January 9, 2012 |
This is not the UCLA football program Xavier Su'a-Filo left. The offensive tackle went off to his Mormon mission in 2009, leaving behind a team that finished with a 7-6 record after winning the EagleBank Bowl. Coach Rick Neuheisel appeared to have the program pointed in the right direction. Su'a-Filo returned to find Neuheisel fired and the future in the hands of Coach Jim Mora , who met with the team on the first day of classes Monday. "It's a little sad," said Su'a-Filo, who started 13 games as a freshman in 2009.
November 15, 2010 |
Wide receiver Nelson Rosario, who was counted on to be a playmaker for UCLA, has spent the last month hobbling around with a high ankle sprain. Rosario seemed to be closer to full strength during practice Monday, snagging a few passes and looking more like the receiver UCLA hoped to have. "The pain isn't gone all the way, but it's good enough to run," Rosario said. "Being pain-free the rest of the season is not going to happen. It's football. As long as I don't roll it again, I'll be fine.
October 26, 2011 |
UCLA has shown significant improvement in at least one area this week — the scout teams. Five of the six players suspended for their part in a brawl against Arizona on Oct. 20 were put to work helping the Bruins get ready for California on Saturday. Receivers Taylor Embree , Shaquelle Evans and Ricky Marvray were particularly useful, as the Bears have a quality group of receivers, including sophomore Keenan Allen . Allen averages 129.4 receiving yards per game, tops in the nation.
August 10, 2011 |
UCLA had its first significant injury of the season, as F-back Damien Thigpen suffered a pulled hamstring Wednesday. Thigpen was injured while running a deep pass route. Coach Rick Neuheisel was unsure how long he would be out, though it could be weeks. The injury leaves Anthony Barr as the team's only F-back in the "pistol" offense. Neuheisel wasn't ready to shuffle players around to shore up the position just yet. "We've got a lot of skilled athletes, so we'll figure out how to go about it," Neuheisel said.
December 11, 2011 |
UCLA resumed football practice Sunday, with new Coach Jim L. Mora expected to be in Westwood on Monday. There were still things to settle. Mike Johnson, the Bruins' interim coach, has been contacted by Akron, his alma mater, about the Zips' head coaching position. Johnson said he also will meet with Mora about staying on. Jim Mastro, run-game coordinator, missed practice. He was in Pullman, Wash., preparing to join the Washington State staff. UCLA players, meanwhile, broke a sweat in the first day of preparation to play Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl, knowing they had a successor for Rick Neuheisel, who was fired Nov. 28. "The last couple weeks have been weird," quarterback Kevin Prince said.
September 26, 2011 |
Wide receiver Josh Smith showed once again that UCLA has playmakers. Smith hauled in a 62-yard reception on the Bruins' first touchdown drive against Oregon State on Saturday. He finished with two receptions for 76 yards. "I'm the most comfortable guy with the ball in my hands," Smith said. "I try to show the coaches that in practice. I try to let them know I have even more explosiveness in games. " Yet those were Smith's first two receptions of the season, an example of how the Bruins' "pistol" offense often holsters weapons.
November 23, 2011 |
They all came to see Matt Barkley at Santa Ana Mater Dei. Andrew Abbott , his teammate, would see recruiters from big-time college programs every day during visit periods. Few gave the smallish defensive back/receiver much of a look. "None of them were interested in me," said Abbott, a junior cornerback at UCLA. "It was a little annoying they wouldn't talk to me when I knew I was good enough to play. " Abbott has proved that and will once again be on the field with his friend Barkley, USC's quarterback, Saturday at the Coliseum.
November 10, 2011 |
Secondary issues cropped up for UCLA Thursday. Coach Rick Neuheisel confirmed Thursday that cornerback Aaron Hester was suspended for the first half against Utah Saturday. Hester missed practice Thursday because of a sprained ankle. Safety Tony Dye , on the other hand, looks ready to return after missing the last five weeks because of a neck injury. Hester was reprimanded by the Pac-12 Conference for comments about referees after the Arizona State game last Saturday.
November 22, 2011 |
The most effective target in UCLA's passing game the last two weeks has been Joseph Fauria , the 6-foot-8 tight end. Quarterback Kevin Prince has 27 completions in those games, with nine going to Fauria. The combination hooked up twice for touchdowns against Colorado last Saturday — the first touchdown passes Prince has thrown to Fauria since they were teammates at Encino Crespi High. "We figured it out the other day, it was our junior year," said Fauria, whose six touchdown receptions are the most by a UCLA player since Marcedes Lewis in 2005.
December 12, 2011 |
UCLA players won't have to go hungry before playing in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. UCLA officials relented Sunday evening after Bruins football players expressed anger over living expense checks being withheld from those who had not completed three workouts and turned in an academic exit form during finals week. But some players were clearly still puzzled by the situation Monday. "We've got bills and stuff and we didn't get it so everybody was upset," center Kai Maiava said.