UCLA (5-2, 2-2 Pac-12) will take advantage of its bye week following a 21-14 win over Utah to give the team’s starters some time to rest, as well as provide an opportunity for younger players to get more involved in practices.
Rest v. rust
Coach Jim Mora said that he felt his team was in a good place following Tuesday’s practice, but recognized that his players were in need of some time to recuperate.
“We got the starters a little bit of work, a lot of individual work, very little teamwork, trying to give them a chance to heal,” Mora said.
Redshirt senior nose tackle Donovan Carter appreciated the timing of the bye week, but added that the team is not by any means taking a vacation.
“We’re trying to enjoy a little time off, but we’re always going to work on ASU. Even though it’s a bye, we’re going to get ready for them as soon as possible,” Carter said.
Junior defensive end Owa Odighizuwa echoed Carter’s sentiments about the bye week.
“It’s a time where you want to get your guys who are playing frequently to recover, but you want to get better technique-wise and get back to the basics, and get the younger guys chances to get better,” Odighizuwa said.
Put me in, coach
Mora emphasized that for now, the team is working on their game plan and not starting to prepare specifically for Arizona State.
As for Thursday’s practice ““ which will be an opportunity for the younger players to scrimmage ““ Mora took that page from the playbook of Cal coach Jeff Tedford.
“I asked him what they do during the bye week, and he said on Thursday they have the young guys scrimmage and that sounded like a good idea,” Mora said. After a pause, he added, “I should listen to him because he whooped my butt.”
While UCLA will be able to wind down and watch the younger players scrimmage, there will be none of that for Arizona State on Thursday night. They will host No. 2 Oregon on ESPN, and both teams are coming off 50-plus point wins.
Freshman tackle Simon Goines left the Utah game in the second half, but Mora said he should be cleared to return to action against Arizona State.
“Simon’s going to be OK; they did an MRI and they didn’t find anything serious enough to keep him out. He might get some work (today) but that remains to be seen,” Mora said.
Mora added that junior safety Dietrich Riley was cleared for all non-contact aspects of practice but would remain on the sidelines for now.
Redshirt freshman tackle Torian White underwent a heart procedure Tuesday, but Mora said he planned to play against Arizona State.