Rick Neuheisel's return to Washington has been the primary topic as UCLA's football team prepares for Saturday's game, but Wayne Moses is going back to his former home too.
Moses, the Bruins' running backs coach, served in the same capacity under Neuheisel with the Huskies in 1999 and 2000, helping Washington advance to the Rose Bowl in his final year and becoming one of the rare individuals to experience the game as a player and coach. He was a starting cornerback on Washington's 1978 Rose Bowl squad.
The 2000 season "was a great year, how it all fell into place," Moses said. "We won games with no time left on the clock, on the road. We just caught fire. All year, we were just on a rhythm, on a roll."
Washington holds a special place -- Moses' daughter, Valerie, graduated from there -- but as the 3-6 Bruins head north to face the winless Huskies, Moses said sentiment is taking a back seat.
"I'm not thinking about anything but trying to win a game, No. 4," he said. "Offensively, we haven't caught our stride."
Last year, linebacker Reggie Carter returned to the playing field eight days after undergoing arthroscopic knee surgery. This season, sophomore Reggie Stokes nearly matched him, playing against Oregon State last Saturday after having his knee surgery in late October.
"It feels good, 100%," Stokes said Wednesday, volunteering to play "as long as the coaches allow [against Washington]."
Stokes said quad exercises strengthened the knee, and assuring consultations with Carter have provided confidence.
"I told him you'll be fine, that they'll put you asleep, you won't remember a thing, the swelling will go down, they'll put a brace on you and you'll start practicing," Carter said. "That's exactly what happened."
Actor Josh Duhamel, from the former NBC series "Las Vegas" and the film "Transformers," turned some heads by stopping by practice and walking the sideline. As the weather cooled, Duhamel, who's engaged to singer Fergie, donned a hoodie.
Asked if he was a Bruins fan, he said, "Heck yeah. Coach Neuheisel gave me this sweatshirt," imprinted with a large UCLA logo.
Receiver Nelson Rosario returned to full strength after experiencing soreness in his injured ankle Tuesday. And Neuheisel said he expects senior Micah Reed to supplant Jake Dean as starting center.
Twenty-two freshmen have played in nine games -- but the trend has not extended to the running backs.
Starting tailback Kahlil Bell, a senior, has gotten the majority of the workload with backup Derrick Coleman, a freshman, stepping in for a few series each game.
After that, it has been slim pickings.
"There just aren't a lot of carries right now," Neuheisel said.
Freshman Raymond Carter has 19 rushes for 26 yards. Another freshman, Aundre Dean, has run twice for one yard.
Neuheisel blamed a ground game that has failed to generate any consistency.
The Bruins are rushing about 30 times a game. Oregon leads the Pacific 10 Conference in rushing with an average of 46 running plays.
"If you had 40 carries, you could go with three backs," Neuheisel said. "We haven't had the luxury of having those kinds of carries."
Times staff writer David Wharton contributed to this report.