Emotional Mora, Bruins return after tragedy
UCLA coach Jim Mora and the 16th-ranked Bruins returned to practice Monday for the first time since the death of walk-on receiver Nick Pasquale, who was hit by a car and killed while walking along a street in the early morning hours Sunday.
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA coach Jim Mora and the Bruins returned to practice Monday for the first time since the death of walk-on receiver Nick Pasquale, who was hit by a car and killed while walking along a street in the early morning hours Sunday.
The 20-year-old Pasquale 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 in San Clemente, Calif.
"It's a very tragic time, a very difficult time," Mora said after the No. 16 Bruins practiced in preparation for this weekend's game at No. 23 Nebraska.
Mora said he 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.
"Our thoughts and prayers are with his family," Mora said. "That's the most important thing."
UCLA players weren't made available for comment, and Mora has closed all practices this week to the media.
"Our players are dealing with it each in their own way," Mora 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."
Mora lashed out during Monday's news conference after he was annoyed by a media video technician who was talking on his phone.
Mora had told him to "shut up" and that "the disrespect of some people is unbelievable to me" before the technician motioned for the coach to continue talking, which only enraged Mora further.
"Don't tell me to go on. I'll go on when I'm ready to go on," Mora said. "Why don't you take your butt out of here if you're going to be disrespectful."
Mora got up, told the gathering, "I got nothing to say," grabbed his backpack and left the room. He later returned to talk to writers.
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."
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."
Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.
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