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What's Up Front Can't Be Counted

November 09, 2002|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

The effectiveness of offensive linemen often is difficult to quantify. So the way UCLA blockers see it, numbers put up by the likes of Tyler Ebell rightly qualify as their own.

Especially when they spot a trend. UCLA has had a 100-yard rusher 12 times in the last two seasons.

That's a definite source of pride among the guys up front.

"When a running play is called, there is a different sense of urgency in the huddle," guard Eyoseph Efseaff said. "We get to pound some meat and get some knockdowns. We are roaring off the ball."

Ebell has had five consecutive 100-yard games. He broke the UCLA freshman rushing record against Washington and, with 734 yards, is on pace to break the Pacific 10 Conference freshman record set by Stanford's Darrin Nelson with 1,069 in 1977. Ken Simonton of Oregon State is the only other Pac-10 freshman to have gained 1,000 yards.

Last season, DeShaun Foster had six 100-yard efforts in eight games before he was suspended. Akil Harris added another 100-yard game in the season finale.


Mike Seidman leads the nation's tight ends, averaging 57.78 yards receiving a game, and is within reach of Paul Bergmann's UCLA records for catches and yards by a tight end.

Bergmann had 44 catches in 1983 and 577 yards in 1982. Seidman, a senior, has 31 catches for 520 yards.


Manuel White will play a little at fullback and a little at tailback today. The emphasis will be on "little" for the very large running back because he is coming off a hamstring injury that sidelined him for four games.

"He's in good cardiovascular shape, but not in great running shape," Coach Bob Toledo said. "We'll bring him along slowly [today], then we have a bye week, so by the time we play USC he should be able to contribute more.

White, a 240-pound sophomore, rushed for 231 yards in the first four games.


For the second game in a row, Bruin captains will not include any high-profile skill-position players.

In fact, only two of the four are starters -- tackle Mike Saffer, who grew up in Tucson, and defensive end Dave Ball, who had three sacks last week. The other captains are senior reserve receiver Jon Dubravac, who has played well on special teams, and senior defensive tackle Sean Phillips, who is expected to get substantial playing time because Ryan Boschetti missed two practices this week with a bruised shin.

Against Washington, captains were kicker-punter Nate Fikse, tackle Bryce Bohlander, defensive tackle Steve Morgan and linebacker Brandon Chiller.

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