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UCLA preparing for more than Arizona State's Will Sutton

The defensive tackle, who is tied third nationally in sacks, suffered a knee injury against Oregon on Thursday and is listed as day to day. Coach Jim Mora says the Bruins won't change much of what they do.

October 23, 2012|By Chris Foster
  • Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton, right, suffered a knee injury against Oregon.
Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton, right, suffered a knee injury… (Doug Pensinger / Getty Images )

Arizona State defensive tackle Will Sutton apparently is a quick healer.

Sutton, who is tied for third nationally in sacks, suffered a knee injury against Oregon on Thursday. He spent the remainder of the game on crutches.

On Friday, Arizona State issued a statement saying Sutton was "week to week."

On Sunday, defensive co-coordinator Raul Randolph told the Arizona Republic that Sutton was "day to day" with the Sun Devils preparing to play UCLA on Saturday.

UCLA Coach Jim Mora called Sutton an "explosive player," adding, "Any time you take a great player out of the mix it hurts you a little bit."

However, whether Sutton plays "won't change too much what we do," Mora said. "We can't make wholesale changes in our blocking patterns."

Sutton has 8.5 sacks this season. He also has 14 tackles for a loss, ranking him fifth nationally.

UCLA, though, has experience on the inside of its offensive line, with sophomore Xavier Su'a-Filo and senior Jeff Baca. Center Jake Brendel, a redshirt freshman, has played at a level beyond his age.

Su'a-Filo did most of the heavy lifting against Utah tackle Star Lotulelei in UCLA's 21-14 victory Oct. 13. Lotulelei is projected as a first-round pick in the NFL draft. Su'a-Filo expects to be locked up with Sutton.

"I have been impressed with him on film," Su'a-Filo said. "He's quick. Star is more of a true nose tackle. Will plays different roles on the defense. It's a chance for me to go against one of the greats in the conference."

Mora's concerns extend beyond Sutton.

"Defensively, they cover a lot of ground," Mora said. "Sometimes when you watch their defense play, the field looks smaller than it is."

The Sun Devils rank first nationally against the pass, though they have not been tested much this season.

"It starts with the pass rush," Mora said. "They don't give the quarterback a lot of time to throw the ball."

Arizona State ranks second nationally, averaging four sacks per game. UCLA is tied for 105th in sacks allowed, giving up three per game.

Even if Sutton misses the game, "it's not like he's the only guy they've got," Mora said.

Arizona State linebacker Carl Bradford has 4.5 sacks and defensive end Junior Onyeali four. Safety Chris Young has two sacks and is tied for seventh nationally with 12.5 tackles for a loss.

Onyeali suffered a shoulder injury against Oregon.

Homeward-bound

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley has work to do this week.

Oh, sure, he has to prepare and execute an offensive scheme for the Bruins against Arizona State. But almost as difficult is the scheming he'll have to do to land extra tickets.

Hundley, who played at Chandler (Ariz.) High, is already trying to leverage teammates for extra tickets for family and friends.

"I've been asking everybody," Hundley said. "I'm hoping to get 20. I was just talking to my dad today about how many family and friends are coming."

Hundley has no worries whom family members will root for. Arizona State was disliked in his house long before he signed with UCLA.

His father, Brett Hundley Sr., played at Arizona.

"We never had any Arizona State stuff in our house," Hundley said.

Quick hits

UCLA has lost five of the last six games to Arizona State in Tempe. … UCLA receiver Darius Bell (broken rib) is unlikely to return to the lineup this week. … UCLA's game against Arizona on Nov. 3 will start at 7:30 p.m. and be televised by the Pac-12 Networks.

chris.foster@latimes.com

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

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