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Counting on Freshmen

Today's papers are talking about how Dorrell finally may be doing something he should have done long time ago: get our talented freshmen more playing time on Saturday. However, I found this note from Dohn interesting:

Two days after UCLA's loss to Oregon, Bruins freshman receiver Terrence Austin said he and other freshmen had one-on-one meetings with coach Karl Dorrell.

The message was to hunker down because they were going to be utilized more than they were the first half of the season.

When UCLA visits No. 10 California on Saturday, running back Chane Moline and Austin should see plenty of action, and cornerback Alterraun Verner could see extended time in UCLA's base defense.

"Each one of us met one-on-one, and they told us that," Austin said. "They said, `Make sure you guys get your head in the playbook because we're throwing you guys out there.' "

The change began last week when Moline carried six times for 32 yards against Washington State. In the Bruins' first seven games, he had 10 carries.

Austin did not play Oct. 14 against Oregon and sat out the past two games with a hamstring injury. One of the most talked about incoming freshmen, Austin is still looking for his first reception.
Hmm. Okay I will buy the excuse of Austin's injury? But how come Moline didn't get more carry at South Bend when it was becoming pretty clear Markey and Bell were not getting the job done?  In fact Bell really hasn't done much the whole season. And given Moline has shown his ability to get some tough yardage along with scoring in the end zone, why didn't we see more of him in that pivotal ND game?

Not to mention why didn't we see ATV getting more time than just playing the nickel package last weekend, when it was becoming obvious Van wasn't getting it done? In fact according to Van in yesterday's paper it was him who took himself out of the game, instead of the defensive coaches making any adjustment.

Naturally Dorrell's staff which so magnificent in making in game adjustment is reacting after the damage has been done:
Defensive changes: Defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker said he wants to play Verner and sophomore free safety Bret Locket more.

Verner already has a big role in UCLA's nickel package, but he could get more time at cornerback behind Rodney Van. Meanwhile, Lockett could spell starter Dennis Keyes.

"We've got to get Lockett in the game, man," Walker said. "...We've got to get him in there and see what he can do.
Whatever. Walker's D really has faced three good offensive teams this season: Oregon, Notre Dame, and Washington State. He is 1 out of 3 and yet there are some people who think he'd be a worthy head coaching candidate. I don't think so.

Elsewhere the OC Register also notes how Austin is going to get some more time in offense.  And the LA Times is reporting how Markey's role may be diminishing a bit as a featured back. Markey will now be part of a "rotation":
Junior Chris Markey is still UCLA's No. 1 running back, but his role as the team's every-down back has definitely changed.

Markey, who leads the Bruins with 643 yards rushing, has gained only 54 yards over the last two games. In last week's 22-point loss to Washington State, he split time with freshman Chane Moline and junior Derrick Williams.

"I'm still optimistic really," said Markey, who rushed for a career-high 208 yards in a victory over Rice in the second week of the season. "You can't really focus on that. The coaches are going to do things what they think is best for the team and I have no place to question that."

Although regular backup Kahlil Bell -- who did not play in a 37-15 loss to Washington State -- is still hobbled because of an ankle injury, Coach Karl Dorrell said UCLA would continue to use a running back rotation against No. 10 California on Saturday.

"Chris is our lead back and he's going to get the bulk of the work and the other guys will be substituted in there," Dorrell said. However, he added, "We're going to utilize all of the guys because they all have distinctive styles and each brings something to the table a little different that can help us offensively."
Whatever KD.  I have heard so much hot air coming out of the mouths of Dorrell's coaching staff last few months (hey I am still waiting to see that shot gun formation that I heard so much about this past off season) that I can't really take anything he says seriously.  I do hope these talented freshmen get a lot of time this weekend and get to make significant contribution to jump start this offense.  Because I have yet to see any evidence of players "learning" and "growing" under Karl Dorrell's tutelage through the course of a football season. Otherwise his teams wouldn't be collapsing down the stretch like it has during his less than average tenure in Westwood.

Maybe just may be these talented freshmen will reverse KD's downward spiral this Saturday at the Memorial Stadium. However, they are going to need help because it's their coaches who will need to put them in positions to win the game, something they haven't done this whole season.