Last week, Jim Mora promised that UCLA's support for Nick Pasquale and his family won't wane as the season rolls on. The Bruins are following through so far.
Before UCLA's 7:30 p.m. kickoff against New Mexico State on Saturday, the Rose Bowl will stand for a moment of silence in memory of the walk-on receiver, who was killed Sept. 8 by a car. After the quiet, however, Mora wants the stadium to erupt.
"We're going to get that place going," Mora said. "That's just the challenge for everybody. We're saying 'Go nuts for Nick.' We're going to go crazy and it's going to be a blast."
To help, the school will hand out free blue towels to the first 30,000 fans to enter the game. Printed with Pasquale's No. 36, the towels were donated by a company called Gorilla Marketing.
UCLA will also sell blue No. 36 T-shirts at the Rose Bowl, with 100 percent of Saturday's proceeds going to the Nick Pasquale Foundation -- established to benefit athletes. Adidas donated the first batch of shirts, but the school will continue to sell them in the student store and online after the weekend. At least 40 percent of those proceeds will go to the foundation.
Mora credited Scott Mitchell, UCLA athletics' head of marketing, for spearheading the effort. Mitchell watched last week's game at a Nebraska bar with the Pasquale family. Between the first and second quarters Saturday, a framed jersey will be presented to Nick's parents, Mel and Laurie, and his brother A.J. The family will stand near a No. 36 that will be painted on the field.
"You see a whole lot of people who were affected by this and are trying to help," Mora said. "It's just a great gesture."
Week after week, Mora tries to drill tunnel vision into his players, keeping their sights set on only the game ahead.
To combat human nature is sometimes an uphill battle, especially when dealing with college students. On Wednesday, senior Shaq Evans told ESPN 710 AM that he was ready to pay USC back for the Bruins' 50-0 road loss in 2011.
"This year, we're going to try to embarrass them, honestly," Evans said during the radio interview. "It's so much fun, just seeing them struggling. Like how we used to struggle, now they're struggling. It's awesome to see that. I hate them."
Mora said Thursday that he had not heard Evans' comments.
"We're worried about New Mexico State University right now," Mora said. "I don't follow some of that stuff. I didn't see that. I'm worried about New Mexico State University."
Big man dance
If UCLA ever wants to give a lineman the ball on a fake punt, Mora will likely look to All-American left guard Xavier Su'a-Filo. The junior is regarded as one of the best offensive linemen the Bruins have had in years.
"Let's give it to X," Mora said. "He's got the feet. He's got some good feet, so he might be able to dance through the trash and get us a couple of yards." ___