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March 31, 2011 | By Chris Foster
UCLA's football team was in the second day of spring practice Thursday, players not even in pads yet. And offensive tackle Jeff Baca was carted off the field after suffering an ankle injury, an all-too-familiar scene at Spaulding Field. Baca, expected to be a starter, had a player land on his left ankle during an 11-on-11 drill. He was schedule to undergo X-rays, but no results were available. "Hopefully, we'll get good news and it won't be an extensive process to get back," Coach Rick Neuheisel said.
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April 27, 2013 | By Chris Foster
End of an era. UCLA guard Jeff Baca was drafted in the sixth round by the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday. He is the first UCLA offensive lineman selected by an NFL team this century. Tackle Kris Farris was taken in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1999. Baca and UCLA teammate Jeff Locke were drafted by the Vikings. UCLA's Datone Jones and Johnathan Franklin were drafted by the Green Bay Packers. Make the goodbyes short. You're now mortal enemies. Vikings and Packers are one of the NFL's most intense rivalries.
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SPORTS
April 1, 2011 | By Chris Foster
Offensive tackle Jeff Baca had surgery Thursday night after suffering a broken ankle in practice and will be lost to the UCLA football team for an indefinite period. Baca, injured during an 11-on-11 drill, was expected to be a starter this season. Stan Hasiak and Connor Bradford filled in at Baca's spot during the remainder of practice Thursday. UCLA officials said they did not know whether Baca, a junior, would return for fall camp in August. Hasiak, who will be a sophomore, played three games in 2009 but was also suspended twice.
SPORTS
September 24, 2012 | By Chris Foster, Los Angeles Times
UCLA guard Jeff Baca is expected to return to practice this week after missing the last two games with what was called a head injury. Baca was held out against Oregon State at the last minute Saturday. He has been suffering from headaches the last two weeks but was cleared to practice this week after undergoing tests Sunday. Coach Jim Mora was coy, saying only: "We'll get a clearer picture on his future [Monday]. " Mora said that "we don't want to make excuses," but Baca's absence from the lineup did play a role in the Bruins' struggles on the ground against the Beavers.
SPORTS
April 2, 2011 | By Baxter Holmes
UCLA's football players bounded into a circle early Saturday afternoon and soon began shouting, jumping and fist pumping like barbarians. Inside that circle, a few at a time slammed into each other in a series of loud collisions as the result of the Oklahoma drill, which the Bruins used to mark the first day of spring practice in pads. But the old-school, mano a mano setup may be something the Bruins should hold off on since the injury bug took more than a nibble out of the team's roster last season.
SPORTS
September 6, 2011 | By Chris Foster
UCLA center Kai Maiava has been suspended for the San Jose State game after testing positive for marijuana, according to people in the program who were not authorized to speak on the matter. Under UCLA's drug policy, an athlete is suspended for the next athletic contest after testing positive for a third time. The fourth positive test results in "an immediate suspension from participation in athletics" and a loss of scholarship, according to the policy. Last season, four UCLA players were suspended for a game after testing positive for marijuana a third time.
SPORTS
September 27, 2008 | Chris Foster, Times Staff Writer
Jeff Baca will trot onto the field today as UCLA's starting left tackle, the first time the Bruins have started a true freshman on the offensive line since Shannon Tevaga in 2004. Baca, who this time last year was playing for Mission Viejo High, will be asked to help improve a running game that ranks 117th out of 119 major-college teams, as well as protect quarterback Kevin Craft's blind side. That's a big order for anyone, even if he's 6 feet 4, 280 pounds. But Baca knows it's an honor.
SPORTS
April 20, 2010 | By Chris Foster
UCLA guard Jeff Baca looked up and saw tailback Derrick Coleman's backside 20 yards down the field during a live scrimmage during Tuesday's practice. "That was awesome," Baca said. "You make a block, look up and see your tailback in front of you, then one guy misses him, and he's gone. That's encouraging." Coleman's 39-yard touchdown run is why the Bruins have made the change to the "pistol" offense this spring. UCLA averaged a woeful 3.5 yards a carry a year ago, underscoring the need for a consistent running game.
SPORTS
September 16, 2008 | Chris Foster, Times Staff Writer
Coach Rick Neuheisel, towel wrapped around his waist, was making through the UCLA locker room, easy pickings for an emperor-has-no-clothes reference after UCLA was dismantled Saturday by Brigham Young, 59-0. But he was right back at work. Spotting linebacker Akeem Ayers, head down at his locker, Neuheisel patted him on the back and said, "It's one game. We're 1-1. If we win next week, we're 2-1, right?" Ayers answered, "Yes." Not good enough. Neuheisel shot back, "You can't just say, 'yes,' you have to mean it."
SPORTS
August 18, 2010 | By Chris Foster
UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince threw a short pass during an 11-on-11 drill Wednesday morning. His back hurt. Prince went through a second practice, throwing lightly five minutes on the sidelines. His back hurt. Prince finished practice and said that his back hurt. This is the waiting game Prince, Coach Rick Neuheisel and the UCLA trainers are playing. The strained oblique muscle on Prince's left side continues to be a thorn in the Bruins' side.
SPORTS
September 6, 2012 | By Chris Foster
UCLA defensive end Ellis McCarthy could soon cast a large shadow over opposing offenses. Of course, McCarthy generally casts a large shadow. But the 6-foot-5, 330-pound human solar eclipse is only going to grow more problematic for offensive coordinators. McCarthy was a part of nine plays in the Bruins' 49-24 victory over Rice. He had two tackles, including a sack. Humble numbers, but a beginning. "I don't know where his ceiling is," UCLA Coach Jim Mora said. A hint might come against 16th-ranked Nebraska at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.
SPORTS
August 25, 2012 | By Chris Foster
UCLA freshman defensive end Ellis McCarthy saw opportunity as he watched from the sidelines rehabilitating his left knee the past three weeks. "I knew if I kept working hard to get out on the field, I could actually play this year," McCarthy said. "I came here planning to play. " He got on the field Saturday and should play this year. When that will be remains the question. The Bruins weren't in pads and McCarthy did only a handful of reps at left defensive end. But it did cause a stir among defensive players, who were cheering him on, and left offensive players a bit in awe. "That's a big dude," offensive lineman Jeff Baca said.
SPORTS
August 14, 2012 | By Chris Foster
Torian White could make the job of UCLA offensive line coach Adrian Klemm a little bit easier. If he can claim the Bruins' right tackle spot, it would solve two areas of concern: That position and also one of the guard spots, because it would allow senior Jeff Baca to stay there instead of moving over to tackle. "It would be huge," Klemm said, adding that White, a 6-foot-5, 285-pound redshirt freshman, "still has a lot of work to do. " White is a little behind because when camp started he was unavailable while undergoing medical tests prompted by chest pains.
SPORTS
April 26, 2012 | By Chris Foster
UCLA was working on goal-line plays during practice Thursday when, suddenly, the wrong guy was in the backfield. Nose tackle Brandon Willis shed a block, then wrapped up running back Johnathan Franklin as he got the handoff. "He's an anvil, he's a piece of metal in there," defensive line coach Angus McClure said. "He's hard to move. " Willis is done moving. He crisscrossed the nation three times the last two years, from North Carolina to UCLA and UCLA to North Carolina.
SPORTS
December 21, 2011 | By Chris Foster
UCLA Coach Jim Mora was direct and stern about the Bruins' tradition of going over the wall to skip out on practice. "It's completely unacceptable and will not be part of the program going forward," Mora said of Tuesday's action, a tradition that dates to 1980. "It's a privilege, not a right, to play football for the UCLA Bruins. With the commitment you make when you sign on here comes a commitment to do what is asked of you. " Mora said he and Athletic Director Dan Guerrero discussed such issues during the interview process.
SPORTS
December 4, 2011 | By Chris Foster
It was a busy day around UCLA on Sunday. Houston's Kevin Sumlin was no longer a candidate to replace Rick Neuheisel as the Bruins' coach, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to speak publicly on the matter. Athletic Director Dan Guerrero was waiting to hear from Miami Coach Al Golden, though that option was looking less likely by late Sunday, another person familiar with the search said. The same person, also unauthorized to speak publicly about the search, said UCLA officials are now considering former Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks coach Jim Mora Jr. Meanwhile, the Bruins were picked to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.
SPORTS
August 15, 2009 | Chris Foster
There was actually offense in the UCLA offense Friday, the first day the team was in full pads. On the fourth play of the first 11-on-11 scrimmage, the offensive line opened up a hole that you could drive a truck through and tailback Derrick Coleman blew through it on his way to a long touchdown run. This was just one day, and defensive tackle Brian Price said, "We'll come out tomorrow with a vengeance." But Friday the offensive line did what it could not do a year ago -- open holes and pass-protect.
SPORTS
December 27, 2009 | By Chris Foster
UCLA will send out an offensive line with plenty of experience Tuesday in the EagleBank Bowl. Whether that's a good thing is to be seen when the Bruins play Temple. Four of the five linemen got considerable playing time in 2008, with 32 starts among them before this season. That training, though, came during a 4-8 season in which the Bruins couldn't run the ball consistently -- but did consistently leave their quarterback fleeing for life and limb. "They're who we have and they're excited about playing," Coach Rick Neuheisel said.
SPORTS
September 6, 2011 | By Chris Foster
UCLA center Kai Maiava has been suspended for the San Jose State game after testing positive for marijuana, according to people in the program who were not authorized to speak on the matter. Under UCLA's drug policy, an athlete is suspended for the next athletic contest after testing positive for a third time. The fourth positive test results in "an immediate suspension from participation in athletics" and a loss of scholarship, according to the policy. Last season, four UCLA players were suspended for a game after testing positive for marijuana a third time.
SPORTS
September 5, 2011 | By Chris Foster
Kip Smith is going to be given every chance to be UCLA's kicker … unless someone else is better. Coach Rick Neuheisel is adamant that "we've got to keep working with him to get him to trust himself. " Yet how much trust Neuheisel will extend to Smith will depend on whether someone else— perhaps punter Jeff Locke — kicks better this week. "That will be part of a long conversation with Kip in terms on how we go forward," Neuheisel said. "We want him to win the job. " Whether he can remains to be seen.
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