More Notes & Quotes from the Week

It was an active week for news around the football program -- so here are more bits of news about the team and the offense, matching up against Washington, and quotes from players and Head Coach Karl Dorrell...

More Personnel Issues:

Senior defensive lineman Asi Faoa will start in place of Rodney Leisle, who has to sit out the first half of the Washington game due to his ejection last week against San Diego State. Leisle said this week that, with Dorrell's comments concerning possibly further disciplinary action, that he didn't think he was getting support from the team and was "isolated." Dorrell said, "We feel we're in good shape with the penalty that's been imposed with Rodney." When commenting about Faoa, he said, "He's our next best player. We consider him a co-starter anyway."

The amount of reps Faoa and Leisle have gotten in practice this week hasn't changed, according to Dorrell, with Leisle still getting his share of reps with the first-team defense.

Sophomore running back Jason Harrison continues to work out on the side of practice and help with the scout team. UCLA coaches considers him still "a ways away."

Redshirt freshman cornerback Jebiaus Brown has been sidelined since fall camp at Cal State Fullerton when he suffered concussive symptoms. When asked about Brown, Head Coach Karl Dorrell said: "It's an issue that we can't understand. Every test we do comes back negative. But he's still talking about symptoms that he has. It's all neurological. We don't have an explanation for it right now. We're still exploring every option we can. We can't do anything until he's cleared of all the symptoms he says he has. It is disappointing."

Besides the true freshmen who are playing on the defensive line and won't redshirt, at the beginning of the season Dorrell mentioned that defensive back Milvon James and receivers Joe Cowan and Matt Slater would have a chance to play as true freshman. James and Cowan have played on special teams and can't redshirt. Slater, though, has been hampered by little injuries. He works with the receivers at practice that could possibly get game time and Dorrell said his playing status for the rest of the year is still uncertain. "We're almost at the halfway point in the season, so I don't know what's going to happen there. He wants to play."

-- Dorrell has been answering many questions this week from the media about how the UCLA defense would try to match up against Washington receiver Reggie Williams. Dorrell has maintained for the most part this week that they wouldn't use UCLA's bigger cornerback, Matt Ware, exclusively on the 6-4 Williams. He said, "You have to do some adjustment, because he's really a good player. You have to be able to do some things to not make him as effective as he's been. For us to win, he's got to not have a big game. Our goal is to try to do some things that will hopefully keep him in check. It's hard to do, he's an excellent player. It will be more scheme. I don't think we'll assign any individual to shut him down. It's more a defensive scheme, adjust and do some things to hopefully restrict him."

However, Ware has been taking reps at the left cornerback position in practice. Dorrell conceded, "I think what we're doing is rotating guys on both sides, just in case we do do something where we want to do some combination coverages. For the most part we're going to try to do our scheme and pay attention to where Williams is, and not give him too many chances to make many big plays on us."

Both Ware and cornerback Matt Clark reiterated Dorrell's point that they would generally stick to their scheme, but could possibly match up Ware specifically with Williams in certain situations where the scheme didn't dictate it. Clark said, "Reggie Williams is a great receiver with great size. Defensively, scheme-wise, we're not going to chhange everything for him. We'll do match-ups here and there. I'll be mostly on (Washington's other receiver) Charles Frederick in man situations. When we're in two and our base defense, I could be on Reggie. It doesn't really matter."

-- Teams have stacked the box against UCLA's struggling offense, challenging it to beat them through the air. Dorrell said, "I think they understand we have a young quarterback that is not seasoned and is getting his experience as we go. That plays into teams trying to load against the running game to make the quarterback be the player to beat you. It's nice to see that Drew Olson had some success throwing ball and we having some success making plays downfield, which will help us with the confidence in the throwing game and make teams play more honest against us."

When asked if we'll see new offensive wrinkles against Washington and in the Pac-10, Dorrell said, "I think we'll probably do things that will look a little different as the course of the season goes on. A lot of it will be because our guys are feeling they're starting to come along. Then obviously you do some things that are game plan issues that you try to impose against an opponent. You'll see little subtleties that are different as the season progresses."

The fullbacks have yet to have a carry from scrimmage this season, and Dorrell said that, too, could change. "At some point, we might surprise you. At some point we might get to that," Dorrell said.

Dorrell talked a few times this week about the team showing glimpses of coming together – with the offense starting to click. "There were glimpses in the San Diego State game, certain spurts, when all three phases of the team were on the same page. And you felt it. We weren't able to hold on that for a long period of time. But it was the first sign it has happened, which is a positive sign. We have a lot of work to do still. We're going to continue with that mindset of trying to do things right and eventually everything will start clicking."

-- Dorrell talked about trying to stop Washington quarterback Cody Pickett: "We have to make sure we're changing up our looks. He's an experienced enough quarterback that knows what coverages are, and we have to keep mixing things up on him so he doesn't get a perfect bead on us. Any defensive scheme would try to do that, so he's not getting the same reads all the time. If he did that, he'd pick you apart."

Dorrell was asked if Washington is still doing some of the things he instituted when he coached there: "There are some things that they do, that we did when we first were there in Washington in 1999. But a lot of the stuff they're doing – they throw the ball very, very well. They have an excellent quarterback that does a nice job of spreading it around, and a good group of receivers. There are some things they've done before but for the most part it's changed quite a bit."

On Washington's defense: "They're a pretty good defense. They're second in our conference in defense. They're real active up front, with really active guys that play hard. They have some good experience. No one has really been able to run the ball on them. Even Ohio State."

-- Clark, UCLA's junior starting cornerback, said he's not nervous heading into Saturday's game and feeling comfortable as a starter: "The first game I went out there I was definitely nervous. But after the first game, I felt like I was in the groove. I'm comfortable with the scheme, and the defense we're running."

Clark talked about the type of cushions he's comfortable with: "On something like third and seven I like to have a little cushion. But something like third and three, I like to be in the receiver's face. I'm pretty good at the line, jamming receivers. I think my forte is playing off, though."

Facing Washington, Clark says the team has been in good shape this week in practice: "The team offensively is feeling confident. With Coach (Phil) Snow here last year they've pretty much seen the defense he ran, because we ran it. They're feeling pretty comfortable coming into the game, knowing their defense. The defense, we're anxious to get out there, to play against a big offense, against Washington's receivers and Cody Pickett."


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