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UCLA REPORT

Bohlander Has Extra Incentive

October 11, 2002|STEVE HENSON | TIMES STAFF WRITER

Tackle Bryce Bohlander thought he took everything with him when he left his hometown of Keizer, Ore., to return to UCLA in the fall. Turns out he left a piece of his heart.

Bohlander, a senior three-year starter, struck up a friendship with Chris Holt, a 13-year-old Keizer boy who was rushed to the hospital and diagnosed with Leukemia a day after pitching in a Little League game last spring.

Holt loved Oregon State and Oregon, at least until Bohlander put a UCLA cap on his head and sat in the hospital during his radiation treatments.

Before UCLA visited Oregon State last week, Bohlander wrote Holt a letter dedicating the game to him.

"I hope you are feeling better and I know you are disappointed because you can't play football this year," Bohlander wrote. "But you have the rest of your life to play football. Your job right now is to get well.

"I will dedicate every play and every move to you, Chris. Since you can't play, I'll play for you."

Bohlander had one of the best games of his career in the Bruins' 43-35 victory.

UCLA plays host to Oregon this week, but Holt is pulling for the Bruins. And in the more important battle, Holt's cancer is in remission. He had a bone marrow transplant, using his 10-year-old brother as a donor, and hopes to return to school and athletics.

Sherie Farrell, Holt's aunt and a lifelong friend of the Bohlanders, believes that her nephew is richer for having met the UCLA tackle.

"Bryce is a good football player and a good student, but he is a great person," she said. "Chris is so proud to know him."

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Free safety Ben Emanuel told Coach Bob Toledo on Thursday that the pinched nerve in his neck that has kept him from practicing this week is too painful for him to play Saturday.

Jibril Raymo will replace Emanuel, whose rapid development allowed Matt Ware to move from safety to cornerback.

Toledo said Ware would return to free safety if Raymo struggles.

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UCLA can only hope defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti plays as well in his first start as Oregon's Haloti Ngata did last week. Boschetti, a junior college transfer, replaces the Outland Trophy candidate Rodney Leisle, who had foot surgery.

Ngata, a 6-foot-4, 324-pound freshman, had a strong impact in the Ducks' 31-14 victory over Arizona and will be as difficult to budge from the lineup as he is from the line of scrimmage.

"Haloti has great maturity, and we knew that, but it's not just physical maturity, he's mentally tough," Oregon Coach Mike Bellotti said.

"He does some things in terms of getting off of blocks that are amazing. He's a big man and he can run and handle that body."

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