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New Attitude for Anderson

October 16, 1998|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

Marques Anderson is a member in good standing with the UCLA secondary again.

He is still the backup to Ryan Roques at left cornerback, but is holding steady, and playing in the nickel package is a lot better than the direction Anderson was headed about three weeks ago. That's when Coach Bob Toledo lighted a fire under him, not merely benching Anderson as part of the shake-up that hit the secondary after the Houston game, but doing so with these harsh words: "He did not show a lot of intensity, he didn't cover guys, he didn't tackle guys."

What followed was the recovery, first against Washington State and then against Arizona.

"I got a wake-up call," Anderson said.

The first couple of weeks were spent dealing with the pressure of being the only returning starter at cornerback and the doubt that came with it. Anderson had worried whether five starts left him up to expectations.

"It was just a reality check," Anderson said of Toledo's decision. "He only did it out of love. There's no soft way around it. If I wasn't playing hard, I wasn't playing hard.

"I wasn't playing with a lot of intensity. I wasn't going through the motions, but I was a little timid as far as carrying over the emotions of last year. I was lacking confidence. I was wondering if I would have the same kind of season. Coach reminded me just to go out and play."

Says Toledo now, "I think he's learning he can play hard."


A crowd of 70,000 is expected for Saturday's game. No tickets will be sold at the Rose Bowl.

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