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Spaulding Report: UCLA Football Prepares for Physical BYU Cougars

Los Angeles finally got some needed relief as the skies opened up and brought the area some much needed rain. The Bruins were up and practicing early today, enjoying the rain, and getting ready for their next opponent, the BYU Cougars.

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It was a great day for L.A., as the skies opened up and brought some much needed water to the region. Unfortunately, since the area is mostly concrete, much of the way simply makes its way to the ocean. But some of it does reach real ground bringing a cool drink to the parched hearts and fields of Los Angeles.

Besides the rain, the big news out of practice today was that Jake Brendel will play against BYU this weekend. Given some of the issues and comments coming from the BYU team, it will be important for Josh Rosen to have a full and experienced line working in front of him. Coach Mora said they'll just work him back in to more time through the week and that he doesn't need to practice as much as other guys because he knows what he is doing and is so smart.

As players sang in the rain in the background, Coach Mora spoke about the past game and the one coming up. He was really impressed with how the team handled the big pressure UNLV was bringing, noting that there was only one sack and two plays for loss. He also reminded us of his bonehead call on 4th and 2, and still seems bothered by his poor in-game decision there. Mora wasn't disappointed with Josh Rosen's decision making, however. He said Josh made a couple of bad choices, but that Josh knew he had made bad choices as soon as he came off the field. Mora is really impressed by Josh's ability to see things the coaches don't (like Mossi Johnson in the back of the end zone) and with his ability to understand what is happening out there, see his mistakes, and be steady and mature through the good and the not so good. A couple of things Mora wished Josh had done differently,  sliding after he got the first down (he didn't need to get hit and Josh can slide) and throwing the ball when he should have handed it off. He noted that Josh said right away that he knew he had gotten greedy when he shouldn't have. After watching tape, Mora agrees with IE Angel that Josh did better in the game than he thought.

Mora again talked about how good it was to get guys like Jayon Brown and Cameron Judge extended playing time and noted that they did pretty well and are still learning. It is awesome that this year guys are getting game time to learn, unlike in the past. Last year, the team would get big leads, or should have, put the breaks on and need to keep the starters in. This year's team seems to be able to keep the heat coming, allowing others to get on the field, improve the depth, and be prepared for when they are needed.

Caleb Benenoch was the player of the game, not only for his play, but for his unselfishness. It seems he volunteered to move to guard so that Kolton Miller could get more time. Given all the out of position time Caleb has endured in the past, this was a really cool move on his part, and can be added to IE's leadership on the field section.

Thank you Ed Lewis and Bruin Sports Report for the video.

Mora is then asked about the upcoming game against BYU. Many here and elsewhere have talked about the type of "play" some BYU players bring to the game. Coach Mora was asked about this and said they have been talking with the team all week to make sure they don't react to any of the crap (my word) that might go on out there. They have talked about keeping their composure, walking away from things, and playing a clean game from beginning to end. Mora also responded to a question about Myles Jack saying he gets targeted a lot out there. He has gotten better, but still is getting direct talking toos on how to handle these things better. Mora laughed when he was asked if he was confident the team would handle this stuff well, saying instead it was an emphasis they were working with this week. He knows in the past, the team has become involved in these sorts of things when they shouldn't have. As for the football, Mora compared BYU QB Tanner Mangum to Johnny Manziel and says the secondary will need to stay with their guys for a long time.

In the video below, defensive back Jaleel Wadood addresses the Hail Mary strategy the Cougars seem to be relying on to win this year. He says they work on them as a secondary regularly and are confident they'll be ready for it. Of course as one of our members pointed out, the best strategy against the Hail Mary is to have more than a one touchdown lead at the end of the game.

From Bruins Report Online:

Jaleel talks with poise and confidence but  is not yet completely satisfied with the secondary's performance yet, they can always improve. He says his only concern is that the team come out and play to their full potential as they meet an athletic quarterback this week. He says there isn't much drop off in quarterback play as Tanner Mangum is now taking the snaps against the Bruins.

Jordan Payton notices as well the very physical play of BYU. The Bruins have watched a whole lot of tape on the Cougars and he is looking forward to playing against them. Payton says the team has been put through a lot of adversity to prepare them for anything and that it doesn't matter what team you play, you just prepare to be who you are. Jordan talks about stud Josh Rosen who he says knows when he makes mistakes and has no problem acknowledging them. Payton says Josh is really prepared, has a lot of input into what is called out there, and is a great and knowledgable leader.

Thanks to Ed Lewis and Bruin Sports Report for the video.

And lastly, Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure talked to the media about what a great job Matt Dickerson and Eli Ankou did stepping in for Eddie Vanderdoes and about the good game Takkarist McKinley had. He also talks about how well Fred Ulu-Perry did considering he had only three days practicing on the defensive line. He's with the defense for now, but McClure says he is smart enough to go to either side. McClure goes into a lot of detail about the strengths of all of these players. As for BYU, UCLA will need to use "great techinque" to go up against the big, physical cougars.

Again, thank you Ed Lewis and Bruin Sports Report for the video.

Those are your notes from UCLA Football practice today. Have a great evening, and as always ...

Go Bruins!