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UCLA FOOTBALL FYI

Defensive line is looking good for UCLA

Junior Brian Price heads a unit with experience.

September 02, 2009|Chris Foster

Every year, UCLA defensive line coach Todd Howard has the same thought: "I always think that the present defensive line is better than the previous one."

This year he could be right.

Any line that starts with Brian Price at defensive tackle is going to be formidable. Price, a 6-foot-2, 300-pound junior, has an NFL future that is already being talked about -- and could possibly begin after this season.

And the Bruins have experience surrounding Price.

Korey Bosworth, a senior, returns at defensive end. He had a team-high 7.5 sacks last season. Senior Jerzy Siewierski moves in at tackle next to Price, and is considered one of the team's best all-around athletes -- "If he lost 30 pounds, he'd be our starting fullback," Howard said.

Even the newcomer has time served. Sophomore Datone Jones started two games last season. Jones, at 6-5, 265 pounds, is 20 pounds heavier this season and seems to have retained his quickness.

"He could be a serious overall player," Howard said. "He runs a sub-4.7 40 [-yard dash] and is only 19 years old. He looks like what a defensive end should look like."

Jones' teammates have been impressed.

"You have to like his instincts," Bosworth said. "Even as a freshman, he came out and played well, even without knowing all the technical aspects. Now he has grown and developed."

Help (for 2010) arrives now

Ohio State transfer Willie Mobley and Colorado transfer Josh Smith showed up at practice Tuesday.

Mobley, a defensive tackle, expects to participate in practice later this week.

"I'm still filling out paperwork and I need to take a physical," said Mobley, who will have three years of eligibility remaining after this season. "It's going to take a couple more days."

Smith, a wide receiver, has signed his enrollment papers and is expected to be at practice today. He will have two years of eligibility after sitting out this season.

Smith set a school record with 1,568 return yards and had 29 receptions for 387 yards for Colorado in 2008.

UCLA now has 85 players on scholarship, the NCAA maximum.

Fire watch

UCLA officials said a decision whether to play Saturday's season opener against San Diego at the Rose Bowl would be made Thursday.

There are concerns that the Station fire burning in the Angeles National Forest and beyond might require a postponement.

The game will not be moved to another stadium.

Quick hits

Guard Eddie Williams was taken to Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center about an hour after practice and treated for dehydration, then released. He is not expected to practice today. . . . Reserve punter Danny Rees, the holder for field goals and extra punts, injured his shoulder while trying to make a tackle following a blocked field goal in practice Tuesday. He had X-rays, which he said were negative. As a precaution, backup quarterback Kevin Craft and punter Jeff Locke took long snaps and held for kicks during practice. . . . Defensive tackle Jess Ward (sprained knee) participated in contact drills and is on track to play in the opener. . . . Former UCLA coaches Terry Donahue and Pepper Rodgers were at practice.

--

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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