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UCLA football: Dog days are behind the Bruins

August 27, 2013|By Chris Foster
  • Coach Jim Mora says his players are happy to have an actual game to focus on this week.
Coach Jim Mora says his players are happy to have an actual game to focus on… (Mark J. Terrill / Associated…)

The hardest week of the season -- so far -- is behind UCLA.

The Bruins are days from their season opener against Nevada.

“It’s easier this week,” Coach Jim Mora said. “You’re actually focused on an opponent.”

Last week was difficult.

“The game is still on the horizon, it hasn’t arrived yet,” Mora said. “They’re tired after two weeks of training camp.”

Running back Jordon James said those “were definitely the dog days of camp.”

This week, James said, “everyone is fired up. We’ve been in camp almost four weeks. Everyone is dying to get back on the field to play another team.”

There are new challenges that get players’ attention.

“The defense is looking at plays and routes that are different from what they have seen the last few weeks,” Mora said. “The focus narrows.”

The worry Mora has is the Bruins’ youth.

UCLA has 11 seniors and six juniors who are scholarship available for the game.

“We’re awfully young, so there is some anxiety in that,” Mora said.

Quick hits

Nose tackle Eli Ankou (knee) and tackle Colby Cyburt (foot) left practice Tuesday. Cyburt, who injured his heel, is not considered serious. Ankou will undergo an MRI to determine the extent of the injury. … Walk-on long snapper Reed Buce has been cleared by the NCAA and rejoined practice.

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