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UCLA FOOTBALL FYI

It's not all quiet on Bruins' defensive front

Redshirt freshman Keenan Graham and freshman Cassius Marsh play with the first team Wednesday.

September 15, 2010|By Chris Foster

With all the teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing about the UCLA offense this week, a little fact received little notice.

The Bruins gave up 211 yards rushing against Stanford. Call it an improvement — Kansas State did rush for 313 yards in the first week — but it was clear the defensive front was still overmatched.

That has brought some change. Defensive end Keenan Graham, a redshirt freshman, and Cassius Marsh, a first-year freshman, were with the first team Wednesday.

"We've got eight guys who are six one way, half a dozen the next," defensive line coach Todd Howard. "You can't say, 'I've got to have this guy out there.' They are all in the same boat."

The Bruins are also shuffling the front, with defensive tackle David Carter playing some at defensive end and defensive end Reginald Stokes playing a few plays at defensive tackle against Stanford. Even linebacker Akeem Ayers lined up at defensive end at times.

The Bruins face Houston on Saturday. Although the Cougars lean on the forward pass, they have also averaged 229 yards rushing through the first two games.

"Everyone has to get to the ball and we have to stop busting assignments," Carter said. "We've just got to grow up out there."

Graham was more a pass-rush specialist at 6 feet 2, 245 pounds, but he said he overcame a size disadvantage "with leverage. They try to push me back, but I have pretty good lower body strength. At the very least, I can stalemate them."

A stalemate is the very least the Bruins need from Marsh and Seali'i Epenesa, another freshman, as well. Both are expected to see increased playing time.

"Basically, we have a bunch of guys who are all inexperienced and they are clumped together," Howard said.

Upon further review

UCLA did get a victory last Saturday night — over the game officials

The Pacific 10 Conference acknowledged that its referee crew misinterpreted a substitution rule during UCLA's game against Stanford. Dave Cutaia, the conference's coordinator of officiating, spoke with UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel on Wednesday.

The Bruins were penalized for an illegal substitution in the first quarter with Stanford in a no-huddle offense. Neuheisel said that the rules require referees to allow UCLA time to make substitutions. Neuheisel said he had spoken to the referees about that rule prior to the game.

Injury report

Tackle Micah Kia (ankle) and F-back Anthony Barr (back) did not practice.

With Kia out, Mike Harris worked with the first team. Harris, who started 13 games last season, was suspended for the first game for violating team rules.

Wide receiver Ricky Marvray (back) went through the full practice.

Quick hits

Offensive lineman Stanley Hasiak won his academic appeal and has been readmitted into school. He will be ineligible this season and must show academic improvement this quarter.… Wide receiver Shaquelle Evans, a transfer from Notre Dame, joined practice Wednesday and worked with the scout team.

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.comcfosterlatimes

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