Here are some news and notes from around the Pac-12:
- Coach Jim Mora said UCLA isn't going to reinvent the wheel for the Bruins' rematch with Stanford. Not enough time, not enough practice, and quite frankly, it's a bit insulting to a coach that has UCLA playing its best ball in more than a decade, writes Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register. Still, the Bruins know they need to throw in a couple of changes to optimize the "weaknesses" they saw in a Cardinal team that beat them 35-17.
"You can't revamp your entire offensive or defensive scheme in a week," Mora said. "There's things that you do as a team, and you do them repetitively, and that's why you become pretty good at them. At the same time, you've got to have wrinkles for every opponent, whether it's offensively or defensively. That's got to be our approach, and I'm sure it'll be their approach as well. It comes down to us ... playing to our best, our max potential."
- Not often does a position change lead to immediate greatness, but then again, not often is so much talent wasted in an undefined position. UCLA's Anthony Barr, though, didn't take long to adjust from his switch from F-back in the Bruins' woeful Pistol offense last season to outside linebacker and pass-rush specialist. Barr tied for the Pac-12 lead in sacks (12) and was named first-team all conference for his efforts. A special meeting with his new head coach last January turned out to be a stroke of fate, writes Kartje.
"It was one of those cosmic encounters," Mora said of the discussion to move Barr to linebacker. "It was exciting. We saw a lot of potential in him at that position, but we never knew what he could become until (training camp in) San Bernardino because he missed so much of spring."
- Two coaches with NFL backgrounds, Mora and Stanford's David Shaw, are not so foreign to the concept of playing the same team in back-to-back weeks. But around college football? Pretty rare, as Gary Klein of the Los Angeles Times noted. Citing the website FootballGeography.com, Klein details that the unique UCLA/Stanford rematch will be the first time since 1935 that two major college teams will play each other in consecutive games in the same season.
Perhaps Bruins senior defensive lineman Datone Jones put it best to Klein: "It's crazy. I feel like this is an NBA game, where we're in a best-of-seven."
- As if Stanford needs anything more to be intimidating, the Cardinal will play in their black uniforms against the Bruins on Friday, Tom FitzGerald of the San Francisco Chronicle reported. Stanford has had much success in the jerseys, winning all three games, and the players feel the psychological edge. Shaw told FitzGerald that the players decided to switch it up, not the coaches.