Tag Archives: UCLA

POLL DON’T LIE: Devin Fuller

(Note: I’ve changed the name of this feature from “RATE THAT KID” to “POLL DON’T LIE” because 1) Rasheed Wallace is a bad-ass, and 2) “RATE THAT KID” is super lame. So is “POLL DON’T LIE” but whatever.)

Smell that, you guys? It’s that funky-ass smell you smell when things get … smelly.

That’s right — it’s a new (and our first) feature here at the Sons of Westwood. What’s a feature, you ask? It’s a series of blog posts with an overarching theme. Like Ball Don’t Lie’s Days of NBA Lives or Shutdown Corner’s Smarter Stats.

This feature is inspired by the recruiting euphoria we’re experiencing in Jim L. Mora’s first few weeks on the job.

Every once in a while, I’ll present a player, give reasons why he should be rated high and reasons he shouldn’t be rated high. The point is to look at the context of the signing. Did we pick up a 5-star wide-out when our class already includes two of them? Did we nab a 3-star linebacker when we’re stacked with 4-star LBs?

And that’s what my job is. Your job is to give an honest assessment of the player, from a scale of 1 star to 5 stars, by voting in the poll at the bottom. (Note: If you bleed True Blue and Gold, all recruits will be 5-star recruits, but let’s assess them considering UCLA’s current depth at the position and the current strengths and weaknesses.) If you disagree with whatever reasoning I have, back your shit up in the comments.

Today’s kid: Devin Fuller, QB, Old Tappan, NJ. Height: 6’0” … Weight: 185 pounds … 3rd-ranked QB in the nation … GPA 2.9 … SAT 1100

Why should you give him 5 stars?

Devin Fuller is compared to Pat White according to Rivals. That’s a pretty lofty comparison considering White had a wildly successful college career, but it’s also very accurate. The scouting report — and the video at the beginning of this post — suggests that this dude is a freaking speed demon. He’s got great pocket awareness and knows how to extend plays with his feet.

That’s not all, though. The kid can toss a serious deep ball with the flick of his wrist, off his back foot. (Check the 2:05 mark in the video above.) With a gun like that, the offense can get seriously vertical and the defense will have to be spread incredibly thin because his deep ball and his ability to gain major yardage (he ran for 3600 yards combined in the past two seasons) forces a defense on its heels.

The dude’s a playmaker and, based on the scouting report at ESPN, he’s a confident QB who is comfortable taking command in the huddle.

Why should you give him 1 star?

I don’t know how you’d justify giving him a 1-star rating, but there are definitely concerns.

The most glaring? He’ll be a dual-threat, short, fast QB in Noel Mazzone’s offense — the one that’s been run by guys like 6’8” Brock Osweiler at ASU and 6’5” Philip Rivers at NC State. (Apparently, Mazzone loves QBs who throw all weird.) In case you didn’t know, neither of those guys are a threat to run, instead keeping more of a pocket presence. It’ll be interesting to see if Mazzone will tweak his offense to accommodate both Fuller and redshirt freshman QB Brett Hundley (another QB who’s a threat to run) or if both of those guys progress enough to compete with T.J. Millweard, the prototypical Mazzone QB. (If UCLA is run with serious discipline, it’ll be the former.)

I don’t know if Fuller is going to stay all that patient in the pocket, or if he should be pedestrian in the back-field.

Another concern is that GPA — 2.9 is pretty low, and while that won’t affect his play on the field, is it possible that he won’t even get on the field if his grades are stinky?

And then you must consider the competition: We have Brett Hundley, the apparent “savior” of UCLA football and T.J. Millweard, a QB that Mazzone was undoubtedly looking forward to coaching.

That’s enough from me, though. What do you think? How many stars do you give Fuller?

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ROLL IN THE QBs! Devin Fuller, four-star recruit, is going to be a UCLA Bruin

UCLA football recruiting has been at its finest since Jim L. Mora was hired back in December.

And now, as a result, we’ve picked up the third-best QB in all of prep football.

Ladies and germs, I present to you Devin Fuller:

Please, close your mouths, will ya?

We already know that UCLA has done a damn fine job of putting together a class that’s right up there with the best of them after having an incredibly shoddy start to our recruiting. Mora’s acquisition of guys like Noel Mazzone, Demetrice Martin and Adrian Klemm are seriously paying its dividends before February 1 (National Signing Day).

So not only will we have a legitimate QB competition this season between seniors Richard Brehaut and Kevin Prince, and redshirt freshman Brett Hundley, but we’ll also have an interesting-as-hell competition the year after with Brett Hundley likely competing with our shiny, new toy, Devin Fuller.

Add that to the fact that we have what is possibly the best offensive coordinator in the nation, a 6-foot-8-inch beast of a tight end in Joe Fauria and a nice offensive line, and we could have ourselves the best UCLA football season in damn near a decade.

Of course, receivers are going to be an issue for UCLA this year — we have one three-star commit at wide-out in Fabian Moreau — and that might be something to watch for. But considering that this is probably the best coaching staff UCLA has assembled in a long-ass time, we my have a reason to be uncharacteristically optimistic.

John Wooden still has an impact, is helping to repair war-torn regions

John Wooden

John Wooden, easily the greatest basketball coach that ever lived — or coach, period, for that matter — was much more than a hardwood personality. If you fired up your search engine and looked for “John Wooden quotes,” you’d get an endless supply of famous quotes about Wooden’s philosophy, which apply off the court as much as they do on. Take a gander for yourself:

“Consider the rights of others before your own feelings, and the feelings of others before your own rights.”

“If you don’t have time to do it right, when will you have time to do it over?”

“It’s what you learn after you know it all that counts.”

The list goes on and on.

So it is no surprise that a war-torn country such as Uganda is seeking Wooden’s word to help repair broken people and assimilate them as happy, functional citizens. From the L.A. Times:

One of the cornerstones to breaking down international barriers, and repairing war-torn psyches, has been the motivational teachings of John R. Wooden.

Omli was a doctoral student at the University of Minnesota when he first visited Uganda and met soccer coach Kyambadde Stone, who runs a program for inner-city youth in Kampala.

The two collaborated with the idea that sports would be an effective mechanism to help assimilate thousands of men traumatized from a brutal civil conflict in Northern Uganda from 1986 to 2006. An estimated 1.8 million people were displaced.

You really should read the whole thing. The Ugandan men have a hell of a story and a bunch of heartwarming ideas for reparation of those whose psyche has been damaged incredibly.

We all know sports — be it playing them, or watching professionals play them — acts as a bandage in American society. Every Sunday, hundreds of millions of Americans manage to not lambaste one another to gather around a T.V. set — be it a 60-inch HDTV or a 12-inch T.V. that can only be found in 1993 — to watch football. Socioeconomic status be damned.

The same can be applied to other forms of sports. On the basketball court, no one cares what your ethnicity is or what God you believe in. If you can knock down open J’s, you’re a part of the group.

We all know that no one has used the platform of sports to such a philanthropic advantage as much as Wooden did. Wooden embodied why sports are so important in American society.

So it comes to no surprise that Uganda, what some may consider a “broken country” came to seek Wooden’s words for advice.

And that’s because there is no personality who better fits the purpose — and essence — of sports than John Wooden.

 

 

My hate for BruinsNation, and the point of this website

In case you guys did not know, I hate BruinsNation. And as far as anyone else can tell, so do other new UCLA’ers around the blogosphere, such as UCLA Football blog, “Bruin Pride” which is a fine football blog that hopes to be yet another “BruinsNation alternative” as the author puts it. And let’s not forget the UCLA fans that comment on other blogs (like Inside UCLA with Jon Gold) about their hate for that tunnel-visioned, crap-ass excuse for a blog.

Why do I hate that blog, you ask?

Because it isn’t what a blog is supposed to be. Sure, it has all the technical stuff like the ability to post constantly, write text, etc. I’m talking about some of the administrators failing to know what the essence of a blog is.  And what it is, is an opportunity for discussion between the blogger and the reader; for a multitude of perspectives to be considered, instead of the fixed mindset that BN embodies. A blog with the designation that BN has — to blog about UCLA sports and not be some sort of lame-ass collective action website — should discuss UCLA Athletics and not focus on a specific agenda.

Those who have read BruinsNation know: “Chianti Dan.” “Howlers.” “Neubs.” “Dorrelistas.” “#NoMoraDan.” And so on and so forth. For those that have not read BruinsNation? These are all examples of lingo the administrators force on their readers. Think Ben Howland deserves one more chance to prove himself in the form of one more evaluated season? You’re a “Howler” who has no idea what they’re talking about. Rebuttle by saying it’s your opinion and the administrator should accept it? You’re banned or your comment gets deleted while you’re lectured by some idiot who can’t use correct subject-verb agreement (but is somehow running a blog on SB Nation, an otherwise fine collection of sports blogs).

It wouldn’t be such a problem if the website didn’t represent itself as the voice of all UCLA fans. During the search for UCLA’s new head football coach, the admins were making it a point to delete and suppress all comments and posts that were in favor of a candidate the admins did not like. For example, Mike Belotti:

Speaking of “No’s”, another name that is repeatedly being mentioned is Mike Bellotti. We have repeatedly made the case here on BN about acceptable criteria for our next football coach, and Bellotti clearly does not fit. We are not going to waste another 3+ years with a retread coming out of the broadcasting booth who has been out of the game for several years.

Of course, when they mean “we” they are referring to the UCLA fan-base as a whole. A little odd that they want to speak on behalf of myself and other Bruins. Sure, Belotti would have been a shitty hire, but I would think they would want to have a say on that before having that forced down my throat.

And the day Jim L. Mora got hired? More of the tired-ass rhetoric that BN likes to push on its readers, this one from the douchebag behind it all, Nestor:

As for Mora here is his first official “message” to the Bruin community:

“As someone who has been around the game of football my entire life, I have always held the UCLA job in the highest esteem,” said Mora. “Given its location and its tradition, UCLA is truly a sleeping giant and I realize that an opportunity of this magnitude doesn’t present itself more than once in a career, so I jumped at the chance to be a Bruin.”

He talks about “jumping,” yet apparently UCLA is not important enough for him to leave a BS comfy big with the NFL Network. Looks like he is off to a Dorrellian start. Oh, I am sure he is going to serve up BS on Monday about how he has always admired Coach Wooden. Someone should tell him not to pull that kind of gross and predictable cheap PR stunt.

Couple things to notice. First and foremost, his link to the news about Mora leaving NFL Network links to a post written by, you guessed it, Nestor himself. In that, he quotes (and strategically emphasizes) Jon Gold about when Mora would join the team (again, emphasis his):

Mora last coached at the college level in 1984 as a graduate assistant at Washington, where he played defensive back from 1980-83. After a lengthy career as an NFL assistant coach, Mora took over for Atlanta in 2004, guiding the Falcons to an 11-5 record an appearance in the NFC championship game. Mora went 15-17 for the Falcons the following two seasons and was fired and spent one season with the Seahawks in 2009, going 5-11. He has served as an NFL analyst since then and is expected to join the team once he finishes his broadcasting duties.

Keyword, dumbass: “Expected.” Speculation. You know — when there’s no word from the proverbial horse’s mouth?

Of course, we all know Mora asked for a waiver so he can begin recruiting while the incumbent squad and coaching staff prepared for the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl. And after a pretty crappy recruiting class, Mora now has the tenth-best recruiting class of 2012 according to Scout.com.

And then, there was the possibility that Jim Tressel would be hired by UCLA pre-show-clause order from the NCAA. Boy, did they try hard as hellto convince the rest of the fan-base to get on board with their agenda. They even conducted multiple polls worded as such:

Do you think UCLA should hire a disgraced cheater such as Jim Tressel – facing possible show cause penalty from NCAA – in any capacity to coach or consult the Bruin football program?

The results of that lovely poll? Sixty-five percent “yes,” four percent “NO,” and 15 percent “HELL NO!” (yes, there was a “HELL NO!” option), with over 1700 votes casted. (They asked again in a post isolating Tressel’s NCAA violations. “Yes” received a 73 percent vote with over 1000 votes in.) The admins then proceeded to flood their own comment section with things like, “You are all morally bankrupt” and had told readers to “prostitute themselves” in relation to the Tressel hiring. Classy. (Funny, considering the same assholes thought it was so classless for tight end Joe Fauria to make fun of LSU. And those admins are supposed to represent UCLA as alumni? Fuck them. Someone needs to strip them of their “UCLA Alum” status.)

Which, after 1000 words of whining about that sorry excuse for a “bl_g,” leads me to the existence of this website: To provide just one of many alternatives to BruinsNation. The network effects of that “bl_g” have saturated the UCLA blogosphere, and readers are basically stuck with the shit those guys write on a daily basis. After tonight, I’ve ceased posting comments on that website. It’s time that the UCLA blogosphere takes back its objectivity and openness for diverse opinions, and time for BruinsNation to stop embarrassing our beloved university by disgracing the blue-and-gold and demeaning the values that we, as Bruins, hold.

This blog will not seek to become the dominant, go-to UCLA Bruins blog. Instead, it will join other great fan blogs — such as Bruin Pride — to give readers alternative places to interact.

So with that, we give you the middle finger, BruinsNation.

An update on the UCLA football team since forever ago

I know, I know, Bru-Dawgs: It’s been a while. I’ve been busy, stuff happens, etc. Insert your own excuse here.

Still, a butt-load (who, over the age of 12, uses that word anymore?) of stuff has been goin’ down. Let’s start with recruitment and players and such:

Ellis McCarthy is a UCLA Bruin

Admittedly, I know nothing about recruiting or scouting or the like, so I don’t know how good the kid is. All I know is that we need some serious help at the defensive line because our pass rush couldn’t sack Kim Kardash– nevermind, this is a kid-friendly site, so we won’t use such dirty jokes. From the sound of it, though, the dude is an animal:

Yep, that’s not one, not two, not three, not four, but five exclamation marks. Oh, and scout.com has him as a five-star recruit, so that’s pretty awesome. Here’s a highlight video for you to get excited, I guess. (Don’t understand the point of these sometimes, but this one does an OK job of highlighting his talents.)

(H/T: BruinsNation)

UCLA has another QB: T.J. Millweard

Texas quarterback T.J. Millweard (or, if he’s accidentally touching your butt, “Millweird”) has committed to UCLA, which is totally bad-ass since he’s actually pretty good, supposedly. The jury is still out on him (I think?), mainly because he’s the sixth-best QB in the nation according to ESPN, but is #31 according to scout.com. That leaves us with an average of 18.5, which is also pretty good, so whatever.

Regardless, we always need serious help at QB, especially after last year’s spotty performances from Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut.

UCLA has another QB in, like, a year: Eddie Printz

Well, apparently it wasn’t just the UCLA community that thought we desperately needed some security at QB, because now we have Eddie Printz, class of 2013. (Holy crap, I’m getting old.)

Here’s a video of how good this bro could be:

(H/T: Inside UCLA with Jon Gold. Note: Kudos on the clever, disgusting title, “UCLA gets the clap again.”)

Now, let’s over to the non-player shizz:

Lou Spanos is going to be UCLA’s Defensive Coordinator: 

Admittedly (I do a lot of admitting here, but it is like an online diary after all), I know nothing about Lou Spanos except that he was an assistant for the Washington Redskins and for the Steelers (for a decade and a half) prior. Considering those two teams haven’t had crappy defenses in a while, I’m going to assume this isn’t a bad get, especially considering Jim Mora is already pretty defensively-minded.

So hell of a few weeks, it’s been, no? September’s only eight months away, dammit.

Here is the Jim Mora, Jr. introductory press conference

UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero introduced new UCLA football head honcho Jim Mora, Jr. Here is the video:

Well, the video gets better as it goes along because Dan Guerrero eventually shuts the hell up to let Jim Mora speak.

In all honesty, Mora seems articulate, personable and optimistic. He looks legitimately happy to be the UCLA coach and he should be — he was pretty underqualified as a head coaching candidate for a job in which people speculated Chris Petersen from Boise State would occupy.

But we can knock him all we want, Bruins. We can knock him ’til the morale of our coaching staff is nothing. But that won’t do us any good. Mora proved that he knows what to say and when to say it, which is more than what we can say from ex-coaches Rick Neuheisel and Karl Dorrell.

The highlight of this press conference? Jim Mora’s following quote:

“I dont want to stand up here today and make any bold predictions or outlandish statements,  but let our actions moving forward speak for us”

Exactly. This program — our entire damned athletic department — has done a metric crap-load of making ballsy predictions and outlandish statements, yet it hasn’t done a damn thing to back these statements or predictions up. Such is the culture of the Morgan Center, and such is the way Dan Guerrero wants it.

We can’t judge Jim Mora, Jr. based on this press conference alone. However, we can critique every public move he makes. And this was a solid press conference from our new leader. He was smart and on-point and didn’t make any sleazy statements at how crappy our football program has been (aside from “it’s been a rough decade for UCLA” which is just pure truth, albeit an understatement).

Let’s see some more, Jim. Our program depends on it.

Dan Guerrero screws up, duh, and UCLA hires Jim Mora, Jr.

Jim Mora, Jr.

Jim Mora, Jr. as Mark Wahlberg

Ladies and gentlemen, we now present to you reason #1259 to fire Dan Guerrero: The hiring of horrible NFL coach, Jim Mora, Jr.

Yes, that Jim Mora, Jr. The Jim Mora, Jr. that caused frustration among Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks fans by going 26-22 and 5-11 respectively.

His problems go beyond this, though: Junior was disowned by Atlanta Falcons fans after he said he would ditch the Falcons to coach the University of Washington even if the Falcons had gone to the playoffs.

Oi! When a coach like that comes around, things are a tad sketchy. Even worse, considering he hasn’t coached in a year or so, and considering that his Falcons team got progressively worse through his four years in the A.T.L. Dude posted records of 11-5, 8-8 and 7-9 in his three years as coach. That team was headed nowhere fast, too, with the team dropping three straight (from 7-6) to close out the season.

And his college career? Well, what college career? Mora, Jr. has never headed an amateur football team and seemingly only got head coaching gigs because of his pedigree.

But this is it. This is your new head coach. His credentials be damned, this is the hire Dan Guerrero — the idiot — has made and this is the one we’re stuck with. Don’t expect someone like UCLA Chancellor Gene Block to step in and unhire Mora, Jr. even if Block fires Guerror.

This is the guy we support until he proves us otherwise. The dude may have been a mediocre coach, but it’s on him to prove us wrong and, dammit, do I want this dude to prove us wrong.

The college game is a bit easier to master on the field than the NFL game. The X’s  and O’s let coaches have more freedom than the pro game. Of course, this doesn’t make the job easier — when you can throw millions of dollars at prospective players, the talent is far, far easier to obtain. Being a head honcho at a Pac-12 program requires that the coach is personable enough to recruit 17-year olds that are being scouted by the likes of Oregon, Stanford and U$C.

Perhaps this is where Mora Jr.’s career may take a turn. Maybe, just maybe, we’ll get the dude who so desperately wants to coach and finds himself better suited to coach a major football program in college.

We can only hope, Bruins. The hire is done. Be critical of Mora, but support him all the same. We’re now all on the same team.

Your move, Jim Mora, Jr.