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Alamo Roundup: UCLA Football Players Reflect On Their Careers & Share The Joy With Some Great Kids

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We have the latest news and interviews from San Antonio and elsewhere, as the the Bruins prepare for to meet the Kansas State Wildcats.

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Day two in San Antonio and after a night watching Kyle Anderson and Trevor Ariza shoot some hoops the Bruins held their second practice in Texas.  Most of the press is focusing on Brett Hundley and his NFL stock or rumors that Coach Mora might jump to the NFL.  But Brett and his Bruin teammates seem to have their heads squarely on their shoulders as they prepare for Friday's game.

We learned today that Malcolm Bunche did not make the trip andwill not play in the Alamo Bowl due to being academically ineligible.  On the positive side, Eric Kendricks received an invitation to the Senior Bowl and will join Owamagbe Odighizuwa.  The game will be played on January 24th in Mobile, Alabama.

Three Bruins spoke with the press today, O-Lineman Caleb Benenoch, D-Lineman Eddie Vanderdoes, and Freshman Linebacker Kenny Young.  I was impressed by all three, their clarity, their focus, and their ability to reflect on their own careers at UCLA. Thank you to Ryan Kartje from the OC Register for the videos. First from Kenny:

Whatever I have to do to get the job done, I'm willing to do it... That's my mindset, that's my goal and I'm willing to get it done.

As you can hear, Kenny gives tremendous props to Eric Kendricks for all he has taught him about approaching things on and off the field.  It is great that Kenny has such an amazing mentor.  Kenny also talks about his development this year and how he has become more comfortable in his emerging role as a vocal leader in the defense.  He is getting used to making the calls on d.

Next, Caleb talks about how the o-line has come together, that they are becoming experienced, and how different it will be next year with an intact line coming back for the first time. He says they have found a rhythm and has enjoyed watching the film that shows the improvement, "everything's cooking".  He says they don't need to work on technique as much and can work more on schemes because of the greater experience.  He is also glad to be close to home and to be playing in his second bowl game and he's beyond just trying to not mess up.  When asked about the Mora rumors (as is Eddie) he handles it like a pro:

It's a blessing and a curse.  At the end of the day we don't worry about it...we focus on the game and we're focused on each other, just play for each other.

As you can hear, Caleb has great admiration for Brett, who is demanding but knows how to communicate with them.   He said Brett's play last year really helped given the inexperience of the line.

It was an honor to block for him.

Eddie also speaks with the media, but you can tell his mind is somewhere else, possibly on a teammate distracting him?  He is also asked about the Mora rumors, but fortunately more of the discussion is focused on stopping Wildcat quarter back, Jake Waters.

The key to beating a mobile qb is doing your job.  He thinks Waters will take hits instead of sliding, he's an running back and a quarter back.  His discussion of K State's offense is really interesting, how they line up differently than anyone else they've seen.  Eddie says that with this kind of offense that "t's a matter of doing their job".  Eddie is looking forward to having his first football off season ever where he wasn't injured (knock on wood) and being able to really work on getting better during that time.  I get the feeling from these guys that the Mora rumors aren't distracting the players, but the questions about the rumors might be.

The Bruins also spent some time today with kids from the Boys and Girls Clubs and it looks like it was a wonderful time for all the kids (young and old):

UCLA put out a video showing the Bruins' Road to the Alamo Bowl.  I love the two hits they show from the Arizona game!

Future Bruin (January 5th) Josh Rosen was named the L.A. Times player of the year. From the 4.0+ student:

I can't wait to get to UCLA, compete for a job, go to classes and be a college student.

And his future teammates will be waiting:

That's all for tonight folks.  Enjoy the last days of 2014 and as always...

Go Bruins!