Here are some news and notes from around the Pac-12:
- Labeling the UCLA offensive line "patchwork" on Thursday night in a 49-26 Holiday Bowl loss to Baylor would be an insult to quilts. The Bruins were simply done in by a mediocre Bears pass rush that exploited two gaping holes in the offensive line -- at center and left tackle, where Jake Brendel and Torian White were lost early with leg injuries. UCLA senior offensive lineman Jeff Baca ended up playing three spots on the night, writes Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register, and the Bruins allowed five sacks in the first half to a team that had just 13 in the regular season.
- Marion Grice has returned to the Arizona State team and participated in Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl practice this week just days after his older brother was shot and killed. The Sun Devils were unsure if Grice, the team's second-leading rusher and receiver, would participate with the team in the bowl game.
“It’s a terrible thing that happened, but we’re glad to have him back and to be able to put our arms around him and get him back on this football field and get him playing,” ASU offensive coordinator Mike Norvell told Doug Haller of AZCentral.com.
- Oregon State players were touched by a gesture from their equipment staff, just more than a year after they lost one of their own. When the Beavers arrived in Texas for the Alamo Bowl, writes Lindsay Schnell of the Oregonian, they found a locker set up for defensive tackle Fred Thompson, who died after suffering a heart attack during a pick-up basketball game last December.
"Once I saw that (locker), I knew this was really a family," sophomore receiver Brandin Cooks told Schnell. "I always knew that, but for coaches to set up a locker, that was something special. This whole year, we've been playing with him on our backs."
Added coach Mike Riley: "That (locker) thing was done by players and equipment guys and that's what those guys, and our whole team, that's how everybody in this football family feels about Fred. He's part of this deal. I was telling (director of operations Dan Van De Riet), it is absolutely still surreal to me. To this day I still can't imagine that we lost a player. But the locker, it's one of those constant reminders that Fred has been a part of this group."
- Robert Woods has made up his mind about his future. He's just not telling yet. The USC wide receiver said that he will announce his NFL plans after Monday's Sun Bowl against Georgia Tech, writes Rich Hammond of the Orange County Register.
"A lot of different things factored into my decision," Woods said. "I felt like I made the best decision."
While most don't know about his future, he has the confidence of his position coach, Tee Martin.
"He's a valuable pick because he's smart," Martin said. "Robert can play every position on the field at receiver. Inside, outside, he's a motion guy (and) he's one who will understand protections for you. He understands all that stuff, and he has played here at USC in a West Coast offense, which is about 70 percent of the NFL. That's a lot of teams that are doing things that are similar to what we've been doing with Robert for the last three years. He has caught a lot of balls. He is proven."
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