Rice Jr., the son of the NFL's all-time leading receiver, is getting a shot to earn some playing time and is again impressing. He set career highs last week against Colorado with three catches for 30 yards as the coaches called upon the walk-on junior to help fill the void left by injured freshman Devin Lucien. He also made some nice downfield blocks and is expected to again be a factor when the Bruins face California on Saturday.
It is worth mentioning that Rice Jr. had couple of penalties that really cost UCLA. One of them was a holding penalty that wiped out a 20-25 yard run by Jordon James, and he had another illegal block which erased a long punt return by Manfro.
I imagine Rice is probably more upset about those mistakes than any of us. The kid seems to a chip off the old block. Those of us who were fortunate to follow the Niners closely during their halcyon decade of 80s and early 90s remember well how "Flash 80" paid close attention to every detail of the game. Rice Jr. is hoping to do the same. More from Yoon:
"When guys go down, I just try to make the most of my opportunity whether it's blocking or catching," Rice said. I'm progressing pretty well. I'm learning a lot of things every day and there are things every day I can work on. I'm just trying to do the little things to become more polished."
This season, he has played in four of UCLA's five games and has four catches for 38 yards. Three of his six career catches have resulted in first downs, including his career-long 20-yard reception in the fourth quarter last week that set up a UCLA touchdown.
If he can "clean up" (that phrase again) his mistakes, he could emerge as a formidable option in this Mazzone offense. And boy, it will be something if we get to see a "Rice" catching a Hundley slant and then streaking down the sidelines. Good times.