UCLA: Jerry Rice

Jerry Rice Jr. gets increased playing time

October, 3, 2012
LOS ANGELES -- The UCLA Bruins have a need at receiver, so it must be nice to have someone named Jerry Rice in reserve.

Rice Jr., the son of the NFL's all-time leading receiver, is getting a shot to earn some playing time and is again impressing. He set career highs last week against Colorado with three catches for 30 yards as the coaches called upon the walk-on junior to help fill the void left by injured freshman Devin Lucien. He also made some nice downfield blocks and is expected to again be a factor when the Bruins face California on Saturday.

"When guys go down, I just try to make the most of my opportunity whether it's blocking or catching," Rice said. I'm progressing pretty well. I'm learning a lot of things every day and there are things every day I can work on. I'm just trying to do the little things to become more polished."

This season, he has played in four of UCLA's five games and has four catches for 38 yards. Three of his six career catches have resulted in first downs, including his career-long 20-yard reception in the fourth quarter last week that set up a UCLA touchdown.

"Every time an opportunity comes to me, I'm just looking to make the play whether it's catching or blocking," Rice said. "Right now, I'm playing pretty good but there is always something that I can learn so I always remember that in the back of my head."

Rice said he can only hope to stick in the rotation this year. Last year, he got a shot to play when when four UCLA receivers were suspended the game after a benches-clearing brawl at Arizona. He played most of the following game against California and had two catches for 17 yards in his first career action but played in only one other game the rest of the season after the suspended players returned and did not have another catch.

"It didn't really matter because I can always learn and I've kept learning my whole career," Rice said. "You learn by watching other players play so I watched Nelson [Rosario] and Embo [Taylor Embree] and picked up some things so it translated to this year. You can make anything a positive if you set your mind to it."

Because of the fast tempo UCLA plays this year, the Bruins use a heavy rotation at receiver and have had 11 players catch passes in each of the last two games. Coach Jim Mora said he had no problem using Rice, who is consistently one of the hardest workers in practice, as part of that rotation.

"Jerry played really well the other night," Mora said. "He got extended playing time and did a heck of a job."

Football practice report: Thursday quick hits

November, 11, 2010
For the third consecutive day, UCLA brought a lot of energy and spirit to the practice field on Thursday. Defensive players erupted in the Florida State/Atlanta Braves "tomahawk chop" chant during team drills and there were a few minor skirmishes during the mid-day practice session.

"Kids are excited about playing and finishing," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "It’s that portion of the season where the guys who are fortunate enough to still be going are excited about it. And there’s a lot to play for especially given the conference. Only three teams are guaranteed a bowl and everyone else is in the same situation, fighting like mad and it’s going to make for some very, very competitive games."

The Bruins will take the next two days off as the coaches do some recruiting. The next practice is Sunday.

A few tidbits from Thursday:
  • As with last time the Bruins were off, the final practice of the bye week ended with a live scrimmage between the scout teams. Linebackers Eric Kendricks and Aramide Olaniyan each made a couple of nice plays on defense while Jerry Rice Jr. continued to show off some nice speed and open-field moves on offense. The offense converted a couple of fourth down plays, but did not score a touchdown. Receivers dropped several passes, two or three of which hit the ground in the end zone. "It's fun to watch them compete and watch their teammates get excited for them," Neuheisel said.
  • Receiver Nelson Rosario was limited after aggravating his sprained ankle on Tuesday. Neuheisel said he hoped Rosario would be at full strength soon. "He's still a little hampered," Neuheisel said. "Those are slow injuries to heal. I can be frustrated or I can be hopeful. I’m going to choose helpful."
  • Linebacker Patrick Larimore sought a second opinion on his dislocated shoulder, but Neuheisel did not have an update. Larimore injured his left shoulder against Oregon and season-ending surgery is a possibility.
  • Linebacker Steve Sloan did not dress, but did some running on the side as he tries to come back from a hamstring strain. Neuheisel said Sloan should practice Sunday, but would not commit to him getting his spot back at middle linebacker. Freshman Jordan Zumwalt has performed admirably in his absence. "We'll wait and see," Neuheisel said. "Certainly we like competition at all positions."
  • Special teams practice was especially spirited, with Coach Frank Ganz, Jr. even more animated than usual. Ganz, unhappy with one kickoff, asked the players "What is this, Dancing with the Stars?" then pointed at Ricky Marvray and said "Ricky, you're voted off." Later, Ganz tried to inspire the team by telling them Washington has a "martian who is 6-foot-10 and weighs 5,000 pounds and you better block him."
  • Offensive lineman Eddie Williams missed practice for the third consecutive day because of a sprained foot. Tight end Cory Harkey missed his second consecutive practice because of food poisoning. Safety Dalton Hilliard practiced in a red no-contact jersey as he recovers from a concussion.

Jerry Rice Jr. entertains special guest

August, 13, 2010
Redshirt freshman receiver Jerry Rice Jr. had an interested onlooker at practice — his Hall of Fame father.

Rice Jr. said it’s no big deal for him to play in front of his dad.

“It’s just my dad out here watching his son like a lot of other fathers,” said Rice Jr.

Asked if his father would critique his performance when they saw each another, Rice Jr. said probably not.

“He’s pretty laid back on that,” Rice Jr. said. “When it comes to that, he wants me to find my own way. If I ask him, he’ll give me the tips that I need, but he’s pretty good about letting me find my own path.”



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