UCLA finished off its Arizona State week preparation with practice today at Spaulding. Here were Coach Mora's comments after practice:
The reporters tried to prod him a bit on whether Bruins had any advantage coming off a bye week. Well more like Chris Foster kept badgering him with stupid questions. Mora didn't have much to say about Peter Yoon provided more info. on UCLA's troubles coming a week off:
UCLA in recent years hasn't fared too well after a week off. The Bruins were 0-4 following bye weeks under Rick Neuheisel and were outscored, 191-41 in those games. Dating to 2001, UCLA is 7-9 following a bye week and location seems to be the determining factor. The Bruins are 7-3 at home following a bye and 0-6 on the road.
Mora interestingly offered the "young" excuse heading into Saturday, saying that Arizona State is a bit "older" than UCLA. Not sure how much of that is going to fly given the Sun Devils are also playing this year with a brand new quarterback, head coach and his new staff. As Mora said it will come down to execution on Saturday. And, hopefully the Bruins are well prepared by Mora and his staff given that they understand that this game is a must win for the program to move towards the right direction in Mora's first season.
Moving on, we have some good news for Mora as the Bruins head out to Tempe. It looks like Jerry Johnson is set to get back in the Bruins' offense this weekend per Foster:
"He gives us a little bit more of a vertical threat, so we can stretch the field," Mora said. "We need explosive plays. The offense is capable of it. The last couple weeks isn't where we want to be."
Johnson has 15 receptions for 155 yards and one touchdown this season.
Well that certainly helps Brett Hundley and the Bruins' receiving corps. He will give Hundley and Noel Mazzone another weapon to work with this weekend. Speaking of Mazzone Doug Heller of the Arizona Republic has this profile on the former Sun Devils OC.
Staying with the Sun Devils, according to Tyler Lockman of Fox Sports Arizona Will Sutton's status for UCLA game is still bit up in the air:
Defensive tackle Will Sutton (bone bruise) dressed for practice again Wednesday but still did not participate. He has been conditioning on the sidelines but not running. Senior right guard Andrew Sampson (right ankle) was out of a walking boot but also was held out of walkthroughs while conditioning on the sidelines. The status of both for Saturday's game remains undetermined.
As we have maintained all along, UCLA coaches should have the team prepared with the mindset of Sutton going all out on Saturday. Also, if you click on Lockman's report you will get a kick out of the name of the new kicker for Arizona State.