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Tuesday, October 23, 2012
Bruins trying to regain focus after bye

By Peter Yoon

LOS ANGELES -- The bye week is over, which means it's time for UCLA to get serious again.

That's sometimes easier said than done.

After a week in which most key players took it easy in practice while the younger and less experienced players dominated the reps, the big boys are back in action trying to shake off the rust as they get ready for Saturday's game at Arizona State.

"We might have been a little sluggish today coming off a bye week, but I feel like we got our legs back and a lot of people got healthy so the bye week did us well," receiver Shaquelle Evans said. "Tomorrow we'll pick it back up and be the normal team that we are."

Coach Jim Mora said that the biggest issue this week is to get the team to refocus mentally and re-enter the mode of preparing for an opponent instead of just working on fundamentals.

"There's challenges, there's no doubt," Mora said. "When you're not preparing for a game, you don't have the same emotional preparation. So what has to happen is you have to get that back quickly. There's always going to be a little transition period."

That transition was supposed to happen on Monday when the Bruins got in a brief bonus practice. UCLA normally doesn't practice on Mondays during regular weeks but Mora wanted to reacclimate his players with a light workout because he said it's more difficult to get college players to switch back into game mode after a non-competitive week.

"You have to flip the switch quickly and I don't think that's always easy with college kids, Mora said. "In the NFL it was easy. Those guys are pros, they're getting paid, they'd done it for years and years. At this level it’s a little bit more of a challenge and that’s why I think Monday was important for us to come out here in the afternoon and just turn it back on and get going again."