— UCLA coach Jim Mora played it coy Thursday when asked about his starting offensive line, hinting that left tackle Simon Goines (MCL) could still be available at Oregon on Saturday. The sophomore did not practice Thurday, nor did senior Y-receiver Darius Bell.
— Though Mora didn’t talk about the likelihood of starting three true freshmen on his line, he said that the position was “without a doubt” the most difficult for a first-year player. A less-than-stellar offensive line is difficult to hide schematically, and freshmen must also account for defenses that can shift right before a snap.
“So many things happen so quickly,” Mora said. “You’ve got big guys right across from you breathing down on you that are trying to get to your quarterback, or disrupt your play.”
— Mora also talked about the value of offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, who became a fierce college recruiter not long after six-year NFL career with the New England Patriots and the Green Bay Packers. The line was arguably the team’s biggest problem area when Mora’s staff arrived, and Klemm’s ability to work with the young linemen has been instrumental in its rebuild.
“He’ll get into them on the practice field,” Mora said. “But a half hour later, they’re all up there sitting there, eating lunch in his office. He’s got a unique relationship with these guys. …
“He’s been an offensive lineman at the highest level. He’s won three Super Bowl rings. So he really understands the position, not only from a technical standpoint, but from the psyche of an offensive lineman. He’s able to convey that to those guys.”
— Running back Jordon James (ankle) is again doubtful for Saturday, but a return could be looming for the Colorado game on Nov. 2.