UCLA wishing the best for OC Noel Mazzone after hospitalization

UCLA’s players are hoping for a quick recovery for offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who was hospitalized this week.

“Coach Mazzone’s a fantastic dude,” senior receiver Jordan Payton said Wednesday. “I love him to death. What he’s done here is unbelievable. Right now, it’s sad to see. I heard back yesterday that he was doing just fine. Today, I heard back again that he was doing great.”

The school has not provided an update on Mazzone, 58, since issuing a statement on Tuesday night saying that the assistant coach is “resting comfortably” and “in good spirits.” According to Bruin Report Online, Mazzone was admitted to an intensive care unit due to a blood clot in his lung.

Junior Thomas Duarte, who leads the team with 10 touchdown catches, said he expects Mazzone to return in time for the Bruins’ Dec. 26 finale against Nebraska in the Foster Farms Bowl — but added that he doesn’t want the coordinator to rush back either.

“We always want it to be soon,” Duarte said. “But we want him to take his time and really get well, get back to 100 percent.”

Added Payton: “Our coaches are holding it together. They’re doing a great job right now just patching things up, keeping the offense rolling.”