News Column

UCLA Football Program Gets a New 'Assistant'

April 25, 2013

UCLA football is embracing a high-tech future.

The Bruins unveiled a new gizmo Wednesday: the CoachComm Tempo, a system that includes two Led Zeppelin-ready speakers and that can run the clock and scoreboard, simulate crowd noise, play music and be used to amplify the instructions of coaches.

"A lot of teams around the country are using this," Coach Jim Mora said. "Oregon uses it; Chip Kelly bought one when he went to [coach] Philadelphia. We talked to five or six coaches and they all said it would help practice efficiency."

Mora's biggest wish-list item remains a football-only house, with locker rooms, meeting rooms and a weight room.

"Hopefully we can break ground on it in the next year," he said.

The facility, which is to be built at Spaulding Field, is expected to cost between $40 million and $50 million. UCLA has also promised Steve Alford, the Bruins' new basketball coach, a practice facility that would be located near the tennis facility and may require the removal of a couple of courts.

The football facility is expected to come first.

Mora said that the Bruins current football facilities, "are certainly functional," but added, "there is a lot going on behind the scenes. Hopefully we can get something here quickly."

Mora plans to continue adding modern equipment. Next up: drones. Really.

"They've got drones that hover over the practice field with a video camera," Mora said. "It gives you another perspective, because you are looking down on things. That would be fantastic. You can see a different angle and depth. You can program it to move with the ball within the line of scrimmage."

The plan for facility improvements is an effort to keep pace in the recruiting game with other programs.

"Recruits look at uniforms and they look at facilities," Mora said.

Ian Tabler gets a chance

Replacing Y-back Joseph Fauria will be a chore for UCLA. Fauria, who is awaiting the NFL draft, had 46 receptions for 637 yards and 12 touchdowns last season.

"[Quarterback] Brett Hundley could really depend on Joe," Mora said. "He knew if he threw it anywhere close, Joe was going catch the ball."

Ian Tabler is getting a crack at replacing Fauria. Tabler is 6 feet 5 -- three inches shorter than Fauria -- but is a more solid blocker at 252 pounds.

"I'm going to try to do what he did, which was a lot," Tabler said. "I watched Joe and learned from him."

While Tabler is a better blocker than Fauria, he has yet demonstrate the same sticky fingers. He dropped two passes during practice Wednesday.

"When a quarterback throws it in there and you drop it, every time you do that you lose a tiny bit of credibility," Mora said. "Ian's got to be more consistent."

Jeff Baca awaits NFL draft

Guard Jeff Baca is projected as a fourth- or fifth-round pick in the NFL draft, which would be a historic moment for UCLA.

The Bruins have not had an offensive lineman drafted since Kris Farris was taken in the third round by the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1999.

"What [NFL] people like about Jeff is the fact he is versatile," Mora said. "He can play center, he can play guard and, in a pinch, he can play tackle."



Source: (c)2013 the Los Angeles Times. Distributed by MCT Information Services.


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