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Freshman Tevaga to Start at Guard

October 23, 2004|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

Freshman Shannon Tevaga is in at strong-side guard and will start today against Arizona State. Junior Robert Cleary is out at weak-side guard and will be replaced by senior Steven Vieira, who moves over from his strong-side position.

UCLA's coaching staff made those moves this week in hopes of shaking up an offensive line that had become stagnant since Maurice Drew's record-breaking rushing day at Washington a month ago.

"Line play is about five guys on the same page doing the right thing," offensive coordinator and line coach Tom Cable said. "In this league and at this level, if you can't run for over 150 yards, you don't have balance. You can't always think that you're going to rush for 280 and 300 yards in every game. That's crazy."

Starting Tevaga is another sign that Coach Karl Dorrell will continue to play his younger players sooner rather than later. Underclassmen such as Tevaga did not play last season when the Bruins lost their last five games.

"This team is a different team than a year ago," Dorrell said. "They have shown more resolve and more resiliency."

Dorrell already has played a school-record 12 freshmen this season. Two more will start today -- defensive end Brigham Harwell and Tevaga. And freshmen wide receivers Marcus Everett and Brandon Breazell and cornerback Rodney Van will also play more minutes.

It's this infusion of first-year players, which also includes redshirt freshmen such as Michael Pitre, the starting fullback, and defensive reserves Bruce Davis, Chris Horton and William Snead, that has Dorrell optimistic about the Bruins.

"At times, we've looked good," Dorrell said. "That's the difference with this team compared to last year. It was hard trying to find a lot of positives last year."


Quarterback Drew Olson said UCLA's running game should look a lot different today against the Sun Devils, who play more conservatively on defense than California and Arizona, the Bruins' last two opponents.

"ASU plays a much more basic defense, and I don't see them getting out of that to try and stop the run," Olson said. "We all have an attitude that we have to get our running game going again. We struggled the last two weeks against teams that play a system designed to stop the run. ASU doesn't play that style."

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