The health of Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone is at the forefront of the minds of the UCLA Football players as the team is preparing to face Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl on December 26th.
Jack Wang of Inside Socal and the LA Daily News has an article posted which includes a video of both Jordan Payton and Thomas Duarte meeting with the media after today's practice.
Wang quotes Payton discussing Coach Mazzone's situation:
Coach Mazzone’s a fantastic dude. I love him to death. What he’s done here is unbelievable. Right now, it’s sad to see. I heard back yesterday that he was doing just fine. Today, I heard back again that he was doing great. Our coaches are holding it together. They’re doing a great job right now just patching things up, keeping the offense rolling.
Before discussing Coach Mazzone's situation, Duarte discussed that he put his name in for an NFL Draft evaluation.
When he was asked if he had done so, Duarte said:
I did. I'm just curious where I am falling in the draft with everybody leaving this year. At the end of the season, I evaluated my performance and how I did this year. Kind of like I said...curiousity. I just kind of entered my name. It's just an option. They provide it for outgoing juniors. [Right now] it's wait and see....I want to put all my focus into getting ready for Nebraska.
David Woods of Bruin Report Online has posted the full video of Thomas Duarte after today's practice. Thanks to David for sharing it.
On Coach Mazzone's health issue, Duarte echoed some of what Jordan Payton said about all the coaches pitching in. He added:
We send our prayers and wish Coach Mazzone a speedy recovery....We always want it to be soon, but we want him to take his time and really get well and back to 100%.
And, while those of us here at Bruins Nation may be critical of his performance on the field, we also send our prayers for a speedy recovery.