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Humpday News & Notes

Let’s start our Hump Day round up with Brian Dohn who is in full throttle playing the violin mode for Karl Dorrell. Dohn actually put up a post on his blog whining how our kicker doesn’t have perfect practicing condition at Spaulding Field. Thankfully one of his commenters set him straight pointing out how those practicing facilities didn’t exactly negatively impact the game of Medlock, Lee, Johnson et al.

Dohn kept playing his little violin while writing about our current depth at DL in his UCLA report for today:

UCLA's defensive tackle situation is dire, because injuries ravaged the position. Jess Ward has a partially torn posterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Surgery is not needed, but he is expected to miss three to four weeks.

Brigham Harwell did some individual drills Tuesday, but he had to stop because of his ailing knee. Chase Moline's neck and back injuries could keep him out the rest of the season. Siewierski was limited in practice because of a bruised shoulder.

"We'll keep our fingers crossed because these next two weeks, these teams (Washington State and Arizona) are probably going to throw the ball more than they run," Walker said. "If we can hold up these next two weeks, then we should get Ward back right at the time we'll need him back."

Hale, Bosworth in middle: If middle linebacker Christian Taylor (concussion) cannot play, and it looks like he will not, Walker said Taylor's duties will be split.

When UCLA is in its base 4-3defense, Hale will play in the middle with Kyle Bosworth on the strong side and Reggie Carter on the weak side. When UCLA employs its nickel package, Bosworth will call the defensive signals, and Aaron Whittington would be the other linebacker.

"We'll just have two guys playing in the place of one," Walker said. "You would think we should be able to get through the game."
Actually given the fact that our D is taking on two of the worst scoring offenses in the Pac-10 in next two games, we expect them to be just fine and do better than just "get through" those games. After all Walker is supposed to be a super duper defensive genius.

More of the same whining note wrt to depth at our DL from Foster in the LAT:
The defensive tackle spot has been whittled down to the point where freshman defensive tackle Brian Price may get a large chunk of playing time against Washington State this week.

Brigham Harwell is still trying to return from a knee injury. Jess Ward is out at least two weeks after suffering a partially torn ligament in his right knee against California. Chase Moline is probably out for the season because of neck and back injuries. Jerzy Siewierski practiced little Tuesday because of a left shoulder injury.

That left Price, who was ruled eligible by the NCAA Clearinghouse in mid-September, logging plenty of time with the first-team defense.

"He has to show us he can do it," defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker said. "The only way we can find out is reps in the game. He's been around us long enough to where it's time. I always tease him, 'Hey, you come in here well advertised.' Now we're about to find out."

Price's playing time has increased in recent weeks, mostly in passing situations.

"It's pretty easy once you learn the defense," Price said. "The first couple weeks, I had to learn all the technique. But I had a lot of the guys helping me out. Then in the game, everything happens so natural."
I am sure another team ream in the D-1 would love to have the luxury of a program like UCLA, where people are asked to be concerned when a blue chip stud like Brian Price is asked "plug the hole" in its defensive line.

Again none of this injury news will reduce our expectations of total domination in our next two games. Moreover, as this article in the OC Register notes, we now apparently have the perfect defensive scheme (again just forget about the Utah game (from this season, never mind the 5 losses from last season), it was just a "freebie") in place to throttle our opposition:
"Our guys — secondary, linebackers, d-line — we all know where we fit," Bullough said. "We all know what's going to happen, what the other players are going to do. This player is going to spill the ball outside, this guy player is going to box the ball carrier … they know.

"A lot of it is the guys really understand where each other is going to be. They'll know right way. If we get a 3- or 4-yard run, they'll come back to the sideline and say, 'My fault. I was out of my gap. I was supposed to be in there.' They've done a good job with that."

Said Dorrell: "Our front seven does a tremendous job of understanding their responsibilities."

But coaching is key, too, given a decisive physical deficit in some games. Brigham Harwell, the biggest of the Bruins' defensive tackles, hasn't played since suffering a sprained knee ligament in the second week of the season.

"Football is a game that is all about technique. If it were about who is the strongest, there'd be no coaches. There'd just be strength and conditioning coaches," defensive tackle Kevin Brown said.

"People think football is about who weighs the most, but it's about who's the fastest and who can think the quickest, who is the quickest person on their feet.

"Whoever gets their job done, they win. That's the biggest thing about football. We have guys who are intelligent enough to complete their task, no matter how big they are or how fast they are, just by being a step ahead of the game.

"We might not look the part, but we do play the part."
All right. Given all that, we can expect our brilliant coaching scheme to propel us to a dominating finish, ending with our first Pac-10 championship since 1998. Plus our players have those sweeeeeet wristbands.