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UCLA REPORT

Changes Include Practice Jerseys

August 14, 2003|Steve Henson | Times Staff Writer

Sights and sounds from the first day of fall camp, signaling a new football era at UCLA:

* Practice jerseys are a shade lighter and have shoulder stripes, making them nearly identical to the home game jerseys. New game jerseys will have block lettering, a throwback to the 1980s when first-year Coach Karl Dorrell was a Bruin receiver.

* The shorts of heralded freshman running back Maurice Drew, a 5-foot-8 fireplug, hang below his knees. But they didn't keep him from displaying power and an exceptional burst of speed.

Drew also does not lack confidence, making it clear he does not want to be a redshirt.

"They recruited me to play," he said Wednesday.

* The loudest voice among new assistants, that of secondary coach Gary DeLoach, carries a distinct Texas twang, a product of his Houston upbringing. He coached the secondary at North Texas State the last three years.

* More than half of the practice was spent on seven-on-seven and 11-on-11 scrimmaging. Substitutions were made liberally and players were expected to know the playbook even at this early juncture.

"We will do a lot of 11-on-11 work, with or without pads," Dorrell said. "They have to learn to play at [different] tempos."

* The result was a spirited workout with an abundance of mistakes caused by nervousness.

"There was a lot of nervous energy," Dorrell said. "Guys wanted to do so well and make a splash. They did, just not always in a positive way."

*

Matt Ware's second summer in the Seattle Mariner farm system was short, but sweet. His swing, anyway, was sweet enough to bang out eight hits in 15 at-bats for Peoria, Ariz., in rookie league games.

The junior cornerback spent only 33 days playing baseball, returning to UCLA on July 11 to focus on preparing for the football season.

"I felt a lot more comfortable this time around," he said. "I could hit the breaking ball better and threw well from the outfield."

Ware said he plans to continue pursuing baseball next summer.

*

Defensive back Nnamdi Ohaeri sat out practice because he was undergoing tests on his heart. A heart murmur was discovered during his preseason physical, but doctors cleared him Wednesday to resume playing next week. Ohaeri's given first name is Glenn and during the off-season he had it legally changed to Nnamdi, which had been his middle name.... Offensive tackle Alex Potasi and defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti have recovered from knee injuries and are practicing.... Running back Jason Harrison is making a strong recovery from two knee surgeries and could be ready to play by midseason.... Tight end Keith Carter is being held out of practice to give his hip more time to recover. Carter was in a motorcycle accident in April.... Receiver Tab Perry will have shoulder surgery late this week or early next week. Perry, a senior, is academically ineligible and plans to return for the 2004 season.

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