Jim Mora: Lack of clarity on Brett Hundley doesn’t give UCLA edge

As he has for most of the past week, UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley practiced on Tuesday with a brace covering his left elbow — the one he injured in a 20-17 win against Texas 10 days ago.

And as he has for most of the past week, UCLA head coach Jim Mora didn’t offer many details: “He’s been limited. He’s done a few things. He’s worked a little bit.” He said again that he is relying on the team’s medical staff to determine if Hundley is ready — a decision that could stretch, naturally, as late as Thursday evening.

Mora added that the lack of clarity surrounding his star quarterback’s health doesn’t give UCLA any sort of tactical advantage heading into Thursday’s 7 p.m. kickoff at Arizona State, particularly given who the Sun Devils’ head coach is. Continue reading

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UCLA fullback Nate Iese talks about offensive role

After turning his lone catch last season into a touchdown, UCLA fullback Nate Iese has become a more dangerous offensive weapon.

He still doesn’t touch the ball often, but whenever the 6-foot-3, 250-pound redshirt sophomore does, it’s usually worth watching. Iese has two games with multiple catches, grabbing a pair of passes in the Bruins’ season opener at Virginia and another pair in their 20-17 win against Texas more than a week ago. His first catch of the season went for 17 yards; his fourth was a three-yard touchdown from backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel.

Iese credited that latter play to how wary the Longhorns defense was of UCLA’s jumbo package — one that lines linebacker Myles Jack as a tailback. Jack only has eight carries for 21 yards this season, but when he does come it, it still sucks defenses in towards the line of scrimmage.

“They bite up on the run so much, the back of the end zone is always left open,” Iese said. “We saw that early on in the game.” Continue reading

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UCLA safety Randall Goforth to undergo shoulder surgeries

UCLA safety Randall Goforth will miss the season after separating both shoulders earlier this year. He is pictured practicing in San Bernardino on Aug. 5, 2014. ( John Valenzuela/The Sun)

UCLA safety Randall Goforth will miss the season after separating both shoulders earlier this year. He is pictured practicing in San Bernardino on Aug. 5, 2014. ( John Valenzuela/The Sun)

UCLA will lose safety Randall Goforth for the season to shoulder injuries, leaving the Bruins without one of their four returning starters.

According to the Los Angeles Times, Goforth will have the first of two shoulder surgeries this week. The junior had separated his left shoulder during preseason training camp, then separated his right shoulder in UCLA’s 42-35 win over Memphis on Sept. 6.

Since Goforth played in fewer than three contests, he should be eligible for a medical hardship waiver if he sits out the rest of the season. Continue reading

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Center Jake Brendel talks about being featured on ‘The Drive’

Pac-12 Networks made UCLA the focus of its docu-series “The Drive” this season, and Mora has pointed out numerous times that the film crew has been very unobtrusive in their day-to-day work.

That hasn’t prevented the Bruins from ribbing one another when one of them is featured. The half-hour weekly show usually begins with an individual feature, and the latest subject was center Jake Brendel — a Harley-riding Dallas-area native whose maturity was played up as the show recapped UCLA’s 20-17 win against Texas.

“It’s never good to be that one guy,” Brendel said. “At the same time, it’s something that someone’s got to do. So I guess I’ll take the hit on that one.”

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Jim Mora: If doctors clear Brett Hundley, he’ll play at Arizona State

Brett Hundley’s status remains unclear for UCLA’s Thursday night game at Arizona State, but the star quarterback appears to be making some progress.

The redshirt junior dressed for practice again on Sunday. He entered without anything covering his injured left elbow, but was spotted with a brace over it later.

After vowing not to reveal any injury updates until the 7 p.m. kickoff in Tempe, head coach Jim Mora deferred to the team’s medical staff when asked about Hundley.

“All of our players that are out, what we try to do is try to make the best decision for them based on the knowledge that we have,” Mora said. “We depend on our doctors to give us good information. We’ve got the best doctors in America, in my opinion.”

“If they clear him and they say that he can play, just like everybody else, we’ll play him.”

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First look: Arizona State Sun Devils

No. 11 UCLA Bruins (3-0) vs. No. 15 Arizona State Sun Devils (3-0)
Kickoff: 7 p.m. PT, Sun Devil Stadium (Tempe, Ariz.)
TV: FOX Sports 1 (Tim Brando, Joel Klatt, Jenny Taft)
Radio: AM 570 / SIRIUS 108 (Chris Roberts, Matt Stevens, Wayne Cook)

Coach: Remember when Todd Graham looked like the biggest turncoat in college football?

A little more than a year ago, ESPN’s anonymous poll of 92 college football players found that 14 percent said Graham was the last coach they’d want to play for — beating out Lane Kiffin by three percent.

But Graham only needed two seasons to win a Pac-12 South title, endearing himself to the Arizona State fan base and pushing his messy departure from Pitt deeper into the newspaper archives. ASU has compensated him handsomely for that success — paying him around $800,000 in performance bonuses for the 2013 season.

Key players:

QB Mike Bercovici, Jr., 6-1, 200 — 9/17, 79 yards, 1 TD, 0 INT, 7 carries, 12 rushing yards
– Once considered Brock Osweiler’s heir apparent until Taylor Kelly won out, Bercovici finally gets his chance to start in the wake of Kelly’s foot injury. He’s not the same type of running threat as Kelly (ASU’s second-leading rusher at 19 carries for 168 yards) but Bercovici has a strong arm and has been in the program for years.

RB D.J. Foster, Jr., 5-11, 205 — 54 carries, 510 rushing yards, 5 TD, 11 catches, 139 receiving yards, 1 TD
– Looks like a workhorse back capable of racking up yards after contact. Averages 216.3 all-purpose yards per game, good for second in the country and one spot ahead of Georgia’s Heisman candidate Todd Gurley. Continue reading

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Pac-12 links: How does Marcus Mariota look as an NFL prospect?

» Greg Bedard looks at the NFL stock of Marcus Mariota, who “may project as the best dual-threat quarterback ever to come out of college.”

» How exactly did Boston College rack up 452 rushing yards against USC?

» Mike Leach’s morning path to his office requires a hike through a garbanzo bean field, which is somehow not surprising at all.

» Former Utah defensive tackle Ma’ake Kemoeatu donated his kidney to his younger brother, Chris. Continue reading

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