Tuesday Practice Notes

With kickoff just days away, UCLA spent Tuesday working on the game-plan for the season opener against Oklahoma State, while receiving news on another defensive lineman injury...

With kickoff a mere four days away, UCLA spent Tuesday working on the game-plan for the season opener against Oklahoma State.

A few notes:

Head coach Karl Dorrell said defensive tackle C.J. Niusulu will have surgery on his knee. He didn't say what kind of surgery or gave any estimation of how long he'd be out. Niusulu was at practice but didn't participate, walking with a brace on.

Freshman cornerback Rodney Van was back at practice and participating. Freshman receiver Ryan Graves sat out practice with an undisclosed illness.

Junior Nnamdi Ohaeri again worked out with the running backs today.

During practice, tight end Marcedes Lewis and receiver Craig Bragg stood out, while defensively, linebacker Spencer Havner and safety Jarrad Page had good days.

Quarterback Drew Olson looked good in drills.

On the scout team, freshman cornerback Byron Velega had picks on consecutive plays on David Koral.

Also, there was no new news on receiver Tab Perry's eligibility from the NCAA.

Comments from Head Coach Karl Dorrell following practice.
On the defensive line situation
Dorrell: We have bodies to line up but the only issues is they are going to be young bodies. When they were being recruited, they were gunning for opportunities like this to get a chance to come in and help and help this team win and have that kind of opportunity early in their careers. That's what they were wishing for and that's what they got.

On moving Nnamdi Ohaeri to running back
Dorrell: That's not even a decision on a move right now. That's something we are going to experiment with and he's still playing both positions. He was a running back in high school, so we'll see how that unfolds. Right now he's going to do the best for us on special teams, and he'll do things to help our team in some capacity.

Comments from junior guard Bob Cleary.
On making his first career start on Saturday:
Its been a dream of mine to start here. That's been a goal of mine, to start. I didn't really put a timetable on it. But to finally have an opportunity, and to seize it, has been really exciting. I'm happy about it and looking forward to Saturday

On playing guard
I played guard, backing up Eyoseph at left guard. So I've played it and I feel like I've played it enough. I've been through three Spring Balls and my fourth fall camp, even though I haven't really played a lot in the games I feel like I've done enough to get me ready for Saturday.

On the impact of offensive line coach Tom Cable
He's made a huge impact. I think he's come in and set the tone, he's easy to follow and lead. You know what you have to do to get it done and he doesn't accept anything less. It makes it more demanding on you, but as long as you're getting it done, you know, and do it right, then its good.

On the new weak guard/strong guard formation
It's been a good thing. It allows us to get more looks basically, you get to work with the same guy either way. You always get weakside looks and weakside plays. There is more exactness, and you get to fine tune everything. You may run certain plays to your side, but you know what you're going to do more. It's like working double basically.

Comments from sophomore running back Maurice Drew
On the importance of getting off to a good start:
Its really important to get off to the right start. We've put last year past us, this is for the new year, the new beginning. We're trying to start a new era and trying to get this off to a good start. We know what we do this year is going to reflect and keep going. We'ere trying to start a new thing here, and keep a steady pace.

On getting a heavy load on carries:
If that's what they want to give me, then I'm willing to do anything. That's how it is, and how are attitude is. We're willing to do anything. For me personally, if I had to sit the whole game for us to win, or block every play and play fullback, for us to win, I'll do it. If they say I gotta get 35 carries, I'll make sure my body can take it and give it my all.

On how he feels physically:
I feel pretty good. My legs are pretty sore from these two practices, but I'll get them back on Wednesday and Thursday, and rest them on Friday, so I should be fine on Saturday.

On the offensive line:
I felt comfortable last year running behind them, but it was schemes that didn't really work. But this year with Coach Cable and all of the offensive coaches on the same page, its helping us more, so that we know what the O-line is doing, we know what Drew is doing, and we know what the receivers are doing so its going to make it easier to run and easier for Drew to throw the ball too. I think we should be alright.

On being more comfortable in his role:
You cant get lackadaisical because anytime someone can take your job. Any time, Manny can come up and take my job, or Derrick Williams or Chris Markey. You're fighting for your job whether or not you're the starter. I'm going out there to try and help the team, but also to keep my job and that's how Coach Bieniemy coaches us. We're out there competing always.

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