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Basically, Bruins show little

UCLA REPORT

August 19, 2007|Chris Foster | Times Staff Writer

UCLA may fear no Pacific 10 Conference team this season, but there was sense that Youtube caused a little terror in minds of the Bruins' coaches before Saturday's scrimmage.

The approximately 2,500 fans at Drake Stadium were reminded to keep their video recording devices holstered, then the Bruins proceeded to do the same with their offense.

The roughly 100-play scrimmage was an exercise in the basics, designed to get the players to break a sweat and leave any unwanted eyes guessing whether the new offense was worth sweating over.

"That was just a little preview," wide receiver Marcus Everett said. "We know they got scouts out here and everything. So we just kept it basic."

Or as quarterback Ben Olson said, "We really didn't do a whole lot out here today, it was pretty vanilla."

What the Bruins displayed, they did efficiently. Olson competed seven of 10 passes for 61 yards. Kahlil Bell gained 40 yards rushing and Chris Markey gained 27.

But the second unit received more time than the first and the promise of more aggressive offensive football remained that . . . a promise.

"We weren't really trying for any [touchdowns] in our passing game," Coach Karl Dorrell said. "We got rhythm in our running game. I wanted to see if we could run the ball a little bit. I think we showed some effectiveness on that."

Bell highlighted that effort, with a handful of second-effort runs, including a 12-yarder where he shed two tacklers before being ankle-tackled by strong safety Chris Horton.

But Dorrell seemed to keep the running game in low gears, at least in the use of his personnel. With Bell and Markey as the only healthy tailbacks on scholarship, the bulk of work was done by walk-ons Ryen Carew (17 carries, 38 yards, three touchdowns) and Craig Shepard (12 carries, 46 yards, one fumble).

"It was like a preseason NFL game. We used some plays, but we have a lot of plays," offensive coordinator Jay Norvell said. "We just wanted to come off the ball, block people, throw and catch, get some live snaps and execute."

And for the rest?

"Everything is timed perfectly," Everett said. "Two weeks."

The Bruins, ranked 14th in the preseason Associated Press poll, open the season at Stanford on Sept. 1.

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Even the kick return units, something Dorrell wanted to look at, were given minimal exposure.

The Bruins did four kickoff returns, with their top two return tandems getting one kick each. Matthew Slater broke one for 47 yards and Michael Norris returned the other 21 yards.

"We wanted two live reps just to see what our return scheme looked like," Dorrell said. "Both of them were real positive. Not all got a chance to touch the ball and make a play, but we're going to be evaluating them on what their other responsibilities were."

Terrence Austin, the team's top punt returner, fielded two kicks but did not get a chance at a return on either.

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Kicker Kai Forbath made three field goals from 42, 32 and 30 yards. He missed a 43-yarder and had one kick blocked.

"I think I showed I can handle the pressure and perform when I needed to," he said. "I have a lot of confidence coming out of this."

His next test?

"Stanford," Forbath said.

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How conservative was the offensive approach? Defensive tackle Korey Bosworth returned a fumble 52 yards for a touchdown, the first score of the scrimmage. It took the offensive units more than 50 plays to take the lead.

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One game-like experience was missing -- sacks. Defensive players were only allowed to touch the Bruins' quarterbacks.

"If I would have taken every hit I could have taken, we'd be down to zero quarterbacks," defensive end Bruce Davis said, smiling. "It's tough when you've been taught to play football a certain way your whole life, then all you can do is run by the guy and touch him."

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chris.foster@latimes.com

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