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After losing five straight games, UCLA is hungry for a win

Coach Rick Neuheisel doesn't want the Bruins to become scared. 'You can't protect yourself from the pain. . . . You have to take the risk.'

November 07, 2009|Chris Foster

Focus doesn't get any simpler than this.

"We've talked about going 9-3, which is good; 8-4, which is all right; 7-5, which is not bad. But, come on, let's just get a victory," UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter said. "Regardless of what is considered good at the end of the year, how about getting a 'W' this weekend?"

Well, the Bruins get a "W" this weekend: Washington.

Whether they get the "W" remains to be seen.

Both sides must see opportunity here. Washington has lost four of its last five games and has not defeated UCLA at the Rose Bowl since 1996, losing the last six.

Meanwhile, the Bruins have a five-game losing streak -- all in conference play.

The skid brought another to the mind for UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel.

His senior season as quarterback, the Bruins started 0-3-1 in 1983 and he was benched after the third game.

"I was done for all intents and purposes," Neuheisel said. "But I went in against Stanford in the fifth game after Steve Bono was injured. I remember throwing an interception that was returned for a touchdown. I went to the bench and had a conversation with myself that I was done playing scared and I was done playing like I had never played football before."

UCLA won the game and lost only once more the rest of the season, then beat Big Ten Conference champion Illinois in the Rose Bowl.

Neuheisel trotted out those thoughts a week ago, before his team played Oregon State.

"I told the team that when you're going through tough times, you can't build a cocoon around yourself," Neuheisel said. "You can't protect yourself from the pain. The hurt is a good thing. It means it is important to you. You have to take the risk."

Though it's not the "Gipper" speech, the Bruins did play better, and took risks, in a 26-19 loss to Oregon State.

"We get a victory this week and all is forgotten," Carter said.


No pain, no gain

Carter, who has played the last three games with an injured left knee, says he feels better -- not that it affects whether he will play.

"If I can walk, I'm playing," Carter said.


Other injuries

UCLA will be without receiver Morrell Presley (sprained shoulder), cornerback Aaron Hester (leg), defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski (foot) and guard Eddie Williams (knee). Wide receiver Randall Carroll (groin) is doubtful.

Washington will be without defensive tackle Cameron Elisara (neck) and linebacker E.J. Savannah (broken hand). Quarterback Jake Locker (thigh bruise) and wide receiver Jordan Polk (knee) are expected to play.


Recruit watch

UCLA will have three high-end recruits making official visits this weekend: Owamagbe Odighizuwa, a defensive end from Portland (Ore.) Douglas High, is ranked second nationally at his position by George Uko, a defensive tackle from Chino Don Lugo, is ranked fourth at his position. Aramide Olaniyan, an outside linebacker from Woodberry Forest (Va.), is ranked 18th at his position.


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