Sean Mannion and Oregon State Beavers have played only one game, a 10-7 upset… (Jonathan Ferrey / Getty…)
UCLA faces Oregon State, something of a mystery team, in the Pac-12 football opener for both teams Saturday at the Rose Bowl.
Getting a line on the Beavers is hard.
Game tape? The Beavers have played one game, a 10-7 upset win over then-13th-ranked Wisconsin. Oregon State is coming off a bye week and its opener against Nicholls State was postponed because of Hurricane Isaac.
It leaves UCLA coaches a little in the dark.
"You see more multiple tight end sets," UCLA Coach Jim Mora said. "It would be good to have more film to look at and see if it was an aberration against Wisconsin or if it's something that they are really focusing on this year."
Of course, in some ways one tape is enough.
"I don't know if I want to see more than one game tape the way they played against Wisconsin," Mora said. "Fortunately, they haven't had a whole lot of changes in their coaching staff so there are a lot similarities with what they did last year. You have to go back to look at what they did last year."
Particularly against Arizona State.
UCLA's offensive coordinator, Noel Mazzone, was at Arizona State last season. The Sun Devils won, 35-20, but Oregon State was within one point with nine minutes left in the third quarter.
The Beavers intercepted three passes, had four sacks and recovered two fumbles.
"We'll look at the concepts and schemes they used in that game," Mora said.
In its win over Wisconsin, Oregon State held the Badgers to 207 total yards, only 35 rushing.
Datone Jones changed jerseys, putting on No. 97, and caught a seven-yard touchdown pass as a tight end against Houston Saturday night.
"I was telling guys I was an all-state offensive guy in high school," Jones said. "I've been playing catch my whole life. It was a great, instinctive play."
Quarterback Brett Hundley was mildly surprised.
"You don't expect a defensive player to run a nice route like he did and get open … and catch the ball as smoothly as he did," Hundley said. "He did an amazing job."
Meanwhile, in his usual role as a defensive end, Jones wore No. 56 and made three tackles, two for losses.
Tackle Torian White, a redshirt freshman, was penalized on three consecutive plays against Houston — two for holding and the other for a false start. His second holding penalty wiped out a touchdown.
"It's a delicate balance for a coach; how much do you excuse because of inexperience?" Mora said. "Our tendency is to excuse very little and hold players to a high standard. At the same time, we have some understanding that this is a young man who is still developing as football player and still developing his personality."
Mora said, "What I liked about Torian was the way he reacted. He didn't sulk, he wasn't in the tank, he didn't run and hide."
Freshman cornerback Ishmael Adams will undergo shoulder surgery Friday and is expected to be out six to nine months.
That will mean more playing time for fellow freshmen Marcus Rios and Fabian Moreau. Rios saw his first game action against Houston. Moreau has played in all three games.
The game experience, Mora said, will pay off next season. UCLA starts seniors Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price at cornerback.