UCLA copes after death of receiver

Associated Press  |  Last updated September 08, 2013
UCLA coach Jim Mora and the 16th-ranked Bruins returned to football practice on Monday for the first time since the death of walk-on receiver Nick Pasquale. The team practiced in preparation for this weekend's game at No. 23 Nebraska. Pasquale was hit by a car and killed while walking in his hometown of San Clemente on Sunday. The 20-year-old receiver played in the final offensive series in UCLA's season-opening victory over Nevada on Aug. 31. The Bruins were off last weekend and Pasquale had gone home to visit his family. ''It's a very tragic time, a very difficult time,'' said Mora, who has a son close to Pasquale's age. The coach hailed Pasquale for being more than a player on the scout team. ''He was a kid who epitomized everything that you're looking for in a football player, from his spirit, his selfless work ethic, his commitment to the team, his toughness,'' Mora told a group of reporters. Mora spent time with the freshman's family on Sunday in San Clemente, where hundreds of Pasquale's friends, family members and fellow football players gathered at the high school's field for a vigil. Pasquale's older brother, A.J., played at the high school, where his father Mel Pasquale is director of football operations. ''Our thoughts and prayers are with his family, that's the most important thing,'' Mora said. He later told reporters, ''Every day we honor Nick and his family. The way we do that is the way we play. It's not about wins and losses.'' Mora said he was happy that Pasquale got into the season-opening victory. ''By us getting the lead that we did because of the fine work of some starters, guys like Nick, whose dream was to always play for UCLA, got a chance to run out on the Rose Bowl field and play in front of his parents,'' the coach said. ''That's something his parents will have forever.'' Mora closed all practices this week to the media, and UCLA players weren't made available for comment. ''Our players are dealing with it each in their own way,'' he said. ''We think that's the right way to do it. The important thing is they're together. This is a very close team and they care desperately about each other.'' Nebraska coach Bo Pelini said the university's thoughts and prayers were with Pasquale, his family, and UCLA. ''That's a lot bigger than any football game,'' he said. ''Obviously, this has got to be a very difficult time for them.'' The Bruins will wear a No. 36 patch on their jerseys the rest of the season. Mora said Nebraska's players will have a sticker with Pasquale's number on their helmets and there will be a moment of silence before Saturday's road game in his honor. Grief counselors were made available to the team on Monday. ''I'm not sure that all of them know how to process their emotions yet, so I just think it's important we give them time to do that,'' Mora told a group of reporters. Pasquale was walking in the early morning hours on Sunday along a street when he was hit by a car, according to the Orange County coroner's office. The driver stayed at the scene and was not charged with any crime or infraction, said Lt. Jeff Hallock of the Orange County Sheriff's Department. ''No drugs or alcohol have been found to have been factors for the driver,'' Hallock said. ''An autopsy report and later toxicology information will determine factors for the pedestrian.'' After starting to say that Pasquale had ''only played a few plays,'' Mora stopped mid-sentence during a Monday news conference when a video reporter in the back of the room began talking at the same time. Mora told him ''Shut up'' before the reporter, who had been obscured by a potted plant that he was standing behind, emerged and motioned for the coach to continue talking. Mora grew angry and chastised the reporter for displaying a lack of respect. The reporter apologized. Mora got up, told the gathering, ''I got nothing to say,'' grabbed his backpack and left the room. He met later with a group of reporters.
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Greg Hardy struggling to find work, reportedly even in CFL

Jets players told not to discuss Ryan Fitzpatrick situation

Brock Lesnar won't be punished by WWE for UFC drug test

Report: Cowboys to be fined up to $250K for suspended players

Data shows NFL-backed youth program that claimed reduced concussions is bogus


Report: Odom’s family working hard to get him to go to rehab

Drug dealers adding Olympic rings to cocaine wrappers in Rio

Report: Cowboys have ‘no interest’ in Freeney, Hardy

Report: Bradham was defending girlfriend during alleged assault

Elliott domestic violence case being taken to city prosecutor

Belichick: Brady is not going to lose his starting job

Reds 'picking up the pace' on Jay Bruce trade talks

Tavares dismisses rumors, wants to stay with Islanders

UFC signs a new broadcast deal in the U.K.

Gonzalo Higuain to Juventus: What does this mean for Serie A?

MLB asks Yaisel Puig to stop wearing his Vin Scully cleats

Study finds link on babies named Shea, Mets’ success

Durant: Being cheered by Oracle Arena crowd ‘felt a little weird’

10 must-watch WWE Network outside-the-ring videos

Is Marchand worth the money he’s reportedly asking for?

Rams sent emails hawking hats to old ticket holders in St. Louis

Miami Marlins unveil logo for 2017 MLB All-Star Game

Enes Kanter blasts writer over Russell Westbrook bashing

College Football News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

WATCH: Inside the Nike SNKRS BOX in SF for Golden Air Celebration

WATCH: Five other uniforms Chris Sale should cut up

QUIZ: Name every Olympic event in which the USA has never won a gold medal

Five U.S. Olympians favored to win multiple gold medals

WATCH: What teams should join the Big 12?

One Gotta Go: Do NBA players really love NBA2K?

One Gotta Go: NBA players hate Facebook too

One Gotta Go: NBA players settle the fast food beef

One Gotta Go: NBA players make tough choices on their favorite rappers

One Gotta Go: NBA Summer League is not about that Game of Thrones life

Today's Best Stuff
For Publishers
Company Info
Follow Yardbarker