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SPORTS WEEKEND | COLLEGE FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT / UCLA

No Practice Makes Perfect?

October 23, 1998|SCOTT HOWARD-COOPER

Chris Sailer, still trying to shake the groin strain that has limited his impact, said he will play Saturday at California despite not having practiced kickoffs or field goals all week and not having punted until Thursday.

The 20-25 punts Thursday marked Sailer's first work since last weekend. He has tried to rest the nagging injury that so far has dogged his senior season, one that began with All-American possibilities at both spots. He is only three for eight on field goals, including two for four from the chip-shot range of 20-29 yards and a 21-yarder that could have won the game against Oregon last Saturday in regulation.

Freshman Chris Griffith will travel to Berkeley as the backup kicker, but Coach Bob Toledo does not want to cost Griffith the chance to redshirt just to use him Saturday. The backup punter? Cade McNown.

"I'm not going to know what percentage [I'll be at]," Sailer said. "As far as last game, I was 50-60%.

"It's been kind of an up-and-down thing, but I have a real positive outlook now. I've been in [the trainer's room] for three or four hours strengthening it. I feel pretty confident I'm going to feel good Saturday.

"The way I look at it, I want to play every game. Sitting out a game is not really an option for me."

Said Toledo, who has long given Sailer great latitude in determining his practice routine and now has been doing the same for games: "I owe that to him. He's a great kid. If he feels like he can kick, he'll kick."

*

The injury problems continue at linebacker. Michael Wiley will not travel, marking his fifth consecutive missed game because of back and ankle problems, and Ramogi Huma, still battling the hip sprain that has cost him most or all of the last three contests, will only play in an emergency. . . . The flu bug that seemed threatening at the start of the week has apparently passed. No Bruins are expected to be sidelined by illness.

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