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Bruins Drop 2 Players

June 23, 2004|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

UCLA football Coach Karl Dorrell had high hopes for defensive lineman Junior Lemau'u and wide receiver Antwuan Smith, but that did not stop him from kicking both players out of the Bruin program for failing to follow team rules as he pushes for more discipline.

Although neither player was listed as a starter at the end of spring practice, they were expected to contribute as redshirt freshmen in the fall. But after Lemau'u continued to miss mandatory meetings and Smith failed to show improved effort academically, Dorrell dismissed them.

"All of our players are expected to meet certain guidelines to remain in our program," Dorrell said. "Junior and Antwuan have had several opportunities to meet those guidelines and have failed, so they are no longer part of our program."

Losing two players such as Lemau'u and Smith is a blow for the Bruins, who are coming off a 6-7 season and need to improve their overall talent level.

With starting end Kevin Harbour Jr. rehabilitating a knee injury suffered in spring practice, the departure of Lemau'u depletes an already thin defensive line.

But this is nothing new for Lemau'u, who was suspended for the last eight games of 2003 for violating team rules regarding academics. Lemau'u, a former standout at Long Beach Poly High, was reinstated to the team in January but still had problems.

Smith, who committed to UCLA as a recruit in 2002 out of Clovis Buchanan High under then-Bruin coach Bob Toledo, did not enroll at UCLA until January 2003 because he did not qualify academically. Smith redshirted last season and was listed as a backup behind starters Craig Bragg and Junior Taylor.

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