UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone returns to practice

UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone returned to practice on Thursday morning, after being hospitalized earlier this week.

The 58-year-old had been with the Bruins on Monday, but missed their Tuesday and Wednesday sessions.

“It was great,” said left tackle Conor McDermott. “I love seeing him out there. I was in the middle of the second team period, I turn around and see him, I raised my hand up — ‘Coach Mazzone!’ …

“We were praying for him and worrying about him, of course. We’re happy he’s back.”

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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.”

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Report: UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone in ICU

UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone has been admitted to an intensive care unit for a blood clot in his lung, according to Bruin Report Online.

“Coach Mazzone is resting comfortably, in good spirits and looking forward to getting back with the team as soon as possible,” a UCLA spokesperson said.

The school declined to confirm or comment on any further details, citing privacy. Mazzone, 58, is in his fourth season on UCLA’s coaching staff.

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UCLA led Pac-12 public schools by paying assistants nearly $4 million

UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone (left) was the Bruins' highest-paid assistant in 2015, and the second-highest among Pac-12 public schools. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff)

UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone (left) was the Bruins’ highest-paid assistant in 2015, and the second-highest among Pac-12 public schools. (Michael Owen Baker/Staff)

UCLA paid its assistant football coaches just under $3.97 million in 2015. That figure, according to USA Today’s database, puts the Bruins at the top of Pac-12 public schools.

The team’s highest-paid assistants were offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, who took in $864,000, and offensive line coach Adrian Klemm at $760,000. They ranked second and third in the Pac-12 behind Arizona State offensive coordinator Mike Norvell ($950,085), who recently became the head coach at Memphis.

First-year defensive coordinator Tom Bradley was tied for 10th in the conference, making $510,000. The Bruins’ lowest-paid assistant was linebackers coach Scott White ($85,000).

Oregon had the next-highest assistant payroll among Pac-12 public schools, doling out just over $3.69 million. Washington, Arizona State and Arizona were the only others to top $3 million.

As private schools, Stanford and USC were not required to disclose assistant coach contracts.

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USC 40, UCLA 21: Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone

Against a USC defense that elected to stay in man coverage, No. 22 UCLA couldn’t get enough offensive traction to prevent a 40-21 loss at the Coliseum on Saturday.

Asked if he was surprised that the Trojans didn’t show as much zone, Bruin offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said: “It’s always the same thing offensively. The margin for error always gets small when you play good football teams. Our biggest problem is, you can’t turn the ball over.”

Quarterback Josh Rosen lost a fumble and threw two interceptions in one of the worst performances of what had been a very impressive freshman season.

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