We are getting close to gameday and the final regular season home game of the 2013 season for UCLA. Coach Mora met with the media after this morning's practice. (video via UCLA Athletics YouTube)
He mentioned that the team has looked good all week on the practice field, and that he hopes for a good crowd to help send the seniors out on their last home game - and hopes to get the team in position to give the seniors one more game on that field (on new year's day).
The good news is that for the first time since early in conference play, the Bruin running backs are close to full strength. Damien Thigpen is a question mark for Saturday, but otherwise that unit should be back loaded. Jordon James looked good and healthy in practice throughout the week and should play on Saturday. Mora admited that he made a mistake in allowing Jordon to come back to play against Colorado, where an aggravation of his ankle injury caused him to miss the last 2 games.
Malcolm Jones was medically cleared to play after leaving the Washington game with what appeared to be a hit to either the back of his head or neck. Paul Perkins also had done well this week on the practice field and should be ready to go. In an attempt to fool the media and our opponents in Tempe that fooled absolutely nobody, Mora said that Myles Jack's usage on offense is a ‘play it by ear' thing. After conceding that Myles will get a few touches, he noted the importance of balancing the usage of the 'dofense' package with Jack's full workload on defense - Myles was drained in the 4th quarter last week, and Mora noted that he needs to better manage that workload.
In other injury news, Simon Goines is making progress and might dress for Saturday's game, though Mora described that possibility as a hell of a bonus. In his LA Times piece today, Chris Foster interpreted those comments as a sign that he is likely to play - while I like that optimism from Foster, sadly I can't agree with his take. Devin Fuller's availability will be a gametime decision.
Foster also wrote a piece looking at the paths that Brett Hundley and Taylor Kelly have taken in leading their teams to the top of the Pac-12 South. Today also saw UCLA announce that plans for the Jim Mora-inspired football facility has taken another step forward, with ZGF Architects - the group that designed
the Eugene Ritz-Carlton Oregon's football facility - being picked to plan the new facility.