UCLA’s senior all-purpose back Demetric Felton ranks seventh in the country in average yards per game (134.3), and had a career-best performance in Saturday’s 27-10 victory over Arizona, rushing to 207 yards with a touchdown, which raced a week after going 167 yards in a loss at Oregon.
But there was a frightening moment in Saturday’s game when Felton retired from a run late in the fourth quarter and never returned, reaching his hamstring area.
But the good news came on Monday when UCLA coach Chip Kelly told reporters in a conference call that Felton is okay and would be practicing in preparation for the Bruins (2-2) road race in Arizona State (0-1) on Saturday at 7 p.m. . : 30 hours
Kelly went on to talk about how far Felton has come since switching from wide receiver to running back last year, citing his continued work ethic as one of the reasons for his continued improvement.
“I think his vision, his ability to straighten his shoulders and cut his shoulders is something he has really worked on and progressed,” Kelly said of Felton. ‘But like everyone else, no one has ever arrived. I don’t care if you’re Tom Brady or Peyton Manning at the end of his career, I see Tom here off-season in mid-April working on the basics and where his planting foot goes and where his elbow is and his back hip and elbow work in harmony together.
“So everyone can improve, whether you’re Demetric Felton at age 21 or Tom Brady at age 43. So he (Felton) can improve in all facets and that’s what I like about Felt. He continues to work on all aspects; pass, pass routes, vision, cuts, tough cuts, all the things you need to do to be a great run that he’ll keep working on. ”
IS THOMPSON-ROBINSON COMING BACK?
UCLA was without third-year starting quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson for the previous two games. Several others, including backup backs Kazmeir Allen, Keegan Jones and Martell Irby, have also been down for contact tracking.
While Kelly didn’t say they would return for practice on Monday, he did indicate that several players would likely return this week after serving a 14-day quarantine, which makes the Pac-12 mandatory if anyone comes into close contact with someone who tests positive for the coronavirus. UCLA announced that two players tested positive the week of the Oregon game, so the two-week quarantine should end sometime this week.
“We have high hopes for that,” Kelly said of returning players.
Redshirt freshman Chase Griffin started at QB in the absence of Thompson-Robinson for the past two games and has performed well. Even if Thompson-Robinson returns, Kelly is unlikely to show who will start Saturday’s game against the Sun Devils.
IS THE STATE OF ARIZONA READY?
If all goes to plan, UCLA will play against a Sun Devils squad that hasn’t played since their season opening against USC, 28-27, on November 7.
Arizona State has canceled three games due to a coronavirus outbreak within the team, including coach Herm Edwards, who also signed COVID-19.
The Sun Devils canceled games against Cal (November 14), Colorado (November 21) and Utah this past weekend as the Sun Devils still did not have enough stock market players available for the game.
Edwards is back to health and just came back last week to train with most of his team. During a zoom video with reporters, Edwards described the return as the first days of training camp.
“Obviously, we went out and had a watered-down version of the practice,” Edwards told reporters. “I thought for the most part the players were excited to get back out on the grass and participate in some form of preparation to play football, so that’s kind of where we are now.”
Edwards hopes their coronavirus problems are over and they can play Saturday and next week’s game against rival Arizona.
“We’ve started something and we have to finish it,” said Edwards last week. “You have to finish things in life, regardless of how it looks and feels. You cannot stop. You can’t tap. ”
Edwards knew what the risks were for the season.
“When we first started this deal, I said to my wife, ‘You know what, I’m probably going to catch it.’” Said Edwards. “I knew exactly what I was running into and I did everything I could not to do and I went eight months – a whole eight months. And then (I did) all I could do to make sure I wouldn’t catch the virus and for God’s sake I didn’t want to give it to anyone, and it happened. ”