New faces on UCLA’s sideline this fall
LOS ANGELES — It was a warm 85-degree day in Westwood on Saturday afternoon as the Bruins took to Spaulding Field for the first time during fall camp.
The “heat” was no longer a storyline or a factor.
“Huh?,” Mora replied when asked about the temperatures his team faced on Saturday.
The temperatures in Westwood on this afternoon were nothing compared to the almost daily triple digit scorchers the Bruins faced while opening fall camp at Cal State San Bernardino.
Mora decided to set up shop in San Bernardino because he wanted players to be in a position conducive to team building and bonding where they were away from friends, family, and girlfriends.
It was an experience the new Bruins head coach says was “great.” On Saturday, they turned the page returning to practicing on campus on a brand new synthetic turf field.
“It was great to be back here,” Mora said. “We had a great time at San Bernardino and they were fantastic hosts but to be able to come back and be able to be on this great, brand new, beautiful, practice field and be in an environment at home, I think, has been refreshing for our guys.”
The Bruins returned to Westwood with one answer — Brett Hundley was named the starting quarterback last week — and plenty of questions.
A huge concern continues to be who will play on the offensive line. So far this summer, the Bruins have lost two offensive linemen to medical retirement, Chris Ward and Wade Yandall.
All-purpose lineman Jeff Baca continues to be sidelined with a conclusion.
In an unordinary move, with two weeks left before the season opener at Rice on Aug. 30, the Bruins have brought in an offensive lineman.
“I felt like it’s the NFL, signing free agents,” Mora said.
The Bruins signed junior college transfer Jacob Seydel from Riverside Community College. Seydel is a true sophomore whom Mora says will play mostly guard and some tackle.
“One of the things we’ve talked about all camp was the need to build depth on our offensive line and this was an opportunity to do that, so we took advantage of it,” said the Bruins head coach. “We have scholarships available and he’s a guy that’s worthy. He was recruited here a couple of years ago.”
The loss of linebacker Patrick Larimore after he, too, medically retired was a huge blow. It’s caused some shifting amongst the linebackers. Damien Holmes has moved from outside to inside in the Bruins 3-4 scheme. Holmes started 14 games at defensive end last season. Jordan Zumwalt and Anthony Barr are on the outside. Zumwalt also received reps at an inside position during Saturday’s practice.