Tag:Alex Mascarenas
Posted on: October 26, 2011 1:37 pm

UCLA's Jerry Rice Jr. expected to make debut

Posted by Jerry Hinnen

The son of the greatest receiver to ever play the game appears poised to get his shot this Saturday.

UCLA redshirt freshman wideout Jerry Rice Jr. has practiced with the Bruin first-string throughout this week's preparations for Saturday's visit from Cal and could earn his first career start against the Bears.

"He will be available, and with Jerry, he knows all the positions and can can play them equally well,'' embattled head coach Rick Neuheisel said.

This is not to say that Neuheisel would like to be relying on a walk-on receiver without a single career reception to his name. But after four different Bruin wideouts were suspended by the Pac-12 for their role in the halftime brawl between UCLA and Arizona last Thursday, he may not have much choice.

In addition to Rice's potential promotion, Neuheisel is considering burning the redshirt of freshman Devin Lucien, and running back-turned-fullback Jordon James is now set to play his third position of the season by moonlighting at receiver this week.

"Jordon has played outside, at times, and we will have to use him in personnel groupings that only have two wide receivers,'' Neuheisel said. "It is a precarious situation."

That situation would be dramatically helped if Rice can flash even a little bit of his father's old magic.

"Every time I get a chance, I try to make a play, that's the way I was raised," Rice said before the 2011 season. "I'm out there competing, all of us receivers here at UCLA are pushing each other and we're getting better as a group. Anything can happen in this game, so I'm always ready to play. My goal is to keep my head up and keep grinding. My time will come if I keep working hard."

"He's a player on this team, a guy I wouldn't hesitate putting in the game," Neuheisl said at the time. "Jerry Rice Jr.'s opportunity will come, I'm pretty confident about that. When it comes, I think he'll respond."

If he does, the apparently short-handed and overmatched Bruins might not be as short-handed and overmatched as widely believed.

DYE OUT FOR YEAR: A boost from Rice would be good news for a UCLA team that can use every bit of good news it can get. Tuesday's other UCLA development was, more typically, not encouraging. Starting safety Tony Dye, out since Week 3 with a neck injury, was ruled out for the season and will likely apply for a medical redshirt. Fellow safety Alex Mascarenas is also struggling to return from an early-season concussion and his status is uncertain for the Cal game, leaving the Bruins thin at the position.

Posted on: October 6, 2011 7:28 pm

Pac-12 RapidReport Roundup: Injuries all over

Posted by Bryan Fischer

Running down everything you need to know from the current news in the Pac-12, courtesy of our CBSSports.com RapidReporters (and others).

ARIZONA. The offensive line situation continues to be a mess down in Tuscon. As if starting the year with five new faces was bad enough, Wildcats junior guard Shane Zink has a foot injury that could keep him out for the rest of the season, coach Mike Stoops said. Zink is himself an injury replacement who has started three games at both guard spots before suffering the injury last week. Guard Chris Putton is questionable for this week's game at Oregon State, which could mean redshirt freshman Carter Lees will get his first career start Saturday. In more positive news, safety Adam Hall could return from an ACL injury to part-time duty.

ARIZONA STATE. Some news we'll all take with a grain of salt, star middle linebacker Vontaze Burfict says he strongly considering returning for his senior season rather than turning pro. One player who will certainly be back is running back Deantre Lewis, who is a "near-certainty" to redshirt this season after being struck by a stray bullet while home on break.

CAL. The Bears are a 24-point underdog for Thursday night's game against Oregon. Jeff Tedford has only been a bigger underdog once in career at Cal. You can understand why oddsmakers are not high on the team when you consider just two active players have scored against the Ducks, both of whom are kickers.

OREGON. Linebacker Michael Clay said he is about 70% healthy as he recovers from an injured ankle and could play against Cal Thursday. Running back LaMichael James leads the nation in rushing yards per game and is eager to face a Cal defense that's allowing just 78.2. “We welcome those challenges with open arms,” James said. The Ducks' defense will have to be on their toes against the Bears, as head coach Chip Kelly has been impressed with the play of quarterback Zach Maynard. “He’s a good athletic quarterback,” Kelly said. “It seems like he makes good decisions and throws a nice catchable ball."

SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA. Highly touted freshman wide receiver George Farmer recently moved to running back and has impressed coaches so far. "I was surprised," Lane Kiffin said. "He looked pretty natural doing it. With that size (6-1, 210) and speed, there aren't many people like that ever. He could be a nightmare matchup issue for people." The Trojans are off this week before playing Cal in the Bay Area next Thursday. The team is likely focusing on tightening the defense up after giving up 41 points last week but Kiffin cautioned against overreacting to any struggles. "We have to be careful that we're not overreacting to a game or two," he said. "All of a sudden now we have this great offense, but a week ago we weren't any good. And it wasn't too long ago that the defense was winning games for us. It depends on who you play."

UCLA. Defensive end Datone Jones could be on the verge of losing his starter's role. He was highly touted coming into the year but has struggled with consistency and might be replaced by Owamagbe Odighizuwa at the end spot. With starting safety Tony Dye (hip and shoulder injuries) and his backup Alex Mascarenas both injured, Tevin McDonald will likely start Saturday's game against Washington State. Corner Jamie Graham will also see an increased role due to injures. Rick Neuheisel said starting fullback Anthony Barr will be out at least three weeks after surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee.
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