Rose Bowl Walk-Through: “It was a beautiful day”

The conference call with UCLA coach Jim Mora lasted maybe seven minutes, but I have little to share with you guys. UCLA held a walk-through today at the Rose Bowl that was closed to the public and media. The team arrived presumably early in the afternoon since Mora said it was “pretty warm when we first started.” But you had to know the picturesque backdrop of the San Gabriel Mountains coupled with the sun setting made it quite the scene at the Rose Bowl, and Mora — as I’m sure the rest of the team as well — took notice. “It was a beautiful day,” he said.

Mora was asked how the stadium looked: “The field is in amazing shape,” Mora said. “All the seats are in and they’re working hard on the press box.” As you know, the Rose Bowl currently is undergoing a $175 million renovation that will be completed in phases with as many as 280 crew members working throughout a 17-hour window. With 15 days left before UCLA’s home opener against Nebraska it looks promising.

Mora appears to be in game preparation himself, as evidence when asked how the three offensive linemen looked. Mora said that “they did great.” On Wednesday, linemen Jeff Baca, Greg Capella and Alberto Cid returned to the field in full pads and participated in individual drills for the first time since suffering concussions while in San Bernardino. Mora added that the trio did not participate in contact drills.

“We’re still tinkering with a couple spots along the offensive line,” Mora said, “but we’re settling in pretty much.”

Mora added that game plans are “just about complete” for Rice, which shares some similarities with the Bruins.

“They have an offense that’s up-tempo and splits the field much like ours does,” Mora said. “They’re fundamentally sound.”

Sam McGuffie figures to be an offensive threat for the Owls. He battled injuries last year but had a solid 2010 season when he led the team in receptions (39) and rushing (833 yards).

“If you look at him he reminds you of Steven Manfro a little bit,” Mora said. “He’s an excellent field runner, great quickness. They can hand him the ball and throw him the ball. It’s tough to defend him one-on-one.”

That’s it for now peeps. UCLA resumes practice Saturday at Spaulding Field. It’s closed to the public. I’ll be there, but I’m taking Sunday off. Someone at the DN will fill in for me, and I’ll be back Monday. Any questions feel free to hit me up on Twitter @MelendezSports

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