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UCLA FYI

Logan Paulsen gets a second chance at senior success

The Bruins tight end is back for a fifth year after breaking his right foot in the opener last season.

September 03, 2009|Ben Bolch

Logan Paulsen holds the rare distinction of appearing twice on the cover of UCLA's football media guide as a senior.

It's something he can chuckle about now, but the idea probably didn't seem amusing last September when the tight end fractured his right foot early in the opener against Tennessee. The injury forced Paulsen to sit out the rest of the season and seek a fifth year of eligibility.

"You don't like it when it happens because you feel bad for the young man," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said, "but selfishly speaking we've got him back."

The return of Paulsen, a 6-foot-5, 264-pound standout with NFL potential, bolsters an already strong corps of tight ends.

Ryan Moya, another fifth-year senior, had 38 receptions last season and led UCLA with three touchdown catches. Sophomore Nate Chandler, at 6-5 and 270, is described by Paulsen as a "physical specimen," and sophomore Cory Harkey made the winning touchdown catch last season against Stanford.

"We have a great dynamic within the group," Paulsen said. "We get along very well and I definitely think we're poised for a big year as a unit."

Paulsen spent his year away from football working on strength and conditioning with athletic performance coach Mike Linn. He said he also sharpened his mental resolve.

"Getting ready for this year and watching practice kind of gave me a whole different perspective on football and UCLA and what we need to do and what we need to improve on, just basically the mental aspect of it," Paulsen said.

" . . . You're not guaranteed anything. Every day is kind of a blessing and you need to take advantage of it."

Two-way threat

Josh Smith came to Southern California to make it big in football and in the music industry.

The Colorado transfer wants to start his own music label and intends to study music technology while at UCLA. Before he can sign the likes of his favorite recording artists, T.I. and Lil' Wayne, Smith intends to showcase his skills at wide receiver.

He'll have to sit out this season but will have two years of eligibility remaining. After his first practice Wednesday, Smith said he intended to use 2009 as "a developing year" to work on his focus and mental toughness.

"Before, I was a player who played with a little too much emotion," said Smith, who set a school record with 1,568 return yards at Colorado. "I want to use this year to roll with the punches a little bit more and keep more of a clear head and just go out there and do my job every play and just flush stuff and move on."

Quick hits

UCLA is expected to learn today whether its opener against San Diego State on Saturday will be postponed because of wildfires near the Rose Bowl. "We certainly respect the experts and the people involved and those who are judging the air quality," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. . . . Guard Eddie Williams, who was briefly treated for dehydration Tuesday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, watched practice. He is expected to resume drills today and start Saturday, Neuheisel said.

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ben.bolch@latimes.com

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