– Many Bruins still have last year’s back-to-back Stanford games fresh in their minds: UCLA’s 35-17 loss at home followed by a 27-24 heartbreaker in the Pac-12 Championship. Head coach Jim Mora is trying to make sure it doesn’t become their primary focus this weekend.
“I hope that — I think somewhere deep down in their psyche is payback, payback, payback,” he said. “But if you make that your main motivation, I think you make a mistake. You have to focus on this game, this year, and what it’s going to take to win this game, this year.”
His role as a coach will be to talk to the team the right way in order to instill calm heading into the weekend.
“You don’t necessarily whip them into a frenzy on a Tuesday,” Mora said. “You let it slowly build so you create the right mindset going into a game.”
– Defensive end Ellis McCarthy is expected to play at Stanford after sitting out last Saturday with a head injury. The sophomore returned to practice Tuesday with a red, non-contact jersey. Receiver Darren Andrews (shoulder) also wore a red jersey, and will likely play against the Cardinal.
Running back Jordon James (ankle) is still wearing a boot on his right foot and is doubtful for this weekend, so redshirt freshman Paul Perkins will likely log his second career start.
Senior Y-receiver Darius Bell left practice with an injury. He was not visibly hurt as he walked into the locker room.
“He took a good hit over there and his ankles buckled,” Mora said.
– The Pac-12 has not contacted UCLA regarding defensive end Cassius Marsh, who was ejected near the end of the first half against Cal. Jim Mora does not expect an additional suspension.
– Mora went over the mistakes from UCLA’s Pac-12 Championship loss last year that still stand out to him: “The interception. We dropped a ball in the flat on that last drive. A less than perfect snap by one of the best snappers I’ve ever been around, Kevin (McDermott). I probably made a mistake by clocking it on that last drive rather than getting up and going again. I was trying to weigh 3rd-and-4 versus time management.”
– Stanford’s physical offensive line and tight-end sets will be a challenge for UCLA’s defensive line, which has performed well so far despite rotating in three true freshmen. Mora said he likes capping the linemen at roughly 50 snaps per game to keep them fresh.
– Arguably Mora’s best quote of the day: “There’s no little Johnnies on any offensive lines that we play. Certainly not this week.”