Monday, March 31, 2008

The Final Four in Football

The final four this year has a lot of great teams with some great tradition. There is no doubt that North Carolina, Kansas, and UCLA are some of the most storied programs in NCAA men's basketball. Memphis has also proven to be a powerhouse team in recent years and their record over the last three seasons is simply amazing.

But how do these programs stack up in football? I thought it would be interesting to compare each school's respective history and success on the gridiron and see how these "basketball schools" make out. The comparison will start at 1919, the year when UCLA (the youngest of the four schools) started competing in the sport.


Overall record: 389-472-68 (45%)
Conference Championships: 4
National Championships: 0


Overall record: 411-421-31 (49%)
Conference Championships: 4
National Championships: 0

North Carolina

Overall record: 503-408-33 (57%)
Conference Championships: 9
National Championships: 0


Overall record: 527-358-37 (59%)
Conference Championships: 18
National Championships: 1

Not only do the Bruins have the best winning percentage, but UCLA has more conference championships and national championships than the other three teams combined! Basketball school indeed...

Who to Watch this Spring

Amidst all the madness that is college basketball, you may have forgotten that spring practice begins this Thursday. This is always an interesting time for college football teams. Last season's seniors are gone and the incoming freshman have yet to enroll. That leaves some players with a chance to step-up and stand-out before things really get serious in the fall.

Here is my list of players to watch this April. None of them played much, if at all, last season. If they impress the coaches in the next few weeks, however, you could see them on the field come September:

Kevin Craft (QB). Anytime you get a new candidate at quarterback, he is going to spark a lot of interest from the fans. Especially at UCLA, where our QB play has been a real sore spot in the offense. It was originally announced that Craft wouldn't be able to participate in drills and scrimmages this spring because of NCAA transfer rules. But it looks like that all got ironed out and he'll be throwing around the pig skin this April. I'm not sure if Craft will really push Olson or Cowan for the starting spot. He wasn't that highly recruited out of high school or junior college but some observers think he's a good prospect. He played some during his time at SDSU and Mt. San Antonio (his Dad, Tom Craft, was the head coach at both schools), so he should hit the ground running with Chow's offense at UCLA. How quickly he picks up the scheme compared to the incumbents and how quickly he gels with his new team will go a long way toward determining if Craft is a legit contender for playing time in '08.

Courtney Viney (CB). UCLA has a lot to replace in the secondary. Alteraun Verner is the only returning corner who started last season. With a lot of open spots, Courtney Vinney has an opportunity to step-up and claim one for himself. He impressed the bleacher bums with his play on the scout team last season. He was named the Defensive Scout Team Player of the Year and along with those honors come some big expectations for 2008. He'll still have to fight for playing time with Michael Norris and some of the incoming freshman this fall. If he has a big spring then it could be his position to lose.

Glen Love (FS). Glen Love spent a good chunk of last season recovering from a shoulder injury he sustained in high school. Now the highly regarded red-shirt freshman is ready to compete for playing time at free safety. This is a position that's wide open and it likely won't get settled until sometime in the fall. Love is tall and big, standing tall at 6'4" and weighing close to 210 lbs. He has the physical skills to be a great safety but he'll have to battle for time with junior Aaron Ware.

Akeem Ayers (LB). Linebacker is another position with some slots to fill. Akeem Ayers looks to be one of the leading contenders for the job. He's a very athletic guy and he has a good frame for this position. He's making the move from defensive end into the linebacker spot and he could really excel here. Josh Edwards is hurt and that gives Ayers a chance to play with the first team this spring.

Steve Sloan (LB). I don't know if Sloan will overtake Reggie Carter for the starting spot middle linebacker role, but the Bruins really could use some depth at this position. I'm sure coach Howard is ready to start grooming someone to take over the position once Carter graduates after the 2009 season. Patrick Larimore is coming in this fall and the two will likely jokey for the Mike spot into the future.

Raymond Carter (RB). Big things were expected of Cater in the fall of 2007. All of those expectations came to a sudden halt when he tore his ACL on the second day of camp. Raymond likely won't participate in contact drills this spring. He hasn't completely recovered from knee surgery but assessing how well he has progressed will be important. He is expected to be 100% by fall camp, which will be just in time for him to fight for playing time against the talented freshman.

Sonny Tevaga (OG). It seems like the starting spots at offensive tackle and center are set with Kia, Lanis and Reed back. But the offensive guard spot is up in the air. It will be interesting to see if Sonny Tevaga, the younger brother of All PAC-10 guard Shannon Tevaga, can follow in his brother's footsteps. He's listed behind Nick Ekbatani on the depth chart, but Nick has been bumped from the starting spot a number of times through out his career. Tevaga could really push him for playing time.

Darius Savage (OG). He's in a similar boat. With the OG spot wide open, the big 335 lb Savage definitely has the size for the position. He's a strong guy with great upper body strength from competing in track and field. I like him on the o-line and I think the move was a good one from the defensive tackle spot. It seems like he was in the dog house with Dorrell's staff, so with a fresh start this might be his time to really shine.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

2008 Tentative Spring Depth Chart

So the first depth chart is out for the Spring. It is always fun to see these because it gives you a peek into what the coaching staff is thinking about for next season. Everything is tentative, preliminary, blah, blah, blah. But still. Good stuff.

The first thing that jumped right out at me was Darius Savage being listed as the starter at offensive guard. Wow. He was still playing defensive tackle last season on the scout team. That's a huge jump. Obviously coach Palcic sees something he likes in Savage.

Redshirt freshman, Nate Chandler, is listed as the backup TE. It will be interesting to watch that position as Ryan Moya returns from a hiatus away from the team. Steve Sloan and Akeem Ayers are each listed second at middle and weak-side linebacker respectively. Both are also red-shirt freshman and highly ranked coming out of high school. Obviously the coaches see a lot of potential in this trio of young players.

Osaar Rasshan is still listed at QB, but I think he'll be moved to receiver before the fall. The tailback spot will also see some shuffling. With Knox, Dean, Coleman enrolling this fall and Carter and Bell still recovering from injury, this position is wide open.

The only other thing that stood out in the depth chart was Michael Norris fielding kick-off returns. I know he did a bit of that last season along with Verner. I could also see one of the true freshman coming in this Fall getting a crack at that job.


SE 19 Dominique Johnson (6-3, 208, So.**) (3)
10 Gavin Ketchum (6-5, 209, Jr.**)
2 Ryan Graves (6-1, 167, Sr.**)
82 Taylor Embree (6-4, 195, Fr.)
35 David Martini (6-1, 197, Fr.**)^

LT 73 Micah Kia (6-6, 298, Jr.) (8)
72 Sean Sheller (6-5, 282, So.**)

LG 77 Darius Savage (6-4, 338, So.**)
69 Brandon Bennett (6-4, 319, So.**)
50 Aaron Meyer (6-1, 296, Sr.**)

C 58 Micah Reed (6-4, 316, Sr.**) (8 at OG)
66 Scott Glicksberg (6-4, 269, Sr.**) (1 at TE)
61 Andy Keane (6-2, 284, So.**)

RG 75 Nick Ekbatani (6-4, 290, Jr.**)
55 Sonny Tevaga (6-3, 337, So.**)
57 Jake Dean (6-4, 286, So.**)

RT 78 Aleksey Lanis (6-5, 316, Jr.**) (6)
65 Mike Harris (6-5, 311, Fr.**)

TE 86 Logan Paulsen (6-6, 252, Sr.) (13)
89 Nate Chandler (6-3, 265, Fr.**)
15 Ryan Moya (6-4, 229, Jr.**)
83 Adam Heater (6-5, 246, Jr.**)
92 Travis Martin (6-3, 242, Sr.**)^
81 Glenn Rauscher (6-3, 223, Fr.**)^

QB 7 Ben Olson (6-4, 235, Sr.**) (5) OR
12 Pat Cowan (6-5, 218, Sr.**) (5)
11 Osaar Rasshan (6-4, 214, Jr.**) (3)
8 Chris Forcier (6-3, 185, Fr.**)
3 Kevin Craft (6-5, 210, Jr.**)

FB 31 Trevor Theriot (6-0, 233, Jr.**) (6)
45 Tobi Umodu (6-0, 235, So.**)
41 Dylan Rush (6-4, 238, So.**)

TB 36 Kahlil Bell (6-0, 206, Sr.) (5) #
20 Raymond Carter (5-11, 202, Fr.**)
42 Chane Moline (6-1, 236, Jr.) (1)
24 Christian Ramirez (6-3, 211, Jr.)
21 Craig Sheppard (6-1, 193, Jr.**)^
24 Ryen Carew (5-10, 214, Jr.**)^
23 Justin Fareed (5-10, 199, So.**)^

FL 9 Marcus Everett (6-1, 212, Sr.**) (1)
4 Terrence Austin (5-10, 160, Jr.)
6 Jamil Turner (6-1, 204, Jr.**)
21 Ben Bruneau (6-0, 204, Fr.**)^


LE 55 Korey Bosworth (6-1, 235, Jr.**) (3)
47 Chinonso Anyanwu (6-4, 216, Jr.**)

DT 92 Brian Price (6-1, 297, So.) (5)
98 Jeff Miller (6-5, 259, So.**)
52 Jess Ward (6-4, 280, Jr.**)# (6)
51 Nathaniel Skaggs (6-4, 300, Sr.**)

DT 93 Brigham Harwell (6-2, 292, Sr.**) (2)
90 Jerzy Siewierski (6-2, 285, Jr.)
50 Chase Moline (6-2, 252, Sr.)

RE 56 Tom Blake (6-4, 259, Sr.**) (8)
91 Reginald Stokes (6-3, 250, So.**)
85 David Carter (6-5, 257, So.**)
99 Justin Edison (6-3, 244, Fr.**)

SLB 54 Kyle Bosworth (6-1, 222, Sr.) (7)
12 John Hale (6-4, 220, Sr.)
48 Mike Schmitt (6-0, 224, So.**)

MLB 51 Reggie Carter (6-1, 221, Jr.**) (8)
43 Steve Sloan (6-3, 225, Fr.**)
57 Justin Woolbright (6-1, 217, Fr.**)^
59 Michael Lutu (6-1, 233, So.**)^

WLB 53 Joshua Edwards (6-1, 232, Sr.**)
40 Akeem Ayers (6-2, 231, Fr.**)
8 Shawn Oatis (6-0, 225, Jr.**)

LC 22 Michael Norris (5-9, 177, Sr.**) (1)
7 Courtney Viney (5-8, 153, Fr.**)

SS 25 Bret Lockett (6-2, 204, Sr.) (1)
35 Matt Culver (6-2, 201, Sr.**)^
31 Garrett Rubio (5-9, 186, So.**)^

FS 27 Aaron Ware (6-0, 193, Jr.**)
20 Glenn Love (6-4, 207, Fr.**)
32 Michael Ciaccio (6-0, 173, So.**)^
26 Mike Angelo (6-1, 191, Jr.**)^

RC 1 Alterraun Verner (5-11, 176, Jr.) (11)
30 Chris Meadows (5-11, 175, Sr.**)^


PK 15 Kai Forbath (6-0, 197, So.**) (13)
KO 37 Jimmy Rotstein (5-11, 174, Jr.**)^ (13)
P 17 Aaron Perez (6-4, 229, Sr.**) (13)
LS 52 Christian Yount (6-1, 250, So.) (13)
H 17 Aaron Perez (6-4, 229, Sr.**)
PR 4 Terrence Austin (5-10, 160, Jr.)
1 Alterraun Verner (5-11, 176, Jr.)
KOR 22 Michael Norris (5-9, 180, Sr.**)

**indicates utilized redshirt year
^ indicates non-scholarship player
( ) indicates number of games started in 2007
# indicates injured and will not participate in Spring

Monday, March 24, 2008

Keep It Simple Stupid

Is it just me, or is it still kind of hard to believe that Norm Chow is really our offensive coordinator for next season? With spring practice approaching and word leaking out about the new play book, I have to say it is a pretty exciting time to be a UCLA football fan. I thought I would take a moment and talk about the thing that excites me the most about Chow and his offensive philosophy: Simplicity.

Much was made of how complicated Karl Dorrell's WCO was for our players to learn. Drew Olson struggled for 3 seasons before finally putting it all together his senior year. None of the other quarterbacks came even close to being productive passers in the WCO. It was said that Dorrell's offense wasn't suited for the college game; the players didn't have the time nor experience to learn it properly. If the results on the field are any indication then his critics were right.

So along comes Norm Chow and Rick Neuheisel. Both have had great success at the collegiate level. Chow in particular has achieved almost legendary status for developing great offenses and great quarterbacks. The hallmark of his offensive philosophy is that it is simple; so simple that the players can learn it in a couple of days. Here is a quote from Chow about his offense at USC:

Because of the nature of our business, we get to sit in an office and spend time drawing up plays on the chalkboard. A lot of plays may look good in a play book, but is it going to help our team?

With that in mind, at USC on the drop back passing game, we will only have nine passes. We call it our 60 Series. We have a pass for each of the 60 numbers. We may call the play 65 for example. This means the lineman know it is basic 60 cup protection. The 5 is the pass pattern for that play.

Everyone has to remember the individual pass routes that make up that pattern. We have nine basic pass patterns. We teach four in one day and five the next day at the start of camp. That is all we have. I feel very strongly about this. We are going to keep it as simple as possible so out kids can go out on the field confident that we are going to make the play and we are going to know what we are doing. The mistake that coaches make is to make it too complicated. It is a football game and not a physics class.
It sounds like, from what the Bruin players are saying, that Norm has kept that same philosophy in mind when developing the offense for UCLA.
In talking with UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow and several of the players, one thing I keep hearing is how much thinner the playbook will be. Compared to the old playbook, the new playbook will be more like a pamphlet, one player said. That should also factor into practices, with the theory being why practice 200 plays in a week when you only run 75 in a game. Simplicity is the key to the offense, Chow said.
Yes, putting it another way, let's execute a few plays very well instead of a lot of plays poorly. Coach Dorrell always complained that execution was the reason his teams lost. I'm guessing the huge play book was probably the major culprit in that. We have smart players, but the coaches were just asking them to learn too much in too short a time period. Because they couldn't master the volumes of plays in the WCO, the team would end up sticking with a few predictable plays (run it up the gut for 1-yard and a cloud of dust).

By adding complexity to the play book we, ironically, ended up being a predictable offense. Chow might actually make UCLA's offense less predictable by making it simpler. Instead of relying on a wide variety of plays, this offensive guru likes to use misdirection and multiple formations to hide his true intentions. The patterns and decisions are the same but the different looks leave the defense guessing.

Norm Chow says [his] offenses have around 12 basic pass plays and 5 basic run plays (with screens)--those plays are run from many formations, with plays tagged for a little versatility, so that the players know the offense by the second day of practice.
An added benefit of the simplified offense is how quickly the players learn the playbook. Our offense will have plenty of time during the spring and fall to work on other things besides tring to memorize a ton of plays. I remember when DeWayne Walker first started working with our defense. He spent a lot of time focusing on fundamentals; things like tackling, swarming to the ball, and being aggressive. I can see Chow and Neuheisel doing something similar with the offense. We need running backs who hit the hole quickly, offensive lineman who can protect the QB, and receivers who can get some separation. This is a unit that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up.

Coach Neuheisel has already mentioned that the offense will have an emphasis on the run. In an interview with the LA Times, Norm commented on the importance of moving the ball on the ground:
We're going to run the ball. To win in this game, in any league, you have to run the ball. I don't think we're going to revolutionize football. We're going to continue to do things that [Neuheisel] and I know best.
With some young talent coming in at tailback, I think we could see a simplified offense that tries to maximize that talent. That's another great aspect of a small playbook. It can be adapted to the player's strengths instead of trying to adapt the players to the offense's strength. If we get two or three backs who step up this fall then lets use them. Screens, shuttle passes, and a steady dose of power running. If a quarterback steps up then let's throw, throw, throw. In either case, it sounds like our offense can be tailored to what works best and that's our best shot at winning.

(photo credit: CSTV)

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Spring Game Details

Here are some details about the spring game from the official UCLA site:

Battle at the Rose Bowl

2008 UCLA Football Spring Game
Presented by Sport Chalet
Saturday, April 26th 7:00pm, Rose Bowl

Spring Game Timeline:
3:00pm-7:00pmTailgating/Parking Opens (Lots: B, D, F, H, I, K, M)
Area H Fan Zone Opens
3:30pm-5:00pmLady Bruins Football 101 by Head Coach Rick Neuheisel
(Registration required; see below)
4:30pm-6:30pmBruin Kids Club Field Day
6:15pm Gates A & B Open/ Giveaways Distributed
Team warm-ups begin
7:00pm Spring Game presented by Sport Chalet Begins
Post-Game "Meet the Bruins"

UCLA Football debuts the Spring Game presented by Sport Chalet at the Rose Bowl! The Bruins are holding many exciting promotions for fans:

Free Admission: For all UCLA Fans.

Tailgating/Parking: Bruin fans can park for only $10 in designated lots (B, D, F, H, I, K, M).

Fan Appreciation Day: UCLA Football would like to show our gratitude for your support. Vouchers will be distributed upon entrance that can be redeemed for one of thousands of giveaways including Sport Chalet gift cards, Vintage UCLA Football Season Ticket Holder Pins, Crocs Fan Pack, Adidas apparel and much more! (Giveaways available while supplies last; maximum one item per fan).

In-game raffle tickets will also be provided with a food concessions purchase. Raffle items include: $50 restaurant gift cards, Adidas gifts and much more!

Lady Bruins Football 101: All Lady Bruins are invited to the first annual Lady Bruins Football 101 prior to the 2008 Spring Game presented by Sport Chalet at the Rose Bowl. Participants meet with UCLA coaches Rick Neuheisel, Norm Chow, and DeWayne Walker for a class on the strategy, tactics of the game and a demonstration, so bring your tennis shoes ladies! Registration is just $20 and includes a Football 101 t-shirt, Adidas gift and group photo. Football 101 begins at 3:30pm.

Registration is limited to the first 150 Lady Bruins. To sign up today online, click here. (note: participants will receive an itinerary via email one week prior to the event)

Bruin Kids Club Field Day presented by Mattel Children's Hospital: Hosted by many of your favorite UCLA student-athletes. Games, relay races, activities and hear from new Head Football Coach Rick Neuheisel! Admission is free and participants get autographical item and a Bristol Farms lunch. Kids who join or renew their membership for the 2008-09 Bruin Kids Club Field Day, will receive a special gift courtesy of Mattel Children's Hospital.

Kids age 13 and younger can report to Area H at 4:00pm to register for Field Day.

Area H Fan Zone: Fans can enjoy fun family activities beginning before the game in Area H of the Rose Bowl. Activities include: food vendors such as Carl's Jr., AM1330 ESPN Deportes live remote & giveaways and the UCLA Store selling your favorite Bruin merchandise.

Roster Card Giveaway: Get your free updated 2008 Spring Roster at Gates A & B.

2008 UCLA Football Ticket Sales: Place an order for a pair of new 2008 UCLA Football season tickets at the Spring Game presented by Sport Chalet and receive a complimentary Be My Guest Card ($50 value courtesy of American Express; while supplies last) valid at all restaurants that accept American Express.

Concourse Displays

  • Sign up for Bruin Locker Room - An email service for all true Bruin fans. Receive email updates on your favorite teams, special ticket discounts and much more.
  • Posters - Pick up schedule posters about 2008 UCLA Spring Teams
  • UCLA Store- Selling your favorite Bruin merchandise
  • Bruin Kids Club Table - The UCLA Bruin Kids Club presented by Mattel Children's Hospital is an exclusive membership club for kids ages 13 and younger.
  • Wooden Athletic Fund - Join the Wooden Athletic Fund and continue the Tradition of Excellence. For as little as $100 stay connected to UCLA Athletics.
  • 2008 Football Spring Prospectus - On sale for just $20 while supplies last!
  • Sponsors - Welks Resort, CSD Framing, Bank of America, Fox Sports Net

UCLA Students: Buses are available for just $5. Purchase your bus ticket at the Central Ticket Office (M-F, 10am - 4pm) between Monday, April 14 and Thursday, April 24.

UCLA Spirit: UCLA Band, Cheerleaders and Yell Crew will be on hand to provide an exciting atmosphere. Be ready to 8-Clap Bruin fans!

Meet the Bruins: After the game fans will hear from new Head Coach Rick Neuheisel and can take to the field to get autographs and photographs (cameras not provided) from your favorite players.

Pitre Done?

Brian Dohn reported that Michael Pitre was denied a 6th year of eligibility. I'm not sure if he can appeal that decision or if it is final. I'm assuming Pitre is out for next season and Trevor Theriot is the likely starter for 2008.

Monday, March 17, 2008

2008 Spring Roster

The 2008 spring roster is available from the official UCLA website. Obviously, it is very early in the process and I'm sure some things will change before the season starts. However, there are some interesting position switches from last year's roster. A few of the things I noted from it:

The center position has been completely reconstructed. Nobody listed at center from the 2007 depth chart is back at that position this year. Micah Reed is moving from guard to center. He's the odds on favorite to start, which is crazy considering the guy didn't even have a scholarship last year. Scott Glicksberg has moved over form tight end. Red-shirt sophomore Andy Kene rounds out this group. Aaron Meyer has moved from center to offensive guard.

David Carter has moved from defensive tackle to defensive end. He's a bigger guy (257 lbs) but not big enough for tackle. I think that move makes sense. Nathanal Skaggs has moved from center to defensive tackle and Jeff Miller has moved to that same position from the end spot. I'm guessing this is to make up for David Carter moving to end and the very real possibility that Chane Moline will take a medical retirement.

Tobi Umodu is switching sides and moving from middle linebacker to fullback. That might be to cover that position in case Michael Pitre doesn't get a 6th year and to add some depth in the future to that position. UCLA has some good linebackers in the 2007 and 2008 class, so that's not a bad move for him.

Chris Meadows has returned to the corner back position from his spot at wide receiver last year.

Trojan Four-fecta

Let's summarize the last two weeks for the Trojans.

Incoming player, Maurice Simmons, arrested for armed robbery. Current player, Fili Moala, was arrested for resisting and obstructing an officer at a bar brawl. Former player, Dwayne Jarrett, then got hauled in for a DUI.

So, not to be outdone, former running back Lendale White had to go and get arrested too. He was cited by Denver police destruction of property, disobedience to a lawful order and interference and resisting.

I think they're going for the record this off-season.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Lombard Medical Retirement

This was noted on some blogs this week and wanted to put it here as well. Kenneth Lombard is taking a medical retirement from football. The one time defensive end, turned full back, turned defensive end has had injuries slow him down his entire career. It sounds like he's decided to hang up his cleats before the toll on his body catches up with him. Lombard gave up his scholarship last season, to move to FB, so UCLA doesn't gain any extra openings because of this move.

Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Helemt PAC-10 Schedule

Saw this over on Bears Necessity. It's a cool representation of the entire PAC-10 schedule showing each opponent by their football helmet. Looks like a good out of conference schedule this year and there are some very intriguing match ups this year.

Spring Practice Times

Here is the press release from UCLA about the times for the spring practices and the spring scrimmage at the Rose Bowl:

UCLA will open its 2008 football Spring Practice on Thursday afternoon, April 3. All practice sessions are open to the public and will be held at Spaulding Field, with the exception of the Spring Scrimmage.

The annual Spring Scrimmage will be held on Saturday, April 26 at 7:00 pm at the Rose Bowl. More details on April 26 will be announced shortly.

Following is the schedule (tentative and subject to change): Week One - April 3 (3:55 pm), April 4 (3:55 pm) and April 5 (TBD).

Week Two - April 7 (3:55 pm), April 8 (3:55 pm), April 10 (3:55 pm) and April 12 (11:00 am).

Week Three - April 14 (3:55 pm), April 15 (3:55 pm), April 17 (3:55 pm) and April 18 (7:00 pm).

Week Four - April 21 (3:55 pm), April 22 (3:55 pm), April 24 (3:55 pm) and April 26 (7:00 pm Spring Scrimmage at the Rose Bowl).

Kind of bummed that the Spring Scrimmage wasn't earlier in the day. I guess that makes for a fun evening though. I read that they are having season ticket holders pick seats that afternoon so I guess that pushed the scrimmage later in the day. No details yet on any admission price but I'm sure they'll charge for parking.

Monday, March 10, 2008

When News isn't

I guess it isn't news when a Trojan player gets arrested in the off season. It's almost a monthly event. Well, keeping true to form, another player got scooped up by the boys in blue. This time defensive tackle Fili Moala was arrested for resisting and obstructing an officer after a brawl broke out at a local bar. He probably won't get charged but, dude, how many times are these guys going to show up on Police blotters?!? My favorite quote from the article:
Moala, reached on his cell phone, declined comment other than to say, "It's an important event, but it's being dealt with in-house. We're well aware of it."
Does Pete and USC have any other kind of way of dealing with things than "in-house"?

Saturday, March 8, 2008

Second 2009 Commit is a Good One

Todd Golper, a top-rated line backer from Arcadia High School, decided to commit to UCLA today. Golper joins Marlon Pollard in the Bruin's 2009 class. The two are a great start and it looks like Walker is picking up where he left off with this last recruiting class.

He's a big kid, weighing in at 225 already and standing tall at 6'1". He projects in at middle linebacker and UCLA could really use a strong leader on defense for the future. I could see Todd filling that role in the a few years.

Scout current gives Golper a 4-star rating and he is considered one of the top-10 players at his position nationally. Here is a snipet from his profile:
Golper is excellent in pass coverage, witness his slew of interceptions last fall, and he's a very good and solid tackler. A classic middle linebacker, Golper has a high football IQ, great leadership skills and is a gamer.
Rivals hasn't given him a ranking yet, but it is still early and I'm sure Todd will be highly regarded by that service as well.

You can check out Todd's My Space page and see some pictures and images of him in action. I thought it was funny that under his interests he lists: "Watching USC lose". Ah yes, he is a true blue Bruin!

Golpher attended UCLA's abbreviated Junior day today. There might be some more recruiting news coming out of today's meet-and-greet, so stay tuned...

(Photo Credit: Todd Golper MySpace)

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Starting Early

Our friends over at Fig Tech are known for being a university of scoundrels and criminals. Every spring and summer they make headlines, and police blotters, with their antics. This time, however, the latest Trojan couldn't even wait to get into school before he got arrested. USC recruit, Maurice Simmons, was arrested on Wednesday night for armed robbery. He is a line backer from Dominguez High School who just signed with the Trojans this past February.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Can I get an Amen?

Saw this on Dohn's blog:

In talking with UCLA offensive coordinator Norm Chow and several of the players, one thing I keep hearing is how much thinner the playbook will be. Compared to the old playbook, the new playbook will be more like a pamphlet, one player said.

That should also factor into practices, with the theory being why practice 200 plays in a week when you only run 75 in a game.

Simplicity is the key to the offense, Chow said.
Can I get an amen? Isn't this what we, as fans, were clamoring for during the Dorrell years? Lets run a few plays well instead of a lot of plays poorly. It's so head smakingly obvious it blows your mind.

Foster Lands in San Francisco

DeShaun is back in the Golden State. The 49ers picked him yesterday and they've tagged the former Bruin star as their backup tailback.

Transition to Linebacker

Saw this great read on Sports Illustrated about Bruce Davis transitioning from a defensive end in college to the linebacker position in the NFL. It will definitely be an uphill battle for him, as he'll be going against guys who have played that position for years. But Bruce has the heart and the athletic ability to be successful at the next level, so I'm not worried for him. He's a gamer and I'm sure he'll make the adjustment just fine.