UCLA will tempt fate again. The Bruins will wear new uniforms against Arizona on Saturday night in the Rose Bowl.
The “L.A Night” dark blue jerseys and pants are a throwback to UCLA’s old color scheme, Coach Jim Mora said.
Of course, the Bruins’ last throwback uniforms became throw-away ones. UCLA went with an all-white look, from helmet to ankle, against USC last year. It was an appropriate surrender color for a 50-0 loss.
“Those are probably nowhere to be found,” receiver Shaquelle Evans said. “They are bad luck. They are probably in the back of a storeroom somewhere.”
So the Bruins will try blue this time.
“I’m not as superstitious as I used to be,” said Mora, who has no worries about changing uniforms. “We don’t want it to become a distraction, so we’re going to come out to practice [Thursday] and put on the helmets and shoes. I had every kid go in and get fitted.”
Mora said he was told the white uniforms were a distraction last year on game day.
“Last year, those guys showed up an hour and a half before the game and that was the first time they put on the pants and jerseys,” Mora said. “Things didn’t fit and there was a lot of chaos. That’s one reason we are making sure this week they get fitted, wear the helmets, wear the shoes.”
Of course, the white uniforms were not the No. 1 reason for the loss to USC. Quarterback Matt Barkley threw for 423 yards and six touchdowns.
The Bruins have a 1-2 record when they wear alternate jerseys. The losses were to USC last season and in 2009.
A UCLA athletic department official said “I can guarantee” that the Bruins won’t do anything different for the USC game this season.
Johnathan Franklin needs 21 yards to set UCLA’s career rushing record. Gaston Green had 3,731 yards from 1984 to 1987.
“It will be meaningful because who he is, the great teammate, the great individual, the great leader,” Mora said. “I have no doubt in my mind that as soon as he breaks the record, he will pay homage to the offense line and receivers for all the blocking they have done for him.”
That has already happened.
“Of course, those guys are the reason for this,” Franklin said. “They have done the work.”
Said guard Xavier Su’a-Filo: “Linemen love blocking for backs like him. He runs hard, he gets through the hole.”
New ‘Desert Swarm’
Arizona built its reputation with defense in the 1990s. It’s offense that makes the Wildcats successful now.
Arizona ranks fourth nationally in offense, averaging 553.6 yards per game, and is 110th in defense, giving up an average of 483.9 yards per game.