It's Christmas Day and all of us at Bruins Nation would like to wish you and all of your families a very happy holiday season. We all know that every good Bruin out there would like nothing more for Christmas than for Santa Claus to bring us a new chancellor, athletic director, basketball coach, and football offensive coordinator, but for now, we'll have to make do with a handful of bits and pieces of news from around the UCLA-iverse:
--- Starting with the football team, for starting center Jake Brendel, this year's Alamo Bowl comes a month too late for him. With the game being played in San Antonio, it would have been the perfect family reunion for Jake with his sister Lauren, an Air Force officer, who was stationed at nearby Randolph Air Force Base. But, Lauren, like many other men and women in uniform, finds herself serving our nation in uniform far from home - currently at Bagram Air Force Base in Kabul, where she has been serving since deploying to Afghanistan a month ago. Now is the perfect time to remind yourself that while we enjoy this holiday season at home, in comfort and security, there are many who are unable to spend it with their families, serving this great republic thousands of miles away.
--- Sticking with football, the high-profile play of Eric Kendricks continues to shine a bright light on UCLA as the new "Linebacker U" - with Eric about to join fellow Bruin linebacker stand-outs Anthony Barr and Jordan Zumwalt in the NFL. The Orange County Register has a story about the UCLA linebackers, with some bits from Mora and Kendricks.
--- Speaking of linebackers at UCLA, the same Orange County Register article has a follow-up bit on the status of freshman LB Zach Whitley, who was subject to some unfounded speculation that he was on his way out of Westwood. Not much new information than what Jack Wang put out earlier, but from Mora's comment, it does sound like there is some discipline being enforced for what we can only presume is some violation of team rules.
--- Switching to the other football, freshman striker Abu Danladi was named the freshman of the year by Top Drawer Soccer, following a phenomenal debut campaign (five goals, six assists in just 12 games) for the Ghanian freshman.
--- In case you missed it, the Pac-12 Network announced it will televise 19 UCLA baseball games this upcoming 2015 season, featuring key conference games against Oregon State, Berkeley, Oregon, Arizona, and Southern Cal.
--- Finally, if you're in need of a UCLA fix and the current basketball team just isn't cutting it (and given the product we're seeing on the floor, we can't blame you), the Pac-12 Network will be airing a handful of classic college hoops games on his Christmas Day - with UCLA's classic win over Missouri (thanks Tyus!) in 1995 the featured game featuring UCLA (you would think the epic 2006 game between our Bruins and Gonzaga would also make the cut, but we'll see what else they have in store).
Alright folks, that's it for this special holiday edition of Bruin Bites. We hope you all have a wonderful holiday, enjoy your time with your friends and family, and keep your fingers crossed that next year, we'll all get the presents (new athletic director, new basketball head coach, for starter's) that we all deserve as Bruins.