Practice Report; Interview with Meyer

The team gets some key injured players back Thursday, and back-up redshirt freshman center Aaron Meyer talks about stepping into playing the position and having to fill the shoes of veteran Mike McCloskey...

-- Center Mike McCloskey, who strained a shoulder in the Oregon State game, is expected to play Saturday.  It's the same shoulder that caused McCloskey to sit out a week or so during fall camp.


-- Defensive tackle Kenneth Lombard's sore ankle has improved enough to the point he's expected to play Saturday also.


Sophomore offensive tackle Tony Lee could possibly miss the rest of the season due to a continuing problem with a knee. Lee had surgery on it early in the season, was out for a few weeks, then returned, but was never 100%. He played in the Oregon State game, but was noticeably limping. UCLA indicated Lee could need a second surgery. Lee, who was looking very good in fall camp before the injury, is an important component of next year's offensive line,taking over at weakside defensive tackle when Ed Blanton graduates. =


Backup center Aaron Meyer, who played extensively for the first time against Oregon State last week, is one of the more press-shy players, and he spoke about the pressure of filling the shoes of  veteran McCloskey.  


Aaron Meyer:


We're starting to see you on the field some now and with center Mike McCloskey injured, and could see some more of you. What's it like finally getting on the field?


"It's a big experience, a big change from watching on the sidelines. It is just changing, preparing, adjusting. It's a lot to go through."


Have the coaches told you what type of playing time to be prepared for this weekend or is that still up in the air?


"Not really. We're just waiting to see what's going on with Mike and see if he plays. If he doesn't then obviously I will play, but if he doesn't then that's okay, too, just as long as we beat Stanford."


What was it like, your first game time experience?


"I was real nervous, real jittery, even in the Rose Bowl, which is the best place to play. It was just one of those things where I was real nervous until we snapped the football. After that it was just playing football."


With the team doing as well as it is, what's it like for someone with not as much experience to step in and fill the role of a veteran player? Does that put more pressure on you?


"Some pressure but some good. You know the guys on the field are going to take care of you if you just handle your job since you don't have to make any superstar plays or anything. But still, you know you're playing for the No. 8 team in the nation, you know you have the 7-0 record on the line, so yeah, there is some worry."


How do you fill the shoes of McCloskey?


"That's big time. You can't replace him, you just have to hope you don't make any mistakes or change the game in a bad way. But to replace a Rimington candidate? I don't know if that's going to happen."


Do you feel comfortable taking over the role of making calls from the line?


"Yeah, that's part of the things that go with the position. I just have to get comfortable with the calls and make them. I've been working real hard over the last couple of days, watching a lot of film to try to get ready this week."


Have your goals as a team changed in the past few weeks as you guys have reached higher levels of success?


"No, not really. We just want to go 1-0 each week, take one game a week, one step at a time. That's pretty much it because you can't look too far ahead."


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