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Spaulding Roundup: Versatile Bruins, Shaq Looking Way Ahead & Honoring Pasquale at the Rose Bowl

News and notes from the UCLA football program as the Bruins continue to prepare for New Mexico State Aggies.

Harry How

Not much newsworthy stuff coming out of practice today. Per Coach Mora's comments Bruins continue to practice with focus as he told reporters he haven't seen "any drop" at practice even though the Bruins are not getting ready for a marquee OOC team (or a conference game) this Saturday.

Here are  Mora's comments from after practice:

The two main items of conversations were:

  • Mora was asked about the OL and he said that the coaches will try to stick with the current starting 5. Mora mentioned that the coaches will try to get Caleb Benenoch time at both guard and tackle given his versatility. But the emphasis remains on developing chemistry among the starting 5.
  • Mora mentioned how our OLBs - Anthony Barr, Myles Jack, Aaron Wallace, Kenny Orjioke, - provide so much versatility with their athleticism that coaches can move them around more freely in space and not just use them as pass-rushers. Mora then mentioned Jack apparently intercepted two passes in practice while covering receivers. He mentioned Wallace is athletic enough to play TEs.

Note the common theme in both of those bullet points - VERSATILITY. Other items of note or worth a read courtesy of local media on UCLA football:

New Mexico State is going to start a true freshman on Saturday. Per Jack Wang,  King Davis III is going to get the start who has passed for 210 yards and a TD this season. The Aggies are 0-3 this season. We will have more on them later this week.

Chris Foster has a long piece on Bruins playing with a fast tempo on offense and how our defensive guys have no issues with it. Foster connects with the overall trend of supercharged offenses in the Pa-12 courtesy of the Duckies, Arizona Wildcats under R-Rod, and now Cal trying to speed things up with Sonny Dykes. If you have been following college football closely stuff in there will be nothing new for you, but I guess interesting to casual observers.

Senior WR appeared on a local radio show. He came on ESPN Radio (710 AM) today and talked about number of topics dating back to his days from Notre Dame and his transfer to UCLA. Shaq talked about UCLA having a "different mindset" under Coach Mora and his staff, compared to the previous one. Shaq then looked a little far ahead to the Southern Cal (at the prompting of the commentators) and mentioned how he wanted payback for "0-50" from two years ago and "embarrass" them at the Coliseum.

I dunno. I guess swagger is good to have. But IMO it's way too early for this kind of talk. I like that we have the scoreboard on them from last year, but we haven't built the kind of program yet to talk like that. And even if Bruins finally restablish themselves as one of the elite powers in the West, not sure our guys need to go out and run their mouths, instead of letting their game do the talking. Just my 2 cents.

Moving on to the important stuff, Here is how the UCLA is planning to honor Nick Pasquale this weekend (per Chris Foster):

  • Paquale's jersey no. 36 will be the Rose Bowl turf the remainder of the season.
  • UCLA/Adidas are going to be handing out 30,000 "Pasquale towels" this Saturday and will also have t-shirts for sale. All proceeds for t-shirt sale will go to the Nick Pasquale Foundation.
  • Bruins will also present a framed jersey to his parents and brother during the first quarter.

Here is how the Pasquale towel looks like per Coach Mora:

And the t-shirts:

Can't think of better reasons for which to show up at this game.