Wednesday was the first day of closed practices in Westwood, and the start of the first (extended) game week of 2013. The team started working on the game plan for Nevada, with the coaches introducing bits of their scheme each day through the end of this week before heading into full opponent game planning mode on Monday.
The 2013 UCLA Football captains were announced today, as determined by last week's team vote. They are:
- Offense: Xavier Su'a-Filo, Brett Hundley, Jake Brendel
- Defense: Anthony Barr, Eric Kendricks, Ryan Hoffmeister
Special teams captains will be named on a game-by-game basis. Congrats to this year's captains.
But one thing that Coach Mora was not as open to sharing during his post-practice presser was Anthony Barr's condition. His response to multiple questions on that issue was: 'Anthony Barr "is fine", "doing great"...' He gave the same answer when asked about Simon Goines' knee, telling the media that while he understands and respects their jobs, he does not want that sort of information out in the open to help opponents prepare.
Talking to other players did not help Jack Wang very much:
"I was just like, ‘Oh, I wonder how he’s doing’ and what really happened to him, because I don’t even know," said freshman linebacker Isaak Savaiinaea. "We’ve seen him today, but he seemed good. Nothing wrong."
Coach Mora's post-practice remarks follow:
With Barr's status for the season opener in doubt, there is opportunity for other Bruin linebackers throughout the depth chart. During the presser, Mora named Aaron Wallace, Deon Hollins, Myles Jack and Kenny Orjioke as LB's who may conceivably take Barr's place if he misses playing time. Regardless of that, he noted that he expects all four to contribute this season while sharing brief observations of each:
- Deon Hollins - Has a rare ability to get off at the snap which makes him valuable in passing situations. Not as advanced against the run but his size helps him in that part of the game.
- Myles Jack - Not as good of a pass rusher as Deon, but a more versatile player. He can do a bit of everything.
- Aaron Wallace - His experience is a plus right now. His pass rushing ability has improved, and he has been very consistent in camp and practices. Overall, Mora has been impressed.
- Kenny Orjioke - Still a bit inconsistent, but a highly talented player who is still very young as a sophomore - having just turned 18. Mora compared Tyler Foreman - who is 17 - to Kenny as far as joining the program as a particularly young freshman, and as a point of reference to Foreman's standing.
This was also the 1st day that the dedicated scout team took the field against the starters. Mora talked a bit about deciding his scout team considerations - deciding which freshmen he will involve in the game plan. The philosophy that he shared is If a kid can help us win a game, he will find a way to get him on the field. If the coaches are unable to utilize a guy enough on game day, they don't want to burn his redshirt unnecessarily - but that is a secondary consideration.
LOS ANGELES -- USC receiver Marqise Lee thinks its "crazy" that USC doesn't have a starting quarterback by the end of their three-week fall camp, which wrapped up Wednesday.
"Dude, this is crazy," Lee said. "I'm still waiting. I don't know when coach Kiffin is going to actually decide but I hope it's Friday because that's when we start our (preparation for Hawaii).
Scott Wolf added this note on his Daily News blog.
Here’s what USC wide receiver Marqise Lee said about waiting for a QB decision: "I’m sitting here just like you guys, lost."
Good to know that Lane has everything and everyone under control.
After finishing the week with traditional practices at Spaulding, the team will have a closed Saturday Night practice at the Rose Bowl - actually a full mock game day, including the normal pregame routine and action under the lights in Pasadena.
They will line up for buses by the campus’ Bruin Walk, eat a pre-game meal at Pasadena’s Langham hotel, then travel to the stadium for simulated game situations.
We’re going to try and create that on Saturday night, so that when we come out against Nevada, we’ll be a tad more relaxed and used to the environment," Mora said. "There’ll still be a heightened sense of anxiety, certainly."