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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : UCLA : Jordan Works Out as Two-Way Player

August 28, 1994|JIM HODGES

Yes, that was Kevin Jordan catching a pass from Ryan Fien on the first series of Saturday's scrimmage in the Rose Bowl.

Yes, that was Jordan, wearing a Tennessee-yellow vest over his No. 4, making a hit on tight end Josh Eby.

Kevin Jordan, two-way player? Could happen.

Moving freshman Shaun Williams from the defensive backfield to tailback has created a problem on defense, and the Bruins are considering having Jordan, who caught 45 passes last season as a sophomore, play defensive back in five- and six-back alignments.

"We're a big safety short," said Coach Terry Donahue. "We've looked at Glenn Thompkins and Javelin Guidry (both freshmen) back there, and they've played well."

But both are short, and Jordan is 6 feet 2.

"We gave him about a 20-minute lesson before practice and just played him six plays to get a look at him on film."

It's fine with Jordan.

"I played defensive back in high school," he said. "They just had me covering the tight end, jamming him, to see if I could do it. It was something I think I could enjoy. Just put me out there. I just want to help out."

Freshman Tod McBride is getting the first look, which, if he measures up, would make him a full-time defensive back. But, if McBride is so-so, Jordan is next in line.

"I don't really think that it's going to work with Kevin," said Donahue. "That's my gut feeling."

But, he said, he wouldn't hesitate to play an upperclassman two ways if it he felt it was necessary to win.

*

The scrimmage was 94 plays, 79 of which were at a hit-but-don't-hurt tempo, called "thud" at UCLA. The 15 live plays involved the freshmen and scout teams.

With Sharmon Shah excused to rest his knee, Daron Washington started at tailback, with James Milliner at fullback. What goes around has come around for the Bruins, who have looked at various combinations of backs, gone through various injuries and might well line up against Tennessee in the season opener Saturday night with Washington and Milliner, which was their starting backfield in last season's opener against California.

"We're thinking they, with (freshmen) Greg Ford and Shaun Williams will be the four backs," said Donahue. "We're thinking that if we get anything from Shah and (Derek) Ayers, it will be a bonus."

*

Among the attendees was the Whittier High football team, which gathered to greet Ford after the scrimmage. He is a walk-on freshman who has practiced his way onto the depth chart and will probably get playing time against Tennessee. . . . Donahue is also leaning toward using freshman Jim McElroy to return kickoffs and said he may have to use other freshmen for depth. They include linebacker Danjuan Magee, defensive lineman Vae Tata and defensive backs Thompkins, Guidry and perhaps DuVal Hicks and McBride.

*

Freshman linebacker Larry Atkins didn't practice. The NCAA Initial Clearing House has yet to certify his eligibility because it can't find work he did as a freshman at Santa Monica High, before transferring to Venice High. As is policy at UCLA, his uniform and pads were taken away until he is cleared, which should come on Monday. Officials said the problem was merely a paperwork snafu at NCAA offices.

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