UCLA’s Mora: Diddy’s son still on football team after dustup
BURBANK, Calif. (AP) — After a tumultuous offseason at UCLA, coach Jim Mora and the Bruins are eager to get back to football.
The Bruins were in the news for all the wrong reasons in recent months, from the suspension and reinstatement of offensive line coach Adrian Klemm to the arrest of incoming freshman Soso Jamabo in Texas.
But for sheer weirdness and the accompanying media spotlight, nothing compared to hip-hop mogul Sean “Diddy” Combs’ arrest for an alleged fight with assistant strength coach Sal Alosi in the weight room last month. Diddy, the father of defensive back Justin Combs, is still waiting to hear whether he’ll face misdemeanor charges.
At the first day of the Pac-12′s football media summit Thursday at Warner Bros. Studios, Mora provided no revelations about the incident. While declining several invitations to discuss the dust-up, Mora confirmed Justin Combs is still on the team heading into his junior year, saying the Bruins “have had no changes to our roster.”
“Well, really nothing has changed,” center Jake Brendel. “It’s just been business as usual, really. We got a new lock on the weight room, but that’s it.”
With the new season just five weeks away, the Bruins insist they haven’t been distracted by those offseason occurrences. The focus is on football, not the media attention that can surround a school next door to Hollywood.
“Things are going to come up that might set the team back publicly, but you can’t let that affect your 3-foot world, your 3-foot space,” Brendel said. “I feel like in these times, if you just focus on yourself and the team’s goals, then you shouldn’t have a problem.”
The Bruins are getting accustomed the potential pitfalls posed by TMZ, tabloids and paparazzi.
“I think it’s just a result of being where we are,” Brendel said. “If we were in the middle of nowhere, that doesn’t always happen. The media is centralized around our city and around our campus, so there’s a lot more eyes on us than there is other places.”
UCLA’s on-field story lines this season include a quarterback competition and a new defensive coordinator.
With Brett Hundley now in the NFL, freshman quarterback Josh Rosen will compete with redshirt juniors Jerry Neuheisel and Mike Fafaul. Mora expects to make a decision following the team’s training camp, which will again be held in San Bernardino.
“With regards to the quarterback situation, I think the one thing that gives me comfort is the fact that we’ve got a pretty veteran group around (Rosen),” Mora said. “It’s very unlike Brett’s situation from a few years ago when he had to step in and do a lot. Whoever is taking snaps from Jake can depend on those around him maybe a little bit more than Brett was able to do. So that gives me a little bit of comfort.”
Bradley brings a wealth of experience after spending more than 30 years on the sidelines at Penn State under late head coach Joe Paterno.
“It’s the emphasis on the small things and how wise he is,” linebacker Deon Hollins said. “I wouldn’t even call him smart, because everyone in Division I is smart. All of the coaches are smart. But in terms of how he applies things, I think he’s one of the best in the business.”
The Bruins are no strangers to media scrutiny, but they’re ready for the attention to turn back to the field.
“I think we’re a team that has potential,” Mora said. “I think we have a gigantic unanswered question at a prominent position, quarterback. I think we’ve got a group of men that are very dedicated to trying to be the best that they can be, and we have to maintain that focus.”