UCLA: Colorado

Taylor Embree wants bragging rights

November, 16, 2011
11/16/11
2:24
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Taylor Embree hadn't yet mastered the Pledge of Allegiance when his second-grade teacher asked him to recite it in front of the entire class. All eyes and ears were on Embree but he escaped the jam by improvising with something he knew well.

"I told her I didn't know the Pledge of Allegiance," Embree said, "but I could sing the CU fight song."

And the Colorado native did, leading his classmates through a rendition of "Fight CU." The UCLA receiver, though, claims he won't even think about humming the song Saturday when the Bruins host the Buffaloes at the Rose Bowl. As of Tuesday night, Taylor did not know whether his father, Colorado first-year head coach Jon Embree, planned on accompanying him for senior day festivities during pregame. Father and son are close -- they talk over the phone about six times a week -- but Taylor said he understands Jon has a job to do, which likely includes revving up the Buffs (2-9) before they take the field.

"We'll find out, but I know my mom is going to be nagging him to walk me out," Taylor said. "I told him I don't want him to use that as an excuse in the game. ... If he feels like he needs to get his team ready, that's fine. I'm just excited that he's even going to be on the field when I'm playing."

Taylor, who ranks fourth on the team with 13 catches for 152 yards, said he stayed up Monday night thinking about how cool it would be to add a football game to the list of things he's beaten his dad at. Billiards and video games? Check and check. Games of H-O-R-S-E? Check. The two stopped playing one-on-one basketball when Jon Embree, a tight end for the Buffaloes in the mid-1980s, realized his son could dunk.

Despite the importance of the home finale -- UCLA would move to 6-5 and become bowl eligible with a victory -- Taylor doesn't anticipate nerves to be an issue. But the senior knows emotions will intensify as kickoff nears, something UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel hopes his leading punt returner can control.

"It’s actually going to be one of those things that his family will look back on because it’s unique and it’ll be a positive memory," Neuheisel said. "He doesn’t need to worry about that portion of it, he just needs to make sure his last game at the Rose Bowl in a home uniform is a fantastic memory for him."

As for the song he knew at age 8?

"I'm going to be mad every time I hear that fight song at the game and I told my dad, too," Taylor said with a chuckle. "That song is going to be like a Trojans fight song to me. It's going to be annoying by the time the game is over."

Football: Tidbits from Pac-12 media day

July, 26, 2011
7/26/11
6:36
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LOS ANGELES -- The Pac-12 Conference released its first-ever preseason poll Tuesday, with UCLA picked to finish fifth out of six teams in the south division. The meager expectations didn't appear to affect the presence at coach Rick Neuheisel's media day lunch table, as a hoard of reporters huddled around to hear what he had to say.

One out-of-town reporter, clearly baffled, looked at the large group and whispered to another: "All of this for a coach that went 4-and-8 last year?"

Some tidbits from the inaugural Pac-12 media day:

(Read full post)

Football: Four to watch on Signing Day

February, 1, 2011
2/01/11
9:50
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UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel's latest recruiting class isn't as highly regarded as his other two. The stars aren't there and neither are the numbers.

UCLA has only 11 commitments heading into Wednesday's National Signing Day, the first day high school recruits can sign their letters. Three of the 2011 class members have already enrolled. Rebuilding is always a tough chore, but it has been particularly tougher this year with the various coaching uncertainties and the lull associated with a disappointing 4-8 season.

With that in mind, here are four UCLA targets Neuheisel wouldn't mind adding. These prospects are expected to make their announcements public on Wednesday:

LB Tony Steward (St. Augustine, Fla./Menendez)

The big fish is still out there and only three hooks are in the water. Steward, the top-rated inside linebacker and No. 9 overall player in the 2011 class, will choose between Florida State, Clemson and UCLA. He is scheduled to make his announcement on ESPNU's National Signing Day Special, at around 7:05 a.m. PT. Many believe Steward will stay close to home, but recruiting insider Jamie Newberg claims it's still a three-team race.

DE Jalen Grimble (Las Vegas, Nev./Bishop Gorman)

The longtime USC pledge re-opened his recruitment and it's now a battle between Miami (Fla.) and UCLA for the four-star prospect. Grimble is the cousin of USC tight end Xavier Grimble.

DT Kevin McReynolds (Washington, D.C./St. John's)

The four-star prospect is down to four schools -- UCLA, Mississippi State, Syracuse and Kansas State -- but Westwood is an intriguing option because McReynolds could potentially crack the rotation early. He visited the three other schools after visiting UCLA, so the Bruins might be at a disadvantage there.

WR Devin Lucien (Northridge, Calif./Crespi)

The three-star receiver didn't pick up an offer until last October, right about the time when he was breaking out for Encino Crespi. Lucien had a monster senior season (17 touchdown receptions), seemingly gaining a scholarship offer every time he reached the end zone. He's considering UCLA, Colorado, Arizona State, Miami and Kentucky.
Larry Scott discusses the new divisions as the Pac-10 grows to the Pac-12.video

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