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No Special Plans for Williams

October 01, 2003|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

Washington has one of the best receivers in the country in Reggie Williams, a 6-foot-4, 225-pound junior who has already set school records for career receptions (177 and counting) and receiving yards (2,842 and counting), and UCLA has one of the nation's better cornerbacks in junior Matt Ware.

But neither UCLA Coach Karl Dorrell nor defensive coordinator Larry Kerr has any intention of using Ware, who at 6-3 and 223 pounds is big and strong enough to cover physical receivers such as Williams, exclusively against the Husky All-American when UCLA plays Washington on Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

If Williams lines up on UCLA's left side, where 5-9, 174-pound cornerback Matt Clark is stationed, Clark will be Williams' primary defender, and Ware will remain on the right side. If Williams comes to the right side, Ware will be his primary defender.

And if Williams, who caught six passes for 72 yards against the Bruins last season, goes to UCLA's left side on every play in the first half in an effort to exploit his size advantage over Clark, would the Bruins make an adjustment at halftime?

"Probably not, because it doesn't fit our scheme," Kerr said. "No. 1, our defense is designed to double-cover wide-outs, plus Clark has been playing well. I know they'll try to get that matchup [Clark on Williams], but there's a comfort zone for Matt on the right side. If we were a man-to-man team, we'd be more prone to [put Ware on Williams], but in a zone concept, you're not as prone to do that."

Kerr conceded the Bruins could alter their defensive strategy when Washington moves inside the UCLA 20-yard line, known as the "red zone," with Ware guarding against the inevitable fade patterns the Huskies like to throw to the athletic Williams in the end zone.

"It's a possibility," Kerr said of matching Ware against Williams inside the 20, "but we don't expect them to get in the red zone."


Quarterback Matt Moore practiced in full pads for the first time since suffering a bruised left tibia in the season opener against Colorado, "and it looked like he hasn't practiced in a while," Dorrell said.

"But he looked good physically and wasn't favoring his [right] leg, and those are good signs. It's a matter of catching him up offensively and knocking the rust off."

Dorrell would like to get Moore into Saturday's game for a series or two in the first half, but he made no promise that Moore would play. Sophomore Drew Olson will start against Washington, and Moore won't get a shot to reclaim his job until he proves he is "mentally and physically ready to play," Dorrell said.

Although Dorrell said in September that he didn't think a player should lose his job because of an injury, Moore seemed understanding of the decision to start Olson this week.

"I'm back, so my role right now is on the second team," Moore said. "Drew has played well, he's proved himself, and that's the way it is. I'm not going to come back and say I'm the guy. I just took my first snap [Tuesday], and man, I was rusty."


Kicker Justin Medlock suffered a bruised left shoulder Saturday night against San Diego State but is expected to play against Washington.... Freshman Maurice Drew leads the Pacific 10 Conference in kickoff returns with a 28.1-yard average.

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