The Pac-12 Conference on Tuesday reprimanded UCLA Coach Jim Mora for comments he made on the team's postgame radio show Saturday that criticized the officiating during the Bruins' 45-24 victory over Arizona.
Mora drew an unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty late in the first quarter after screaming at officials and wildly gesturing toward the field, apparently upset after a flag for ineligible receiver downfield was waved off against the Wildcats.
The conference said Tuesday that officials made the correct call in disregarding the penalty on Arizona because the Wildcats' quarterback was out of the pocket and legally threw the ball out of bounds. The NCAA confirmed the ruling as accurate, according to Pac-12 officials.
The conference cited an officiating rule that states, in part, that "if the passer is legally throwing the ball away and it lands near or beyond the sideline, do not penalize the offense for having ineligible players downfield." The Pac-12 also referred to a rule specifying that "offensive pass interference for blocking downfield will not be called if the passer is legally grounding the ball out of bounds, near or beyond the sideline."
Arizona was facing fourth down and lined up to punt when Mora was penalized 15 yards, giving the Wildcats a first down. They eventually reached the Bruins' 38-yard line on the drive before turning over the ball on downs.
Mora declined to address the unsportsmanlike-conduct penalty when asked about it after the game.
"You know what, I'm going to take that up with the league and leave it at that," Mora said.
Did Mora have an objection about the flag?
"Do I have an objection?" Mora said. "Yeah, that's an understatement."
Plenty of uncertainty remained regarding the status of UCLA right guard Kolton Miller and receiver Ishmael Adams, who were both injured against Arizona. Adams did not dress for practice Tuesday and Miller did not appear to participate in the warmup portion of practice that media members were allowed to observe.
There was more encouraging news regarding defensive tackle Eli Ankou. Bruins defensive-line coach Angus McClure said Ankou participated in some practice drills and could potentially play against Arizona State if he continued to progress from the hyperextended elbow he suffered against Stanford on Sept. 24.
Mora was not forthcoming with an update on Miller, saying he would play if he could against the Sun Devils.
Did that mean there was no definitive diagnosis?
"Not that I'm going to talk about, no," Mora said.
If Miller were unable to play, UCLA would likely once again turn to Andre James, who filled in admirably against Arizona after Miller limped off the field in the second quarter and had to watch the balance of the game on crutches.
"He did well," Bruins center Scott Quessenberry said of James. "Everyone's got that trial-by-fire time and he had his on Saturday. I think he stepped up to the challenge. Going forward, whoever is the right tackle, I feel comfortable with him in there."
Talk it out
Quessenberry said communication issues between the offensive line and running backs plagued the Bruins, who averaged only 3.9 yards per carry against the Wildcats. "There was a little trouble because they throw so much at us," Quessenberry said of the Wildcats' defense. He added that "we have adjust to unscouted looks and I have to do a better job for my group and we have to do a better job in general."