Despite a wide receiver corps depleted by suspension, UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said he was unsure if he would use freshman Devin Lucien against Cal at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
With senior Taylor Embree, junior Randall Carroll and sophomores Ricky Marvray and Shaq Evans suspended for their roles in starting and escalating a mid-field brawl at the end of the first half in the Bruins’ 48-12 loss at Arizona on Thursday, the Bruins are down to just seniors Nelson Rosario and Josh Smith, junior Jerry Rice Jr. and Lucien, who has maintained his redshirt.
Neuheisel added that junior wide receiver Jerry Johnson could be available after returning from a fractured ankle suffered last year and that F-back Jordon James can play oustside, as well.
“It’s a precarious situation, that’s true,” Neuheisel said, “but we feel like with our athletes and some of the stuff we can do in the running game we can neutralize the effect of it.”
Neuheisel said that the decision to use Lucien, who starred at Crespi and looked ready for the game during fall camp, will be a group discussion.
“No, he’s not off the table, but it’s important that that be a family decision,” Neuheisel said. “Devin has sat for the entire year, we thought for a redshirt. These guys are going to be back after one game so I want to make sure we are doing something prudent for Devin. And making sure that he understands what the situation exactly is. We’ll certainly talk about that and talk about it with Devin.”
Neuheisel also said he was “not going to second-guess” the league on the suspensions, which also included a two-game suspension for sophomore defensive tackle Cassius Marsh and a half-game penalty for sophomore offensive guard Alberto Cid. Four Arizona players were suspended for their roles in the brawl as well, which broke out after a streak disrupted the game with four seconds left in the first half and the Bruins trailing 42-7.
“I’m disappointed it took place,” Neuheisel said. “Circumstances were nothing short of bizarre.”