THE BRUINS ARE NOW 16-0 UNDER JIM MORA WHEN LEADING AT HALFTIME.*
Honestly, great game and a nice coda to what was truly the strongest season of UCLA football I’ve seen. Better than McNown/Toledo, better than the Olson, the other Olson, Paus, Cowan or other ‘eras.’ Suffice it to say it hasn’t been the greatest run since ’98 but there were some moments.
Thing is, this is no ‘moment.’ Mora really did stamp this program and elevate it back to where it was at least during my time as a student. The enthusiasm, toughness, connectivity with his players – it’s all very endearing and inspirational, and the players love to play for him. More importantly, they’re awesome. AND fun to watch.
I saying yesterday that whether the Bruins are on offense or defense, I don’t want to get up to leave because there is so much excitement with that vast talent base. Speed, strength, attitude – are these really the Gutty Little Bruins? No, they’re not. And if Hundley comes back we’re literally a top five team next year with two(!) Heisman contenders.
It’s a ton of fun, and it’s because of Mora. Peterson didn’t want the job, Sumlin didn’t need it, Al Golden, for chrissakes, turned it down. So our fourth choice, an NFL retread and the son of an NFL caricature (playoffs?!?!) ended up being the best man for the job. And damn I love watching his teams play. I’m SO very excited for next year, and actually have genuine confidence that the Bruins are building something for the first time under my ‘watch.’
Hell yeah. Go Bruins.
*(From Gary Klein’s article in LAT today (print), though for some reason I can only find Hiserman’s recap online (which also includes that same stat in a real-time ‘blog’ when prior to conclusion of game
UCLA Bruins NFL Week One. Thank you @uclaathletics.
For Arizona, cornerback Matt Ware had two solo tackles in a 17-13 win over St. Louis.
For Chicago, running back Kahlil Bell was inactive.
For Cleveland, defensive tackle Kenyon Coleman made four tackles.
For Denver, wide receiver Matt Willis had a special teams tackle assist.
For Detroit, fullback Spencer Havner made one special teams tackle.
For Green Bay, linebacker Brandon Chillar tied for the team lead with seven tackles in a 27-20 win over Philadelphia.
For Jacksonville, tight end Marcedes Lewis made touchdown receptions of 21 and 10 yards in a 17-14 victory. Maurice Jones-Drew rushed for 98 yards on 23 attempts and made three receptions for 15 yards, giving him 113 all-purpose yards.
For Minnesota, punter Chris Kluwe averaged 43.3 yards on seven kicks with two inside the 20-yard line. Three were returned for a total of two yards.
For New England, Matt Slater made two special teams tackles (one solo, one assist).
For Tampa Bay, rookie defensive tackle Brian Price made two solo tackles in a 17-14 win.
For Tennessee, rookie cornerback Alterraun Verner made two special teams tackles in a 38-13 win. Defensive end Dave Ball started and made three tackles and broke up two passes.
For Washington, safety Chris Horton had one special teams tackle in the Redskin win. Tight end Logan Paulsen was inactive.
Linebacker/special teams standout Brendon Ayenbadejo (Baltimore) and safety Jarrad Page (Kansas City) play tonihhyt.
USC made the biggest splash at the end — landing a 330-pound cannonball named Seantrel Henderson, to be exact — but the battle for LA proved to be the most interesting subplot on National Signing Day. Lane Kiffin closed strong at USC, but his crosstown rival, UCLA’s Rick Neuheisel, more than held his own.
Neuheisel got his own out-of-state blue-chipper in Portland, Ore., defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa, and the Bruins won two head-to-head matchups with the Trojans. They signed Fontana, Calif., linebacker Josh Shirley and La Canada, Calif., safety Deitrich Riley, both of whom were USC targets. The Trojans struck back, though, signing Ventura, Calif., offensive lineman Giovanni Di Poalo, who was headed either to Troy or Westwood.
After Henderson signed with the Trojans, Rivals.com ranked USC’s class No. 2 in the nation and UCLA’s class No. 8. Though the Trojans won that round, the Bruins made up a ton of ground. Plus, thanks to the Twitter foibles of USC signee Markeith Ambles, some enterprising UCLA student is going to make a fortune selling “Fight On, Trogans” T-shirts.
More great work by Uncle Rick and the UCLA Coaching/Recruiting Staff:
Tevin McDonald, a defensive back from Fresno Edison, has signed a letter of intent with UCLA. McDonald’s dad, Tim, played at USC.
Fight On, Trojan fans. . .first Sanchez, then Pete, now the defections are coming from within the family?
Alterraun Verner/CB/UCLA: Verner was the best looking defensive back of the week and looked very natural on the field. He regularly shut down opponents every day and displayed top ball skills. His 40 time at the combine will be critical, but many scouts already grade Verner as a top-60 selection based on his play this week.
Now of course Gerhart has little-to-no-chance of victory, especially being out here on the West Coast. . .I won’t even get into the East Coast Bias. Same applies to Masoli, who wasn’t invited to the ceremony; all it took was one (albeit, horrible) game to start the season (Lagerrette Blount, anybody?) to remove him from having a shot at the trophy. . .and McCoy should have weighed in at #2 or #3 but to me, that clock-management at the end of the Nebraska game was unfathomable and unbecoming of a Heisman candidate.
I will say, the voting is going to be exciting this year with the wide-open field of candidates, so don’t be surprised if Suh (or even Tebow?!) wins the trophy just due to being named on so many ballots. Will be very interesting, much like this guy:
“you guys really think I want to coach here?”
and you really gotta read the comments by this guy, who bytheway has a legitimate argument for being the ‘most slept on’ Heisman candidate in eons.
Sticking with College Football, looks like UCLA’s season could keep getting better.
is the battle cry, as a Navy victory secures the Bruins a berth in the Eagle Bank Bowl, and yet another leg up on Pete Carroll’s rapidly declining Trojan Dynasty.
Congratulations to local hero Malcolm Smith of Oaks Christian in Westlake Village for winning the Gatorade National Football Player of the Year award. The touching part of the story is that Joe Mauer actually walked into his classroom to present the award, causing Smith to shed a tear.
Lastly, a belated shout to the L.A. Kings – one point out of first place after another rousing victory last night, this one in an eight-round shootout. My man Jason Sapir has been talking since last year about the Kings’ resurgence as an organization and it looks like Wayne Simmonds, Anze Kopitar, Jonathan Quick, Dustin Brown, et al, are really moving the team forward faster than initially anticipated.
That’s it fiends – have a great weekend.
Congrats to the mighty UCLA Bruins and their steel-legged kicker, Kai Forbath, winner of the 2009 Lou Groza Award for best Kicker in the nation. . .following in the footsteps of Justin Medlock, Chris Sailer, John Lee & Bjorn Merten, UCLA continues its tradition of sending great placekickers to the NFL. All of Sherman Oaks (Notre Dame HS) is proud, I suppose.