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College Football | UCLA REPORT

Results Sought After Time Off

November 27, 2001|Mike Bresnahan

The Bruins put pads on for the first time since being bruised and beaten by USC, trying to concentrate on Saturday's game against Arizona State while continuing to pick salt from their wounds after a 27-0 pasting by the Trojans.

The players had meetings and light conditioning last Monday and Tuesday before being told by Coach Bob Toledo to take the rest of the week off.

"Being out there would have been a lost cause," safety Marques Anderson said. "It's been a strenuous road and I think the team needed a little rest, to get off our feet and go home with our families. We just needed to find where everybody's head was going into Arizona State."

The Bruins (6-4, 3-4 in Pacific 10 play) needed quiet time. Family time. Anything but football last week.

"I thought that was a good thing to do because I know a lot of players were frustrated and confused," linebacker Ryan Nece said. "A lot of different emotions were going on with our team. It was good for everybody."

The Bruins are even looking forward to playing in a bowl, with the Silicon Valley Bowl in San Jose and the Humanitarian Bowl in Boise, Idaho, being distinct possibilities.

"We're treating this like a two-game season," linebacker Robert Thomas said.

The time off might have helped the Bruins get healthier.

Cornerback Matt Ware (separated shoulder), receiver Ryan Smith (ankle) and safety Jason Stephens (turf toe) practiced Monday, although they are not definite for the Arizona State game.

Anderson is still suffering from torn cartilage in his ribs.

"He's probably my biggest [injury] concern right now," Toledo said. "We'll have to wait and see on that right now."


Thomas, a senior, was selected the Pac-10 defensive player of the year on Monday.

He set the school single-season record for tackles for loss with 24 this season and he leads the Pac-10 with 106 tackles.

"Everything's falling into place," said Thomas, one of three finalists for the Butkus Award given annually to the nation's top linebacker. "I believe I've had a good season and done the best I can do."

Including Thomas, five UCLA players were first-team selections, more than any other team in the conference. Other first-team selections for the Bruins were running back DeShaun Foster, defensive end Kenyon Coleman, cornerback Ricky Manning and punter Nate Fikse.

Second-team selections included Anderson, tight end Bryan Fletcher, offensive tackle Mike Saffer and defensive tackle Rodney Leisle.

Oregon quarterback Joey Harrington was the Pac-10 offensive player of the year.

Mike Price of Washington State was coach of the year.

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