UCLA Coach Jim Mora said on Tuesday that he believes offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone will be at the Foster Farms Bowl on Saturday when UCLA plays Nebraska.
Whether Mazzone will call the offense or be a spectator has yet to be determined. And, Mora said, it is still possible that Mazzone will not attend the game.
Mazzone was hospitalized last week with what Mora called “a serious medical condition.” UCLA, citing privacy concerns, has not disclosed the health issue.
Mazzone has since attended UCLA practice in a limited capacity, and visited doctors on Monday, while the team traveled to San Francisco to begin bowl practice.
“I think we’ll still play it by ear and determine as we get closer to the game, with our doctors, whether he’s going to be on the field or in the press box or what his role will be,” Mora said. “But we’re prepared to go either way.”
Mazzone, Mora said, is “better,” but “not feeling great.”
“But you know Noel,” Mora added. “He loves to coach ball, and he loves that game environment. I don’t know. I believe he’ll be at the game.”
Mora did not say who would assume play-calling responsibilities should Mazzone be unable to. But he said that the team has been working on a contingency plan over the last week.
“We’re good,” Mora said. “I think that’s one of the benefits of having a staff that’s been together, that’s had some continuity. It allows you to be able to adjust quickly when things like this happen.”
Redmond leaves team
One UCLA junior’s NFL draft decision has come early. Starting right guard Alex Redmond has left the team, Mora said on Monday.
“He’s gone already, he quit,” Mora told reporters. “He signed with an agent.”
Redmond started all 13 games as a freshman and eight more during his sophomore season. This season, he started 10 games and, Mora said last week, was one of the few healthy members of a dinged-up offensive line.
The departure worsens UCLA’s depth problems at guard. Last week, with starting left guard Kenny Lacy still hobbled by an ankle injury, walk-on freshman Cristian Garcia started in practice.
Earlier this month, Fred Ulu-Perry, a highly regarded freshman offensive lineman, also left the program. He transferred to Hawaii because of what Mora described as homesickness.
No full house
Saturday’s game may look familiar to anyone who has watched a San Francisco 49ers home game this season: There will probably be plenty of seats available.
Gary Cavalli, the executive director of the Foster Farms Bowl, said he expects 30,000 to 35,000 fans at Saturday’s game. That would be about half of Levi’s Stadium’s capacity of 68,500, and figure roughly equal to the average historical attendance for the bowl.
“Please come out and buy tickets,” Mora said. “It’s not only going to be a great event, a great game. I’m sure it will come down to the last series or two. You’re going to see two tremendous quarterbacks.”