Before getting to the news and notes on the football front, let’s shift our attention to Ben Ball back on the home page. The Bruins have a monster game tomorrow night at Maples. And right now there are some concerns about how Coach Howland is going to deal with the latest injury to Michael Roll. From the LA Times:
As well, Howland wouldn't say whether he would reconsider the status of power forward James Keefe, who has yet to play this season while recovering from shoulder surgery and is expected to be a redshirt.
Last month, Howland and Keefe agreed the sophomore would sit out this season unless there was a season-ending injury to an inside player. Keefe would be competing for minutes with Lorenzo Mata-Real, Alfred Aboya, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Kevin Love. Roll backed up Josh Shipp and Russell Westbrook.
Howland said Tuesday that he was uncomfortable playing a seven-man rotation during the next 18 conference games.
"As hard as we play defensively and how we emphasize pressuring the ball and how physical and strong our league is, I don't think you can have success playing just seven guys that many minutes," Howland said. "I think we need an eighth and a ninth man available to us."
"It's fine with me," Mbah a Moute said of switching positions. "It's a different mind-set. You're guarding different people. At [small forward] you're chasing people around and getting around screens and stuff. At [power forward] you body up."
"I think (Stanback) improved, and I thought he played well in the game the other night (against UC Davis) and he's had good practices since the Christmas break," Howland said. "I've been pleased with his improvement recently. It is good because we are going to need him.
"Nikola Dragovic is practicing hard, but I told him that the one thing we expect him to do well is shoot the ball well, and he's not done that."
Darren Collison shed his left knee brace for the first time this season Monday and will play without it in Thursday's Pacific-10 Conference opener at No. 24 Stanford.
"He looked good moving around. He's been wanting to take that brace off," Luc Richard Mbah a Moute said. "He won't have to worry about his knee. That guy is so quick, even when he's injured, he's still quick."
Lorenzo Mata-Real (groin) returned to practice and is expected to play Thursday against the Cardinal after missing the UC Davis game. Mustafa Abdul-Hamid (stress reaction right foot) also returned to partial practice.
Needless to say, we are going to need everyone tomorrow night against the Cardinal. I will try to compile some notes on the Cardinal later on tonight or tomorrow. Those guys are off to a great start (11-1). Although, if I have my notes correct, they haven’t really been playing a challenging schedule this early in the season. Their biggest win came against Texas Tech in Dallas (a TT team who had lost to Sam Houston State and Centenary). However, before any of you get a little too comfortable, just keep in mind that we have lost 4 out of our last 5 up at Maples. So it is going to be an all out battle. More on the game later.
Needless to say, our Warriors will have to give everything they have tomorrow night to get off to a good start in what we expect to be a tough and brutal conference season. Let’s get it on.