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Humpday Roundup

It's that feel-good time of the year when we get to read stories about how players are getting bigger and faster:

UCLA players wanted to get faster and become more flexible, and several said that happened while working with professional trainer Randy Horton.

Horton, who is known for increasing a player's agility and foot speed, trains players for NFL workouts leading up to the draft. He worked as a consultant to UCLA during the winter quarter, and is doing volunteer work this quarter.

"It's been great work with flexibility, learning how to run, learning how to explode," UCLA senior cornerback Trey Brown said. "He's implemented some great things that are definitely going to show during the season.

"You can see out there ... not only are we playing a lot faster because we've been around the schemes for a whole year, but also because of what coach Horton has done in the weight room and on the track. He's improved the total team speed of the defense."

Horton, who works in conjunction with the strength and conditioning department, is available to all of UCLA's athletic teams.

"I feel a lot faster just with the little bit of work I've done with him," Bruins freshman receiver Terrence Austin said. "It was more of like a track workout. Very similar. I like it, and I'm looking forward to getting back on his workout when spring ball is over."
Well that is awesome. Hope Austin gets to show off that speed on Friday night and even more importantly hopefully all this business of getting "faster" pays off for the team with a Pac-10 championship next season. Gosh it's not like the first time we have heard of UCLA team getting bigger, faster, and developing that perfect chemistry under the leaderships of Karl Dorrell (and Bob Toledo).

Speaking of Terrance Austin, he will be in action this Saturday at Southern Cal playing for the Bruin track team. OC Register's Kuwada has the details on Terrance participating in the high jump competition. This is not something new for TA. He was one of the top high jumpers in the state during his days at Long Beach Poly. Good luck to TA.

Back to the football team. Besides the lackluster duel at QB (it sounds like Cowan has been sucking at practice while BO hasn't done anything to win the job) there is also competition going on for one of the LB spot between Whittington and Hale. Both of them were savvy enough to provide politically correct quotes to the LAT:
"It's a battle every day," Whittington said. "Every day is an interview. But I'm confident they'll make the right decision in terms of who's going to play because I don't think they can go wrong with either of us."

Hale has also been working at middle linebacker with the second-string defense, so he could play some as Christian Taylor's backup. No matter what, he said, he's determined to get on the field somewhere.

"It definitely motivates you more when you're looking for a spot," Hale said. "Especially when you're competing against a player the caliber of Whittington. It definitely pushes you."

Whittington echoed the sentiment, adding that he started worrying about his starting job the day Hale stepped on campus.

"Look at him, he looks like Brian Urlacher," Whittington said. "I'm just trying to keep up."
Good to hear both guys pushing each other. It will only add to the depth our defense which is going to be under a lot of pressure to improve on last year's performance and based upon on the hype being showed on DeWayne Walker. LAT report ended with this amusing note:
The team had a bonding day Monday during which they scaled a wall on campus, watched "The UCLA Dynasty" — the HBO documentary about the John Wooden era — and had a team meal.

"It was good for us," Whittington said. "We got to see the firm foundation of UCLA and that's what John Wooden started."

Dorrell called the day a success, mostly because of the free meal.

"You pretty much have success in anything you try to do as long as you feed them," he said. "So they went away happy."
Uh ... there are just so many jokes that can be inserted in this space ... well I will leave this one alone.

Lastly, over at What's Bruin, Dawg Jason has an interesting analysis of Bruin's offense on 3rd downs, based upon graphic charts generated by Brian at MGoBlog. I will try to jot down more expanded thoughts on Jason's post later. But that shouldn't stop you from giving it a read.