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August 9, 2012
SAN BERNARDINO, Calif. -- UCLA head coach Jim Mora was contrite. He looked the media - and the cameras - in the eye on Thursday evening, and genuinely apologized for his crass statement regarding UCLA's campus safety earlier this week.
In fact, after the cameras stopped rolling, he kicked the grass, rubbed the back of his neck and muttered, "I'm a jacka--."
The whole incident started when Mora went on the Roger Lodge radio show earlier this week to chat about the Bruins recruiting. When the topic turned into UCLA's beautiful campus, Mora said, "We don't have murders a block from our campus."
That ruffled some feathers around the country, especially just a few miles away with crosstown rival USC, which just had two murders about a mile from its campus earlier this year.
So Mora, who wasn't so apologetic in an interview with the Los Angeles Times earlier on Thursday, wanted to square everything away on Thursday evening.
"I just want to say this, after learning the details of the shootings downtown earlier this year, I can understand how my comments on the radio yesterday could be interpreted as insensitive to the victims and their families," Mora said. "The interviewer and myself were talking about UCLA football and the tremendous attributes of UCLA's campus. I truly regret and am sorry if my words caused anybody any pain at all. That was not my intention."
When asked later in the evening about the incident, Mora declined to comment, saying the whole thing is behind him now.
And then there were eight
Usually around this time of training camp, skill position guys start hitting the sidelines.
Their little bodies with rubber-band-like muscles generally give out right around the end of the first week.
"Knock on wood," Mora said. "That hasn't happened yet.
"But," the head coach added, "some of our big guys have gone down."
Some? How about 10.
UCLA is now down to eight healthy offensive linemen, after both Will Oliver and Alexandru Ceachir went down with heat-related illnesses after the morning practice on Thursday, adding to the already long laundry list of injured linemen this week.
"It's like a puzzle," Mora said of the Bruins patchwork offensive line. "Coach (Adrian) Klemm is back there and moving guys around and in and out, but hopefully this is the last day we have to do it. It's not fun. It's tough on those guys. It's not an ideal situation. You kind of hope the worst of it is over."
The Bruins will get Friday off, and Mora expects at least some of his players to make it back to the field by the time practice resumes on Saturday morning.
Cell phone gate
Ask any UCLA player if they've had their phone taken away this camp, and the answer is very coy.
Some say they voluntarily gave it up. Some say they were forced. Others say they were never approached at all.
All redshirt freshman quarterback Brett Hundley knows is he didn't have to lose his.
"Quarterbacks didn't," Hundley said. "I absolutely have no idea (about the rest of the team), I'm just glad I've got my phone."
Linebacker Eric Kendricks said the linebacking unit volunteered to give it up.
"Some of us chose not to (have our phones) to try to focus on football," Kendricks said. "I chose to give it up. It was completely voluntarily. It's actually really nice."
From the sounds of things, it's safe to say each unit had its own policy on cell phones in San Bernardino.
-UCLA has the day off Friday, and Mora said he and his team have some fun extracurricular activities planned.
-Mora said he's concerned about linebacker Patrick Larimore and linemen Jeff Baca and Alberto Cid. He believes all three may have suffered concussions in addition to the heat exposure out in San Bernardino. He said Larimore for sure has one, and they'll send Baca and Cid back to UCLA campus on Friday for more testing.
-Kendricks said he put on about 10 pounds this summer in Sal Alosi's new offseason workouts.
-Hundley said he's already lost his voice from screaming so much in the new spread offense.