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UCLA FYI

Stanford's Toby Gerhart will be tough to stop

The Cardinal's 237-pound tailback averages 129 yards a game and he rushed for 138 last season against the Bruins.

September 28, 2009|Chris Foster

It could be aspirins all around for UCLA this week.

Defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough might need some help figuring out a scheme to stop Stanford's bull-like running back Toby Gerhart. And defensive tackle Brian Price already knows a few tablets can come in handy at game time.

"I remember hitting him last year and it gave me a headache," Price said. "He is the toughest runner I've ever come across."

Price isn't alone in those thoughts. Gerhart enters this week's game against the Bruins as the third-leading rusher in the nation, averaging 129 yards a game. The 6-foot-1, 237-pound senior from Norco rambled over, around and through Washington for 200 yards in the Cardinal's 34-14 victory Saturday.

The Bruins don't need to be reminded about Gerhart's ability. He gained 138 yards and scored two touchdowns against them last season.

"You've got to tackle," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "He's not going down with any one person, so you've got to be physical and you've got to wrap up."

That is a concern going into the game, as Neuheisel said that the Bruins' 23-9 victory over Kansas State on Sept. 19 was, "maybe for the first time all year we didn't tackle very well."

Still, this plays into UCLA's strength. The Bruins are tied for ninth nationally against the run, giving up only 74 yards a game.

"One thing we know, we've got to bring the wood this week," Price said.

To prepare, Jayson Allmond, who is 6 feet and 266 pounds, is playing the role of Gerhart on the scout team this week.

"You've got to bring people at him," Bullough said. "You don't want to let him move forward. The more guys you bring at him, the better chance you have of driving him back.

"One on one, you're not going to bring him down."

A crowded field

Stanford is already 2-0 in conference play. UCLA is the conference's only undefeated team. The two conference teams that made it into the top 10 nationally -- USC and California -- have already lost conference games.

So does Neuheisel think the conference race is more open than usual?

"The usual being the last seven years?" Neuheisel joked, then added, "I would be surprised if one team dominated."

Mobley to play at JC

Willie Mobley, a defensive tackle who wants to transfer to UCLA, said he will play for Orange Coast College this season. He said he would be eligible after the third game.

Mobley left Ohio State in August and tried to transfer to UCLA. He did not have the necessary credits, so he enrolled at Orange Coast. "It would be too frustrating to sit out a whole season," Mobley said. "Playing doesn't cost me a year and it will keep me in shape for next season."

Mobley, who said he intends to enroll at UCLA in the summer, will have three years of eligibility remaining. He used his redshirt season at Ohio State in 2008.

Quick hits

UCLA's game against Oregon on Oct. 10 will be at 12:30 p.m. at the Rose Bowl. . . . Cornerback Aaron Hester (broken right fibula) is expected to be cleared to begin running in "a week to 10 days," Neuheisel said.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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