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UCLA REPORT

Defensive Line Still Has Plenty of Issues to Face

September 07, 2004|Lonnie White | Times Staff Writer

Since Coach Karl Dorrell does not have any players like Dave Ball waiting in the wings, UCLA's collection of inexperienced defensive linemen will have to continue to learn on the job, starting with the Bruins' game Saturday at Illinois.

Junior tackle C.J. Niuisulu, UCLA's most experienced lineman, will have stitches removed today from last week's arthroscopic surgery on his left knee.

At best, Niuisulu would be back for the Bruins' game at Washington on Sept. 18, but probably not until after UCLA's bye the following weekend.

But UCLA will have ends Kyle Morgan and Brigham Harwell worked into the game plan more this week. In Saturday's 31-20 loss to Oklahoma State, Morgan and Harwell played sparingly after having recovered from knee surgeries on Aug. 16.

Another good sign for the Bruins is the coming return of middle linebacker Justin London, who has been sidelined because of an ankle sprain since Aug. 19.

London, who was replaced in the starting lineup by Danny Nelson on Saturday, has been running and could be back in practice this week.

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Dorrell on quarterback Drew Olson, who completed 16 of 36 passes for 252 yards and no touchdowns with two interceptions against the Cowboys: "He can get a lot better. He missed some opportunities when we had a chance to make some bigger plays. He chose the conservative route and hit the back out of the backfield.... As we get more familiar, he's going to sharpen up and hit some big plays for us."

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