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White Has Healthy Attitude

August 26, 2004|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

No one can blame UCLA's Manuel White if he is a little cautious the next 10 days leading to the Bruins' Sept. 4 opener against Oklahoma State at the Rose Bowl.

After being injured for much of his collegiate career, the senior running back is sound and ready to play.

"Manny is the type of player that you want in your program because of his maturity," running backs coach Eric Bieniemy said about White, who has rushed for 1,050 yards and scored 13 touchdowns at UCLA despite sitting out nine games over the last two seasons because of injuries. "He's a seven-year veteran who happens to be in his fifth year. He is a leader on and off the field. Manny has a very, very special future ahead of him."

But White, who missed nearly a week of camp after suffering a concussion, understands he has to stay injury-free. He said the best way to do that was to not worry about it.

"I'm not pulling back," said White, whose major injuries have been a shoulder injury and a pulled hamstring. "If anything, I'm going full blast even more in practice because I've missed so much time. Coach Bieniemy always tells me to worry about the things that I can control and that's what I'm doing. I feel that I've gotten all of the injuries out of the way."

With sophomore Maurice Drew holding down the starting tailback position, Coach Karl Dorrell has been working White in a variety of ways to get him involved in the offense. White not only has lined up at tailback in camp, but he also has been used at fullback.

"I love how they are putting me in different places," said White, who helped the Bruins to a 6-2 start last season and then watched them finish 0-5 after he was injured. "I'm just trying to learn everything."


Starting defensive tackle Kevin Brown had an MRI exam on his left knee and the results were negative. Dorrell said that he hoped to have Brown and defensive ends Kyle Morgan and Brigham Harwell, both sidelined because of arthroscopic knee surgery, practicing early next week.... Starting middle linebacker Justin London, who suffered a high ankle sprain a week ago, still needs a crutch and is wearing a soft walking boot. Dorrell said it was unlikely that London would play against Oklahoma State. Sophomore Danny Nelson is expected to start in London's spot. According to Dorrell, Tim Warfield, who has been sidelined with a knee injury, would be Nelson's backup if he returns to practice next week. Outside linebacker Wesley Walker also could play in the middle if needed.

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