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College Football | UCLA REPORT

Winning With a Fresh Approach

October 29, 2002|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

Oh, to be a freshman the Monday after helping your team to a much-needed victory.

Quarterback Matt Moore and tailback Tyler Ebell polished off cups of ice cream moments before conducting interviews that consisted mostly of soft-serve questions. Moore talked about his mistake-free college debut and Ebell about his fourth consecutive 100-yard rushing game in a 28-18 victory over Stanford Saturday.

"I was sore, but it was a good sore," said Ebell, who is 72 yards from setting the UCLA freshman rushing record. "I'd take this feeling every week if we win and I get 39 carries again."

But a few hours later at practice the tone became more serious. There is no way to sugarcoat the conditions expected Saturday at Washington -- cold, wet and windy.

Moore and Ebell, like most players from Southern California, could not remember playing in bad weather -- at least not recently.

"I played a Pop Warner game in Tehachapi in the snow once when I was 10," Moore said.

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Moore and Drew Olson, who is almost fully recovered from a shoulder injury, will split practice time equally and both will play Saturday.

Coach Bob Toledo will decide on a starter late in the week.

Moore's performance against Stanford had a positive impression on coaches. He made three checks at the line of scrimmage and called an audible, making the correct decision each time.

Although he had trouble locating secondary receivers, his inexperience was barely noticeable -- except when he asked coaches why the clock hadn't stopped for the two-minute warning. "He thought he was in pro ball," Toledo said. "That was funny."

Olson, who has made four appearances in relief, understands the offense better than Moore, a consideration because there will be more emphasis on the passing game this week.

Washington is first in the Pacific 10 Conference in rushing defense and ninth against the pass. "Drew does know the offense better than Matt, he's farther along," Toledo said. "You can't win football games being too simple."

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Defensive tackle Rodney Leisle (foot), running back Manuel White (hamstring) and cornerback Matt Clark (toe) will not play against Washington.

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