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Hundley: UCLA can rise to title contention

Published on NewsOK Modified: August 12, 2014 at 5:57 pm •  Published: August 12, 2014

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Brett Hundley believes his whole football career has been building to this season at UCLA, and he wasn't about to leave before he found out what comes next.

"You look too far ahead, and you don't realize what a moment you have in front of you," Hundley said. "I didn't want to leave before I felt like it was time to go."

That's why the quarterback blew off the NFL for a year to lead a loaded Bruins roster in search of a Pac-12 title and more this fall.

Hundley isn't alone in his excitement about the next step in coach Jim Mora's three-year construction of a national title contender in Westwood. After two winning seasons punctuated by victories over rival Southern California and ensuing bowl trips, the Bruins are loaded with talent and experience at key positions, making them the preseason favorite in the Pac-12 South.

"We've done something at UCLA," said Hundley, the two-year starter. "We've helped build something, but it won't mean anything if we don't finish what we start. You can't get complacent when you have a little success."

Mora is equally excited about the Bruins' chances, but the veteran coach is guarding against too much excitement about a team that seems ready to take the next step to national prominence.

"Our success right now, in my opinion, is still very limited," Mora said. "We haven't won the Pac-12 championship. We're 0-3 against Stanford. I don't want our players to feel like we're extra special and we've accomplished the goals we set out to accomplish."

Indeed, the Bruins haven't won a league title since 1998. But with Sports Illustrated cover boy Hundley leading a wealth of young talent, UCLA is primed for its best chance yet to get back on top.

Hundley has devoted himself to the maximization of that opportunity, spending the summer in constant study and preparation. Mora has returned the commitment by increasing his attempts to prepare Hundley for the NFL.

The quarterback spent time with innumerable NFL veterans and current stars in the offseason at camps and on UCLA's campus, working with everybody from Donovan McNabb and Tim Tebow to current stars Peyton Manning and Philip Rivers.

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