— With no practices until Sunday, UCLA will take the rare weekend off to hit the recruiting trail. Linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich and receivers coach Eric Yarber are already on the road, and were absent from Thursday’s practice.
“It’s nice to go out 3-0,” head coach Jim Mora said. “People take a little more notice when you’re having success.”
The staff will get one more window to travel in-season next weekend after visiting Utah on Thursday.
— After rushing for 3.86 yards per carry under Karl Dorrell and 3.88 under Rick Neuheisel, UCLA’s running game has ticked up to a 4.74 average under Jim Mora. That the Bruins have maintained their success is a testament to offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, whose schemes emphasize creating space.
“When you spread the field and you make it wide, it’s tough to defend,” Mora said. “We’ve got guys doing a really nice job up front. Our receivers block well. …
“I think the more you can spread the field the way we do, it opens things up. Both the run and pass game. We’re pretty balanced right now, which I think is what you strive for.”
— Right guard Alex Redmond has continued to impress coaches and teammates. The true freshman from Los Alamitos High came on late in fall camp to lock down a starting spot, and has since entrenched himself on the line.
“He’s physical, he’s athletic, and he’s got a little bit of a mean streak to him — which I think you like in an offensive lineman,” Mora said. “He doesn’t seem to be overwhelmed at all. I was a little bit nervous at Nebraska, how he’d react in his first game on the road in an environment like that.”
— Defensive tackle Kenny Clark, who split high school wrestling matches against Redmond in CIF and Masters, has shined on the other side of the trenches.
Nose tackles don’t typically put up big stats, but Mora pointed out how stout Clark has been at the position — sometimes taking on two or three linemen: “They don’t roll him out of there.”
— Receiver Darren Andrews is battling a mild shoulder sprain, and wore a sling after practice. He is expected to practice at least lightly on Sunday, and should be ready to play against Utah.