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Tuesday Bruin Roundup

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Lots to get to this Tuesday morning. Offense getting ready for Utah's blitzing Ds. Special teams assignments getting hashed out, and some other knick-knacks. Here is today's roundup from papers in the Southland:

LA Times's Lonnie White gives the scoop on some of the key players in Utah's blitzing defense:

Utah's defensive strength is its versatility led by Weddle, who has started since his freshman year and has 11 interceptions, nine sacks and 20 tackles for loss in his career. On any given play, the former Alta Loma High standout can line up at strong safety or cornerback, and will also be used often as a blitzer.

"He is one of their better players on defense," Pitre said of Weddle, who had four interceptions last season, one returned for a touchdown.

"I know I watched a lot of film of their bowl game against Georgia Tech and he played mainly cornerback against Calvin Johnson. That shows what type of athlete he is. They move him around a lot and like to bring him on blitzes. He's a hard-nosed guy who doesn't necessarily deliver the big hit but seems to be where the ball is at all of the time."

The 6-foot, 200-pound Weddle is not the only multidimensional player on defense for the Utes. Casey Evans -- a second-team all-conference free safety last season -- will start at linebacker but also play safety in the Utes' nickel defense, while Steve Tate, a free safety, can also play multiple positions.

Last season, Utah won four of its final five games, including a 38-10 victory over Georgia Tech in the Emerald Bowl.
Pitre and the TEs (Paulsen, Moya, Hair et al) need to be ready. They will have to pick up the blitzes protecting Ben Olson. From the practice reports it seems like Ben Olson has been doing pretty well in throwing the quick outs and short passes. I know that is just practice. But if Olson can come out and complete some quick short passes, setting up short yardage situations on second downs, we are going to be fine.

Ramona Shelburne of the Daily News has nice story on true frosh Jeremy McGee from New Orleans, who understandably is still adjusting to life after Katrina.

Also from the Daily News, Shelburne notes include how Dorrell is still sticking with Chris Markey (another Louisiana native) on punt return duties, since freshmen Austin is still not quiet read:
Last week, Dorrell said he wanted to get tailback Chris Markey out of returning punts to reduce his workload.

But Monday, Dorrell reversed course, naming Markey the starting punt returner for Saturday's season opener against Utah at the Rose Bowl. Sophomore Ryan Graves is the back-up.

"I've had to retract that. We'd love to give Terrence Austin the job, but he's not ready to handle that responsibility yet," Dorrell said.

Dorrell said Austin needed to work on his decision-making and reading the ball off the punter's foot.

Markey didn't seem to mind the change in plans, but added that he won't mind handing the job off to Austin when he's ready.

"Punt returner is one of the hardest positions to play, I think. It's the hardest catch to make in football," Markey said.
Sure hope Austin picks this up soon. I have never been crazy about starting tailbacks out there returning punts (MJD was a special talent but even him got banged up a lot because he was doing so many things for the team).

OC Register has it's Pac-10 preview out. It's pretty generic. And it's key Pac-10 games excludes the primetime showdown between UCLA and Cal. Whatever.

OC Register's daily report focused on Kevin Brown. Brown is definitely a key player, but as we mentioned before there are lot of options in our DL right now. It is deep (as evidenced by Brown and Moline being listed as second string spot). Dorrell agrees:
"We feel we have depth in our defensive line to play eight people now instead of just four or five people," Coach Karl Dorrell said. "Kevin will be in a strong rotation along with Lombard and Harwell and Moline. Those four guys will be playing consistently, but someone has to start."
It is going to be really interesting to see how the revamped DL handle the Utes spread attack this Saturday. They are going to be breaking in some new RBs (including former Trojan injury prone Darryl Poston). I fully expect our DL to handle their O. This is why DeWayne Walker was paid the big bucks.

Lonnie White's colleague T.J. Simers was also on campus yesterday. Apparently Dorrell couldn't answer his question on why UCLA didn't get a single AP vote. And, to make matters worse for TJ (who these days is a huge Bruin fan), when he went over the Dodger stadium, he had this exchange with Dodger manager Grady Little:
"Anyone else have any questions they want to ask?" Little replies.

"Have you been hanging around with Karl Dorrell?" I ask.

"Who?" Little says, and there you go.

"It's no wonder UCLA doesn't get a single vote in the AP poll," I tell Little.

"Here you are, the manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers, working in this city and you don't even know who the coach of the UCLA football team is these days."

"I know who the USC coach is," says Little with a grin.
Well 9 wins and beating SC will solve this problem. If Dorrell beats SC and win 9 regular season games, people in this town will know about (for all the right reasons). Otherwise, chatter will heat up on getting in another guy who will put Bruin football back on the map ... of Los Angeles.

GO BRUINS.