UCLA will be the only program featured on the Pac-12 Networks' documentary series "The Drive" this season, it was announced yesterday. Unlike last year, when Arizona State and California were both featured on the program. this year will focus solely on the Bruins.
"UCLA will be the star of the show," Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans said.
The series is comprised of 15 weekly 30-minute shows that take an inside look at a college football program. UCLA was chosen, according to the Pac-12 Networks' spokesman, because of the many compelling personalities and characters on the team: Heisman trophy candidate Brett Hundley, offensive and defensive star Myles Jack, and players like Eldridge Massington, who are trying to return from injury to star on the field.
Jim Mora, who has made no secret of the fact that he considers the internal workings of his team not suited for public consumption, said that he's comfortable with the idea of the show for a very simple reason.
"We have complete editorial control," Mora said. "Can I say that? If something goes on there that I didn't approve, that'll be the last show."
Mora said that he didn't consider the cameras and publicity an intrusion because, first, he will have complete editorial control, and second, because the players so often have cameras in their faces at all times that one additional crew shouldn't cause too much trouble.
Brett Hundley talked about the opportunity to have something tangible to look back on when the players are done with their football careers.
"Honestly, I truly believe this is going to be one of the coolest experiences to look back on in 15 years when everyone's done playing football," Hundley said. "We can look back and say
'this is what I did.'"
There's also the recruiting aspect. With UCLA featured every week on the Pac-12 Networks, providing an inside look at Mora's coaching style and the way the team interacts, Hundley thinks that it should have a big impact on recruiting.
"[Just watching the trailer right now] that was probably the sweetest thing I've seen," Hundley said. "I got goosebumps. I can just imagine how recruits will go 'that's where I want to go.'"
Here's a look at the trailer for season 2 of The Drive:
Official Press Release:
SAN FRANCISCO, CALIF. (April 28, 2014) – Following a successful series debut in 2013, Pac-12 Networks' ambitious documentary series The Drive: Pac-12 Football returns for a second season this fall and focuses on the 2014 UCLA Bruins football program.
Season two of The Drive will debut in early September 2014 and consist of fifteen 30-minute weekly episodes airing across all seven Pac-12 Networks, offering an unprecedented look inside UCLA football, from the first whistle of training camp to the Bruins' final game.
Different from season one, where the series split time between Arizona State and California football programs, UCLA Bruins players and coaches will be the primary focus throughout the college football season, with Pac-12 Network film crews capturing the ins and outs of their lives, both on and off the field.
"The high expectations, coupled with the talent and personalities surrounding the 2014 UCLA football team, creates an opportunity for the Pac-12 Networks to capture an incredible sophomore season of The Drive," said Pac-12 Networks President Lydia Murphy-Stephans. "Coach Mora has brought UCLA back to prominence with a new, unique identity. And, the unpredictable stories that unfold throughout a football season will provide viewers with an inside look at a first-class football program in a most compelling way."
Following a convincing 42-12 victory over Virginia Tech and a school record-tying 10-win season, the Bruins finished 2013 ranked 16th in the nation and early polls place UCLA in the Top-10 to start the 2014 season.
Head coach Jim Mora's squad returns Heisman Trophy candidate Brett Hundley behind center, who has taken full ownership of his role as a leader heading into the season. In addition to Hundley, the program returns an immense amount of talent on both sides of the ball, including the first-ever Pac-12 Offensive/Defensive Freshman of the Year in Myles Jack. With freshman All-Americans Eddie Vanderdoes and Alex Redmond combined with defensive standouts Eric Kendricks and Kenny Clark, not to mention the return of Eldridge Massington and Owamagbe Odighizuwa from season ending injuries a year ago, the Bruins have all the key components to contend for a Pac-12 Title when their season opens Saturday, August. 30 at Virginia.
"Being part of The Drive is obviously a great way to showcase the program that we have been building here at UCLA," said Mora. "But more importantly, this is an opportunity for our student-athletes to be part of a show that is dedicated to highlighting their hard work and effort while also giving them an opportunity to tell their story. Someday, when they're old like me, they will have a copy of The Drive, sit their kids down and be able to share these memories with them in a very tangible way."
Season one of The Drive redefined all-access sports programming with Pac-12 Networks production teams mastering aggressive editing timelines to turn around 30 minutes of all-access content in a 3-5 day window. Each installment captured exclusive footage and sound from games and practices, as well as a glimpse of what life is like for players and coaches away from the field; From moments at home with family and friends to the time spent in the classroom and on campus, fans receive a complete picture of life during the college football season for individuals in and around the program.
"The debut season of The Drive hit all the right notes in showing fans the dedication and sacrifice, as well as the fulfillment student-athletes and coaches experience when building championship-caliber sport programs," said Murphy-Stephans. "We were extremely grateful for the trust that California and Arizona State put in the Pac-12 Networks last season to give fans an honest look at what goes into a season, and we're very excited for the opportunity to partner with UCLA on season two."
Pac-12 Networks' Senior Coordinating Producer Michael Tolajian will again lead the production team that features Emmy Award-winning producer Jim Jorden and Pac-12 Networks analyst Yogi Roth.
With over 25 years of production experience, Tolajian joined Pac-12 Networks in April 2013. He previously spent 13 years at the helm of his own production company, BonaFide Films, where he served a variety of roles on productions for ESPN ‘30 for 30,' HBO, FOX, TNT, NBA, MLB, NHL and Showtime. Tolajian earned two Emmys as a producer on projects for NBA Entertainment/Turner and HBO's Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel.
Jorden adds an additional 25 years of production experience and 16 Emmy nods, working on productions for a bevy of networks including ESPN, NBC, FOX, TNT, HBO and SPEED. He spent 15 years as a producer and video editor for NFL Films, working on several of their award-winning series such as Hard Knocks, NFL Films Presents, Road to the Super Bowl and Inside the NFL. Prior to Signal Studios, Jorden spent seven years as Managing Director/Executive Producer of Production for NASCAR Media Group. During that time he spearheaded the production of 69 series and seven feature length documentaries.
In addition to his role as an analyst with Pac-12 Networks and previous stint as an assistant football coach at USC, Roth holds several production credits on projects for NFL Films and ESPN. He also co-authored the book Win Forever alongside current Seattle Seahawks head coach and former USC head coach Pete Carroll, which ranked as high as No. 7 on The New York Times bestsellers' list.
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