Glenn Love is new to the whole linebacker thing, courtesy of the coaches, who moved the former strong safety closer to the line this spring.
But having linebacker Akeem Ayers next to him expedites the process, since Ayers learned under former UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter.
"I can be the one to help him out a lot," said Ayers, who, with free safety Rahim Moore, was named on Thursday to the 2010 Lott Trophy watch list. The trophy is given annually to college football's best defensive player.
Love picks Ayers' brain in meetings and as they walk off the field. But on it, he'll ask Ayers and the other linebackers how to play certain gaps or what he's supposed to do in a Cover 4 defense.
"They're like teachers to me," said Love, who is mainly competing with Sean Westgate for the weakside linebacker spot.
Linebackers Coach Clark Lea said Love, who is 6-feet-4, 216 pounds, needs to gain about 10-15 pounds, but his speed and range are enticing — and Love is lauded daily, by coaches and teammates.
"He's been doing real good," Ayers said. "He came along much quicker than I thought."
NCAA rule changes
The NCAA approved three rule changes Thursday, two of which go into effect immediately: bans of eye black with messages and wedge blocking on kickoff returns.
The other rule, which begins in 2011, involves taunting, but of the three, UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel didn't like the timing of the wedge block rule, which the NFL enacted last year because of safety concerns.
"The thing that is a little bewildering to me … is the change in the wedge rule at this late date," Neuheisel said. "There are a number of programs that are already finished with spring ball that never got a chance to implement that in the course of spring."
He added that the NFL didn't use it enough to make a difference, and he guaranteed that the NFL wouldn't have adopted the rule at this point "just because college did it." Still, he said UCLA would adjust accordingly.
The groin injury tight end Joseph Fauria aggravated during Sunday's scrimmage is still bothering him, but X-rays on his right hand came back negative after he appeared to hurt it during Tuesday's practice … Offensive guard Eddie Williams injured his left ankle late in practice Thursday, but it wasn't serious … Offensive lineman Wade Yandall is suffering from a shin injury but should play in Friday's 4:30 scrimmage at Spaulding Field … Offensive tackle Nik Abele's X-rays to examine nerve problems in his neck came back negative, and Neuheisel said they might put Abele in a non-contact red jersey the rest of the spring.