Yesterday we heard from our Bruins - Coach Mora, Jake Brendal and Deon Hollins. Today will feature some of the opponents that may cause the most problems for the Bruins this year - Utah, $c, Arizona, and Mike Leach's WSU. While we won't be meeting up with Oregon in the regular season, should all go as expected, we may be seeing them in the Pac-12 championship game (sorry media, picking just$c to win the south?- come on - first they have to beat us!).
We also found out yesterday, that most of the Pac-12 excessive penalties come from Pac-12 style of play - running "lots of offensive plays". However, while Larry Scott explained this correlation, he also went on to say that the conference now has a full time director of officiating, David Coleman. So his words may say, "there's nothing really wrong", but his actions show that maybe, just maybe, something has been really wrong with Pac-12 officiating. I for one was surprised to learn there hadn't been a full time director of officiating in the past and am heartened to learn that action is being taken.
Many questions that have been haunting Bruin fans were asked and addressed by Coach Mora yesterday, including questionable play calling against the rush and costly Bruin penalties. We also learned a little more about the virtual reality quarterback training system UCLA is using. JoeBruin15 was able to upload much of the press conference and/or you can read the complete transcript. I highly recommend watching the JB15's video of Mora as he sat down in a more informal setting with the beat reporters and gives much more detailed information about the players not playing quarterback and issues familiar to those who follow UCLA football more closely.
Later on the Pac-12 Network, Mora, Deon Hollins and Coach/Player Jake Brendel met with Nick Aliotta and others. As usual, the players represented UCLA with great intelligence and grace, discussing their new coaches and how the team is improving. Coach Mora discussed the maturity, ownership and leadership the players are showing, the quarterbacks, working with new Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley, and Paul Perkins and his quality character. Enjoy!
Below, Jake talks about his role as coach and, in response to an observation, discusses the special and rare environment the Coaches have developed with the UCLA players. Curtis Conway notes that the respect he sees in the UCLA locker room is really different than what he sees in a lot of other places. Deon talks about following in the steps of Jordan Zumwalt, Anthony Barr, and Eric Kendricks and about getting over the Stanford hump.
Coach Mora also made an appearance on the PMS show (AM 570). He talked with Petros and Money about why he doesn't like pre-season rankings and that he doesn't want anyone to be talking about his team until the end of the year - when they "pop on the scene". Mora discusses how important Brett was to UCLA and to UCLA football, but how it is also exciting to see how others will emerge now that Brett is moving into the next part of his career. Other topics - the process of getting better day by day, the strength of the Pac-12 and the Pac-12 south, how brutal (in a good way) the conference is, and that which ever team emerges from the Pac-12 absolutely has earned a spot in the final four. He is also asked about the challenges the coaching staff faced this off season with things that were not named, but implied. Next year, Petros jokes about playing in the Count on Me Tournament while Mora will hosts the radio show.
Some other notes regarding the upcoming season:
- Coach Mora appeared on ESPN this week and discussed the inability of being consistent in past seasons, "not following a big win with a disappointing loss" as a big challenge to overcome. The video also has some nice moments from last year's game against "our rivals". When it comes to deciding on a quarterback, Mora says that the decision will come when it comes and there is no need to force it.
- ESPN's Ted Miller also projects that UCLA will field the best defense in the Pac-12 this year, noting the quality of returning players and the new DC:
The Bruins lost three All-Pac-12 players, most notably Butkus Award winner Eric Kendricks, but no conference team welcomes back as much defensive star power. The Clark/Vanderdoes combination up front is particularly noteworthy, though D-line depth is a question. Jack will shift inside at LB, and expectations are high that he and sophomore Kenny Young will become a dynamic, versatile tandem. The secondary is deep, talented and experienced. New coordinator Tom Bradley, who made his name under Joe Paterno at Penn State, has a lot to work with.
Today's schedule (all times Pacific):
|Pac-12 Networks||Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans||9 a.m.|
|Utah||Kyle Whittingham (HC)
Devontae Booker (RB) & Jared Norris (LB)
|Arizona||Rich Rodriguez (HC)
David Richards (WR) & Will Parks (S)
|Berkeley||Sonny Dykes (HC)
Jared Goff (QB) & Hardy Nickerson (LB)
|u$c||Steve Sarkisian (HC)
Cody Kessler (QB) & Su'a Cravens (LB)
|Oregon||Mark Helfrich (HC)
Royce Freeman (RB) & Rodney Hardrick (LB)
|Mike Leach (HC)
Joe Dahl (OL) & Jeremiah Allison (LB)
This is your open thread for today's media day. Enjoy, and as always ...
P.S. I'd also like to give JoeBruin15 a huge shout out for the incredible work and coverage he provided yesterday. It is really nice to be at the table and get to ask a few questions that have been on our collective minds.