UCLA: Christian Yount

Kip Smith kicks himself out of doeldrums

September, 12, 2011
9/12/11
10:05
PM PT
According to Las Vegas oddsmakers, UCLA's game against Texas could come down to a field goal, and if it does, Kip Smith will be ready.

That might not have been the case a week ago. Smith, UCLA's redshirt freshman, had struggled all training camp and then missed a field-goal and extra-point attempt in a 38-34 loss at Houston, but he regained his confidence last week when he made two well-struck field goals in a 27-17 victory over San Jose State.

The smile on his face stretched from ear to ear after his first career field goal, a 38-yarder that gave UCLA a 17-10 lead in the third quarter, and after a 20-yarder in the fourth quarter broke a 17-17 tie, the weight of the world lifted from his shoulders.

"It’s a great feeling to kind of get the monkey off my back and get it out of the way," he said. "I finally felt comfortable out there. At Houston, I had first-game jitters. I was thinking gotta make every one. I can’t miss. Now it’s just go out there and have fun and do your thing."

Smith was nearly inconsolable after the Houston game as the mounting pressure of inconsistent kicks finally caught up with him, but seemed like a new person Saturday night after the San Jose State game. He credits some heart-to-heart talks with former players such as Kai Forbath, the kicker he replaced, Justin Medlock, who preceded Forbath and Christian Yount, UCLA's former long snapper.

Forbath missed his first two career field-goal attempts, but later in his career won the Lou Groza Award as the nation's top kicker. Medlock also missed his first career attempt but went on to set a school record with six 50-yards field goals.

"I learned that you just can’t think about negative things," he said. "Whether it’s kicking or throwing a pass, you just have to believe in yourself. It’s not cocky, it’s confidence."

(Read full post)

Forbath, Yount named to Senior Bowl

January, 10, 2011
1/10/11
6:23
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A pair of UCLA specialists will have an opportunity to showcase their skills in front of NFL talent evaluators in advance of this spring's draft.

Place kicker Kai Forbath and long snapper Christian Yount were selected Monday to play in the Under Armour Senior Bowl, which will be held Jan. 29 at Ladd-Peebles Stadium in Mobile, Ala. Both will suit up for the North squad.

Forbath, the 2009 Lou Groza Award winner, looks to improve his draft stock following a rather shaky senior season in which he went 13-for-18 (.722) on field goals. He had been 72-for-83 (.867) heading into last season. Forbath (85 career field goals) finished two shy of the NCAA career record.

Yount was UCLA's long snapper for all four years. In 2009 he became the first-ever long snapper to be named to the Playboy preseason All-American team.

The game and all practices will be televised by NFL Network.

Four Bruins earn All-American honors

December, 14, 2010
12/14/10
4:09
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Akeem Ayers, Rahim Moore, Jeff Locke and Christian Yount have earned All-American honors for their performances during the 2010 football season.

Ayers, a junior linebacker, was named third-team All-American by the Associated Press, second team All-American by Phil Steele's magazine and earned honorable mention accolades from Sports Illustrated.

Moore, a junior safety, was a third-team pick by the Associated Press and a fourth-team pick by Phil Steele's magazine.

Locke, a sophomore who ranked fifth in the nation with a 45.84 punting average, was named honorable mention by Sports Illustrated. Yount, a senior long snapper, was named to Steele's fourth team.

Practice report: Tuesday quick hits

November, 16, 2010
11/16/10
7:17
PM PT
UCLA wrapped up its practice week on a chilly Tuesday evening that should help get the Bruins ready for the Seattle weather they will face Thursday at Washington.

The forecast is for temperatures in the low 40s and a 50% chance of rain at game time, which actually plays into the Bruins’ hands. UCLA won games in the cold at Washington State and in the Eagle Bank Bowl last season and has developed a reputation as somewhat of a bad-weather team.

“But over the years UCLA has gone on the road—in my mind since I was a part of this program—and had some big success in bad weather,” Coach Rick Neuheisel said. “Hopefully we’re up to the task again.”

The fact that several players arrived at the practice field complaining about the cold might not be a good sign, but at least long snapper Christian Yount was getting ready for possible rain. He was squirting ball and the ground under the ball with water before snapping to holder Danny Rees during practice.

The offense didn’t go as far as to practice with wet balls, but Neuheisel acknowledged that he’d rely more on the Pistol running attack if rain comes.

“We’ve been able to be successful without much in the way of throwing the ball and we’ll see if we can do it again,” Neuheisel said. “But usually wet doesn’t mean you can’t throw, it just means you’ve got to keep the ball dry. But the ability to run the ball becomes more important, no question.”

A few tidbits:

The Bruins have been using an aggressive substitution pattern in the defensive backfield, so much so that it is difficult to tell who is getting first team reps and who is with the second team. Aaron Hester, Andrew Abbott, Sheldon Price and Courtney Viney have all been playing at corner. Tony Dye and Rahim Moore are the first team safeties, but Dietrich Riley, Dalton Hilliard, Stan McKay and Alex Mascarenas have gotten an uptick in reps.

“We’re fortunate that we’ve developed some depth with attrition,” Neuheisel said. “Some other guys have had to step up and become really good players for us so we want to make sure we keep everybody fresh. We know that [the Huskies are] a big play offense. They’ve got a lot of balls down the field type of air show and it’s important that we stay fresh.”

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Washington Coach Steve Sarkisian announced Tuesday night on his Twitter page that quarterback Jake Locker has been cleared to play.

Neuheisel never had a doubt. He has said all week that Locker would play.

Locker missed Washigton’s last game with a broken rib and even though he practiced this week, Washington remained mum on his status until Tuesday.

“That’s the biggest joke of all time,” Neuheisel said about an hour before Sarkisian's tweet. “The man is playing, I’m telling you. It’s just the way it is.”

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Linebacker Steve Sloan practiced with the second team defense all week and Neuheisel said he would be in the rotation Thursday. Receiver Nelson Rosario had a nice practice Tuesday and also looks ready to go.

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