Myles Jack

Report: Myles Jack leaves UCLA, will enter NFL Draft

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Well here’s a bit of a shocker for you this morning. UCLA running back Myles Jack has reportedly withdrawn from UCLA and will prepare to enter the NFL Draft in 2016. The news was first reported, via Twitter, by Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated.

Jack has played linebacker and fullback for the Bruins, and his decision to turn pro now comes off feeling a bit strange. Head coach Jim Mora certainly questions the decision by Jack.

“I think it’s very risky to do this. There’s a lot of speculation to ….where he fits,” Mora explained, via Thamel. “I’ve been in 25 Draft rooms. I’ve never seen a guys taken off (two games of junior tape)… Myles’ talent is without question. I hope he’s put enough out there where they can get a true evaluation.”

Jack suffered a season-ending knee injury last month in a practice. The injury led USC Athletics Director Pat Haden to send him a letter wishing him well in a sign of good sportsmanship between conference and crosstown rivals. Perhaps the season-ending injury led Jack to consider the consequences of returning in 2016 in a UCLA uniform, with players not being compensated for their play. The question then becomes if Jack is a good enough talent to go in round one, or even round two, considering the latest injury situation for him.

Well, here is the instant opinion of our friend Josh Norris of Rotoworld and an NFL Draft analyst…

Jack was a two-time second team All-Pac-12 selection and Pac-12 Defensive and Offensive Freshman of the Year in 2013.

UCLA DC Tom Bradley is kind of like Yoda, according to Myles Jack

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On the day the world got a look at the latest Star Wars trailer (or the tale of how Chewy and Han returned home), it feels appropriate we see UCLA linebacker (and part-time running back) Myles Jack compare his new defensive coordinator — Tom Bradley — to the greatest Jedi of them all, Yoda.

Jack said Bradley is “kind of like a Yoda figure, just sitting back and doesn’t really use his words too much, but when he does it means something.” That seems about right. Bradley has a way of not over-coaching his players, and right now he is just trying to adjust to a new program with new language and new ideas. But Bradley was hired in part because of his experience, so when he does talk his players will listen.

“He brings wisdom to our program,” Jack said. “Just the way he carries himself, you have to show respect. I’m happy to have him.”

UCLA hired Bradley this offseason to fill a vacancy on the staff at defensive coordinator. The longtime Penn State assistant previously was on West Virginia’s staff, but the opportunity to take on more responsibility as a defensive coordinator was something Bradley had been waiting for. At UCLA, he has a tremendous opportunity to make some big things happen with a talented group in a competitive division and conference.

Improve UCLA’s defense, Bradley will.

No. 25 UCLA avoids double overtime scare in Boulder

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On Saturday afternoon in Boulder, Colorado No. 25 UCLA (6-2, 3-2 Pac-12) was unable to deal a knockout blow to Colorado (2-6, 0-5 Pac-12), but the Bruins found a way to a victory in double overtime. UCLA had a 24-7 lead on the Buffalos in the second quarter but had to hang on to a 40-37 victory to pick up a bowl-eligibility clinching win on the road. Brett Hundley‘s eight-yard touchdown run in the second overtime gave UCLA the hard-fought victory.

Hundley also passed for 200 yards and rushed for 110 yards with two combined touchdowns to lead UCLA to the victory. Paul Perkins broke some big runs early in the game and ended the day leading all players with 180 rushing yards and two touchdowns as well.

The Bruins scored a late touchdown in the third quarter to pad its halftime lead, but Colorado scored two touchdowns in the fourth quarter to push UCLA to the final whistle. Myles Jack was inserted at running back as UCLA needed to punch the ball across the goal line in the third quarter. Jack has been used sparingly this season, but his 16th rushing attempt of the year led to his second touchdown of the year. It could not have come at a better time for UCLA, as he ran right through a would-be-tackler for the touchdown on the outside.

Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau tossed each of this two touchdowns in the fourth quarter, each being caught by Bryce Bobo. That kept hope alive, but it was the defense that really provided life in the fourth quarter by stopping UCLA twice on a late drive. The first stop on third down ended up having the drive extended with a roughing the passer penalty to allow UCLA a free 15-yards and a first down to retain possession. Colorado held the Bruins once more, this time stuffing a fourth down and short play with three minutes to play. UCLA tried handing off to Eddie Vanderdoes out of a timeout on fourth and short, but Colorado played it perfectly for the stop.

Colorado then went to work on offense, methodically moving downfield into field goal range. While coming up short of a go-ahead touchdown, the Buffs settled for a game-tying field goal off the leg of Will Oliver from 35 yards.

The overtime was brought to a stop as UCLA was driving closer to the end zone. The game was paused for a while after the helmet of Colorado defensive back Tedric Thompson banged into the knee of a UCLA player. The impact left Thompson on the ground for an extended period of time before being placed on a stretcher and carted off the field while being consoled by a Colorado trainer or member of the medical staff. The defense pulled through for a stop on the first two plays after play resumed, holding UCLA to a field goal. Colorado answered on their first overtime possession with a long field goal to force a second overtime. After Colorado kicked a second field goal to take a 37-34 lead, Hundley answered with two good runs on the ensuing possession to seal the win.

So where does UCLA go from here? The Bruins are still well behind the pack in the College Football Playoff hunt, which may be out of reach the rest of the way. UCLA will host Arizona next week in one of many key Pac-12 South match-ups the rest of the way. The Bruins also still have to play at Washington and at home against USC and Stanford. The Pac-12 South is still up for grabs, and the Bruins should have enough pieces to make a run for it, but they will have to play a better game moving forward than they did against Colorado.

Colorado sinks to 0-5 in Pac-12 play and is now on the brink of missing out on postseason eligibility. With six losses, one more and Colorado will be ineligible for postseason play for a seventh straight season. Colorado’s last bowl season was 2007.

UCLA QB Brett Hundley is just fine with 2 first half TDs vs ASU

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Arizona State has stayed one step ahead of UCLA on the scoreboard for much of the first half, but the Bruins managed to get to the halftime break holding the lead. Using linebacker Myles Jack and defensive tackle Eddie Vanderdoes, UCLA fooled Arizona State’s defense for the go-ahead score, a short pass from Brett Hundley to a wide-open Nate Iese. Just as it looked as though Arizona State ws going to at least tie things up in the final 20 seconds, UCLA’s defense came up with a pick-six to take all of the momentum to the break. Ishmael Adams picked off a pass as Arizona State’s lack of timeouts may have had an impact. He returned the interception 95 yards for a touchdown. UCLA scored three straight touchdowns in the second quarter to take a 27-17 lead to the locker room.

Hundley was listed as the starter for UCLA after Jim Mora kept silent on his availability for Thursday night’s game. Hundley injured his shoulder against Texas the last time UCLA played, and he has been playing well in this key Pac-12 South contest. At the half, Hundley has completed 15 of 20 pass attempts for 219 yards and two touchdowns. He has taken some hits from the Arizona State defense, but he has not been rattled in the process.

Arizona State is playing without Taylor Kelly at quarterback. His replacement, Mike Bercovici has more than held his own so far against the Bruins defense. At the break, Bercovici has completed 16 of 28 passes for 215 yards and a pair of touchdowns, but he has been intercepted twice. The second was a killer, coming after Arizona State put together a late first-half drive to at least settle for a field goal to tie the game at the half. A lack of timeouts though meant Arizona State had no extra time to set up and talk about a play inside the red zone, and it hurt them.

This should be a fantastic second half for those staying up to watch it. I’m going to go grab a coffee during the halftime so I can be sure to catch it.

Backup QBs could lead UCLA and ASU in pivotal Pac-12 battle

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As the summer months passed by and it became time to speculate about the College Football Playoff contenders, UCLA was one of the trendy picks to represent the Pac-12. With players like quarterback Brett Hundley and linebacker Myles Jack and a program seeming to be budding under the leadership of head coach Jim Mora, why not the Bruins? UCLA has jumped out to a 3-0 start this season, but nobody really saw it coming this way. Next up is a Thursday night contest on the road against Arizona State, another top 25 team with a 3-0 record. The primetime match-up could be a battle of back-up quarterbacks with major Pac-12 South implications riding on the outcome.

UCLA needed its defense to bail out a sluggish offensive effort in a season opening game across the country against a Virginia team that may be better than initially expected. The following week the defense could do nothing to stop Memphis in Los Angeles, but the offense found enough. In week three UCLA’s special teams set up the Bruins with a backup quarterback to escape the state of Texas with a victory over the Texas Longhorns. Hundley went down in the game and it remains unknown if he will play Thursday night in an early, yet pivotal, game in the Pac-12 South Division. Mora has been keeping silent on his quarterback’s availability. If Hundley is not available, Jerry Neuheisel will get a chance to start for UCLA after helping to lead the team to a victory over Texas.

Arizona State will be without starting quarterback Taylor Kelly is definitely out for the game, so Arizona State head coach Todd Graham will not be playing mind games up until kickoff. Kelly suffered a foot injury against Colorado, which means the Sun Devils will ride with Mike Bercovici under center.

If UCLA is going to fulfill the expectations of being a legitimate playoff threat, this is a game the Bruins have to win. A loss not only puts a blemish in the loss column, but it also puts the Bruins behind in the Pac-12 South race. An Arizona State win would put the Sun Devils on top of the South with a 2-0 conference record, and Arizona State would own a head-to-head tiebreaker. Every division game, regardless of conference, is critical. With Arizona and USC appearing to be threats in the South and Utah proving to be no pushover, Thursday night’s battle of top 25 programs in Tempe could set the tone for the rest of the season in the South.

Arizona State and UCLA play Thursday night at 10:00 p.m. eastern.