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Football Notes

One of the major questions facing UCLA defense this spring and the upcoming training camp in August is going to be about who is going to step up to fill the shoes of Justin Hickman. Hickman and Davis were absolute monsters last years. Opposing teams hardly ever had any answers for the combination of those two sack-masters.

Now that Hickman is gone it is a pretty good bet that Bruce Davis is going to get a lot of extra attention. So someone is going to need to come up big. Coaches are counting on the other Nikola Dragovic. Dragovic sounds confident in the LAT:

"I think Bruce and I are going to be a good combination," Dragovic said. "He has shown what he can do and teams know him. That will open up opportunities for me."

Dragovic might not be as feared, at least not yet, but he is hardly a newbie to this situation.

The Bruins have only one spot open on defense, one that was filled two years ago, when Dragovic came out of camp with the starting job. He lasted four games before tearing the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, which required surgery.
Dragovic’s coach (DL Coach Todd Howard) sounds confident about ND as well (also from the LAT):
"He's 20-30 pounds heavier than Hickman and a lot stronger," defensive line coach Todd Howard said of Dragovic. "He may not be as athletic as Hickman, but he can do something Hickman couldn't because of his size."

Dragovic, who will be a senior, played in all 13 games in 2006, though he said his knee didn't feel right until midway through the season. He entered spring practice No. 1 at his defensive end spot.

"Coach Howard has really helped with the little things," said Dragovic, who sat out Monday's practice because of a tender hamstring. "Mostly with footwork and using different styles. We have freedom to make decisions out there, to make plays or to screw up."
In other words Hickman’s departure should not be an excuse if the defense fails to step up this upcoming season.

Elsewhere WR Jeremy McGee was confused about his role in the program. So he sought out Dorrell for a meeting:
McGee's meeting: Receiver Jeremy McGee said he sought out Bruins coach Karl Dorrell and had a meeting with him during the offseason because he was confused about his role.

McGee, who will be a sophomore, began last season as a tailback, was shifted to cornerback because of injuries, and finished the season as a receiver.

"I wanted to get some stability, and (Dorrell) told me what he needed me to do," McGee said. "That's why I'm here (playing receiver) now. I needed to have that meeting so I knew what they expected out of me, and how they would use me."

McGee's speed makes him an interesting receiver despite his size (5-foot-10, 178pounds), and he said he was assured he would be used creatively, be it slip screens or reverses.
A player confused about his role in Dorrell’s program and seeking clarification? We have heard that song and dance before … haven’t we?

Anyways … hopefully now that another WR coach is in the program … hopefully he will help McGee develop into a good player. That is what good coaches are supposed to do in a major, high profile program such as UCLA. Hopefully McGee, Dorrell, and Scott (new WR coach) have it all figured out.

We are not going to be in the mood to hear excuses when they start playing games this upcoming season.