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Inside College Football | UCLA REPORT

Brown Moves to the Offense

October 23, 2003|Mike DiGiovanna | Times Staff Writer

The primary reason Kevin Brown chose UCLA over Florida State in February was he believed the Bruin coaching staff would not ask the talented and versatile lineman to play offense.

So, guess who will be splitting time with junior Paul Mociler at right guard against Arizona State on Saturday night? That would be Brown, the 6-foot-2, 289-pound freshman whose experimental move from defensive tackle to offensive guard last week became permanent -- at least for this season -- Wednesday.

"The same thing happened at Long Beach Poly -- I went there to play defense and wound up playing offense," said Brown, who transferred from Serra High in Gardena to Long Beach Poly in his junior year of high school.

"It's definitely frustrating because I was trying to find a place where I didn't have to play offense. I thought I did, but now it's coming back. But Coach [Karl] Dorrell guaranteed me it was a one-year thing."

The UCLA offense has struggled to move the ball consistently all season, and quarterback Drew Olson was sacked six times in Saturday's win over California.

Dorrell wasn't sure whether Brown would start against Arizona State but said he and Mociler would rotate at the position.

"We're hoping to raise the level of productivity on the line," said Dorrell, who met with Brown earlier this week to discuss the switch.

Asked whether there was any way he would play offense next season, Brown said, "No, not full-time. Next year I will be right back on defense. For the rest of this year, I'm strictly an offensive lineman.

"Coach Dorrell said I needed to make this transition for the team.

"I'm just a freshman who came here to play ball. Whatever they need me to do, I'll do."

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Further tests revealed that cornerback Matt Ware, the Bruins' top pass defender, suffered a high left ankle sprain Oct. 11 against Arizona, an injury that could sideline the junior for the rest of the regular season.

Dorrell said doctors say "it's a three-week injury," but high ankle sprains often take up to six weeks to heal. Asked whether it's possible he could be out for the year, Ware said, "I don't know, I've got to see how well it gets. ... They never said it's season-ending. They just said at some point it will feel better and I can back on the field."

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Dorrell said senior defensive tackle Rodney Leisle, who suffered a bruised left collarbone Saturday against Cal, remains "very doubtful" for the Arizona State game.

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