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COLLEGE FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : UCLA

Buck Back in Parade as Bruin Backup

August 24, 1996|JIM HODGES

He was part of the parade: a redshirt season, then competing for the backup job, then . . .

"Then, they all proceeded to pass me by," Steve Buck said Friday.

And freshman Cade McNown became the drum major.

Buck is UCLA's backup quarterback, but hardly the heir apparent because he and McNown are both sophomores. Buck figured to be the backup last season until he jammed a thumb on his throwing hand in the first week of practice.

"We all figured we'd be backing up Ryan Fien," he said.

But Fien was injured, and McNown stepped up, only a few months out of high school, and there was Buck, back in a familiar position, quarterbacking the scout team.

His response has been to gain weight, to 205 pounds spread over a 6-foot-5 frame, and to strengthen his arm.

He has yet to throw a college pass, but . . .

"He'll see time this season," offensive coordinator Alan Borges said.

With a young and inexperienced offensive line, McNown figures to spend a fair amount of time on the run and vulnerable. Buck figures to spend a fair amount of time getting ready to play.

"It's exciting this year," he said. "I believe I'll get my shot."

*

Josh Webb got a look at nose guard with the first-team defense. Webb, a 270-pound freshman was being evaluated for a defensive line that is shy of depth because of injuries. . . . Sophomore Mike Grieb has separated himself from the pack and figures to start at tight end. . . . The Bruins will hold an open scrimmage at Spaulding Field today at 4 p.m.

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