and the Bucs' Doug Martin for his three-down ability, with the Jets and Steelers two teams taking a long look at the Bruin runner. Let's just cross our fingers that he falls to the Niners somehow, as Frank Gore's long-term replacement.
- Speaking of Bruin football players who we'll see playing on Sundays, sophomore QB Brett Hundley is keeping himself focused with a self-imposed ban on social media activity. Hundley feels that the ban is showing dividends in practice, allowing him to focus on school and developing his passing technique, footwork, and learning the offense. Compared to the undisciplined Neuheisel years (read: Randall Carroll), seeing young men in the program with self-discipline and the drive to be great is pretty awesome.
- In case you missed it, the Los Angeles Times profiled Anthony Jefferson and Brandon Sermons: a pair of Bruin defensive backs that have been lost in the shuffle over the past few seasons, but are now getting a chance to show what they can do in spring practice due to a depleted secondary (between the graduation of Abbott, Price, and Hester, plus the dismissal of Tevin McDonald, plus injuries).
- You know the expression that a broken clock is right twice per day? That applies to usual-Southern Cal homer Ted Miller of the WWL, who struck a perfect response to some concern-trolling over UCLA only having one commit for the Class of 2014. As Miller notes, the Bruins only had one commit at the same time last season too: as things turned out, it didn't really matter.
- Turning to the non-revenue sports, the #3-ranked men's tennis team ended the regular season the right way, beating #4-ranked Southern Cal, edging out a close 4-3 win. The Trojans started by winning the doubles point (2 matches to 1), but the Bruins followed by winning the next four singles' matches (thanks to Dennis Novikov, Marcos Giron, Adrien Puget, and Clay Thompson) to grab the victory. With the big win over hated U$C, the Bruins finish the year 22-1 overall and 7-0 in conference play. They'll be in action later this week for the Pac-12 championships in Ojai.
- On the ladies' end of the court, the #7-ranked women's tennis team didn't have the same luck as the men, falling to #5-ranked Southern Cal, 6-1, to end the regular season. The Trojans picked up the doubles point, sweeping the Lady Bruins. The Trojans then nearly swept the singles' action too, with Kyle McPhillips being the only Bruin to win. With the loss, the Lady Bruins end the regular season 16-5 overall and 7-2 in conference play. Like the men, they'll be in action later this week in the Pac-12 championships in Ojai.
- Moving over to softball, the #18-ranked Lady Bruins ended their weekend series against #22-ranked Arizona the right way, slaughtering the Mildcats in Tucson, picking up a 9-1 mercy-rule win to pick up their 30th win of the year. The Bruins brought their bats, with Stephany LaRosa (1-2, 2 R, 2 RBI, 1 HR) and Mysha Sataraka (1-3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 1 HR) each going deep to lead the Bruins. Ally Carda went the distance, throwing a complete game (6.0 IP, 1 ER, 5 K), to notch her 20th win of the year. The Lady Bruins now stand at 30-15 for the year, but only 7-11 in conference play.
Alright folks, those are your various bits and pieces of news from around the broader UCLA-iverse. Fire away in the comment thread with your thoughts, additions, and takes.