A big deal, said freshman cornerback Marques Anderson of starting his first game for UCLA, Saturday in front of 76,000 at Memorial Stadium in Austin, Texas.
But not the biggest deal. "I ran in front of 80,000," he said after being told Thursday he will start at cornerback against Texas. "It was the Penn Relays, and I ran the anchor leg in the 4 by 400 for Long Beach Poly. We came out with the third-fastest time in the nation last year. My split was a 46.3 [seconds]."
Wait a minute. Penn Relays. Franklin Field in Philadelphia. Capacity about 60,000.
"They packed it in," Anderson insisted. "It was 80,000."
Regardless of the crowd, Anderson will spend a good bit of Saturday alone in man-to-man defense. It is his third game as a collegian. He spent Game 1 on special teams and the second half of Game 2, against Tennessee, at the corner, where only one pass by Peyton Manning was caught against him.
That, a shoulder injury to starter Aaron Roques, and his performance in practice this week, pushed Anderson into a starting job ahead of redshirt freshman Damian Allen and sophomore Jason Bell.
Another switch in the secondary involves Wasswa Serwanga reclaiming his roverback job from Eric Whitfield, who started the first two games. That means that three of the five defensive backs who started the season opener at Washington State will be watching on Saturday: Shaun Williams and Roques, who are injured, and Whitfield.
Glenn Thompkins starts again for Williams at free safety.