UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone talked on Wednesday about freshman receiver Mossi Johnson, running back Paul Perkins’ pass-catching — and finally, the Bruins’ recent spate of turnovers.
The team has lost 10 turnovers this season, coughing up five of them against Oregon and Cal.
“It’s like that thing you don’t talk about, right?” Mazzone said. “Hope it goes away? Protecting the football, it’s all about the ball. … Over the past two weeks, that’s something that’s hit us.”
After starting quarterback Brett Hundley injured his left elbow in the first quarter, UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone dialed back the playbook. He opened it up at the perfect moment.
He called for receiver Jordan Payton to make a double-move down the left sideline. Backup quarterback Jerry Neuheisel saw the cornerback’s eyes, pump-faked, and threw a 33-yard dime for the go-ahead score. Bruins 20, Longhorns 17.
“It was kind of right on the tip of my tongue for two drives,” Mazzone said. I was kind of just waiting for the right time. … They started playing a little man (coverage), and I thought, ‘Hey, if we’re going to take a shot, this is how we’re going to take a shot with them.’”
UCLA’s offense looked awful in a season-opening 28-20 win at Virginia, scoring just once on quarterback Brett Hundley’s six-yard rushing touchdown. Still, offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone stayed positive.
“My glass is always half full,” he said. “In all my years, a lot of times, these kinds of games pay off a lot more in dividends in the course of the season than, you go and score 52 against some team, come back and don’t really realize who you are.”
» Despite Devin Lucien being sidelined by a head injury, UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone wasn’t concerned with the state of his receiving corps.
“I don’t look at this like, ‘Hey, these three guys are starters. These three guys are backups,’” he said Wednesday. “I’ve got about six guys out there that are all starters in my eyes. They kind of roll in, do their deal.”
Lucien finished his sophomore season strong, catching for 208 yards and a pair of touchdowns in the Bruins’ last five games. Without him lined up at outside, fellow camp standout Eldridge Massington would likely move into the starting lineup.
Junior Logan Sweet, who had three catches last year, also got first-team reps on Wednesday morning. Starting receiver Jordan Payton has practiced mostly at inside receiver the last few days due to other injuries, which helped open up a spot for Sweet.
“He’s really came a long ways from two years ago, when he first got here,” Mazzone said of Sweet. “He really figures into those top four or five guys at the outside for us.”
» Freshman quarterback Aaron Sharp participated in his first full practice after joining the team last night. Given how light the morning session was, however, the lefty didn’t get a chance to show off his arm. Continue reading