August 10, 2009 |
As UCLA's football team opens official practice today in preparation for its Sept. 5 opener against San Diego State at the Rose Bowl, here's a look at the positions where there is the most -- and least -- competition for playing time: Jobs open Offensive line: The only thing more in need of reshaping is the U.S. auto industry. Center Kai Maiava has a role. Everyone else has to audition -- with good reason. Last season, the Bruins couldn't run block or pass block. Runners averaged 2.6 yards a carry, and quarterbacks were sacked 35 times.
September 18, 2009 |
UCLA's defense stopped San Diego State on its first drive -- twice. The Aztecs still took a 7-0 lead in the season opener. The Bruins handled Tennessee on its first drive -- twice. The Volunteers still tied the score, 3-3, last Saturday. That is a disturbing trend for defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough . UCLA penalties have provided too many do-overs early in games. "Dumb penalties will kill you," Bullough said. He said that message has been delivered repeatedly this week heading into Saturday's game against Kansas State.
September 19, 2009 |
Whomever is UCLA's quarterback tonight, he will have at least one advantage -- the guys who will be on the field while the offense is standing on the sidelines. The Bruins' offense will be guided by either freshman Richard Brehaut or senior Kevin Craft , and that has the defense even more focused. Or so goes the talk heading into the game against Kansas State at the Rose Bowl. "We don't know what to expect," linebacker Reggie Carter said. "All we know is it will either be a guy making his first start this season or a guy making the first start of his career.
September 20, 2009 |
There is a 3-0 college football team in Los Angeles. It's just a little farther west of the 110 Freeway for a change. UCLA kept its record clean with a performance that was far from pristine in a 23-9 victory over Kansas State at the Rose Bowl on Saturday night. There is a quarterback who can wake up in a good mood this morning. But he's nowhere near the Aaron Corp residence. Kevin Craft got his shot at redemption, subbing for starter Kevin Prince. He may not have wowed fans, and his play did produce some boos in the third quarter, but he also tossed a 51-yard touchdown pass to Terrence Austin to ice the game.
August 24, 2010 |
The most re-watched, talked about, analyzed play of UCLA's 2009 football season was when linebacker Akeem Ayers swooped in on Oregon quarterback Nate Costa, picking the ball out of mid-air and toeing the line at the back of the Rose Bowl end zone. The touchdown had a long highlight-reel shelf life on television. Work in the Bruins' film room came to a standstill when tape of that game was reviewed. Students on campus still ask Ayers to go through the play-second-by-second. But here's the truth: "I was supposed to drop into coverage," Ayers says, smiling.
December 15, 2009 |
UCLA's EagleBank Bowl game preparations were interrupted Tuesday . . . by the players. The Bruins resurrected the most visible of UCLA football traditions after finishing stretching exercises. Coach Rick Neuheisel called his team into a huddle, exhorted them by barking, "Let's have a great effort today!" then watched as the players bolted over the practice field wall and took off, ending practice. The tradition is known as "Wall Day," an event Neuheisel thought he had ended last spring.
November 8, 2009 |
The cast of characters showing a little character had two leading men. The senior quarterback who conjures up horrific memories of bad passes . . . interceptions . . . defensive backs celebrating in the end zone . . . from a last season UCLA fans would love to forget. The freshman cornerback who is so skinny teammates would like to send him back to the table for seconds . . . and thirds . . . and maybe slip in a midnight snack or two. Kevin Craft, poster boy for a 4-8 season in 2008, came off the bench to put UCLA back in the win column.
December 28, 2009 |
UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter is experiencing freedom on the football field for the first time in two weeks. Carter will play without a brace on his left knee against Temple in the EagleBank Bowl on Tuesday. He sprained a ligament against Oregon on Oct. 10 and, although he did not sit out a game, the injury slowed him considerably, especially with the bulky brace. "I feel healthy for the first time in a while," said Carter, who will play his final game for UCLA. "I've had that brace for seven or eight weeks.
April 15, 2010 |
Glenn Love is new to the whole linebacker thing, courtesy of the coaches, who moved the former strong safety closer to the line this spring. But having linebacker Akeem Ayers next to him expedites the process, since Ayers learned under former UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter . "I can be the one to help him out a lot," said Ayers, who, with free safety Rahim Moore , was named on Thursday to the 2010 Lott Trophy watch list....
September 1, 2009 |
UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter sits in front of his locker on game day, his ears filling with lyrics and his eyes filling with tears. His teammates see the intensity build. I gotta thank the Lord that you made me There are no words that can express how I feel Ya never kept a secret, always stayed real And I appreciate how ya raised me And all the extra love that you gave me Carter tries to live every day as he was taught by his mother, but game days are when the Tupac Shakur song "Dear Mama" really lights a fuse.