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UCLA FOOTBALL

Secondary is a primary issue for UCLA

Rick Neuheisel confirms that cornerback Aaron Hester is suspended for first half against Utah. Safety Tony Dye may be ready to return from injury.

November 10, 2011|By Chris Foster
  • UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel says he issued Aaron Hester's suspension for the first half of Saturday's game, not the Pac-12 Conference.
UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel says he issued Aaron Hester's suspension… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

Secondary issues cropped up for UCLA Thursday.

Coach Rick Neuheisel confirmed Thursday that cornerback Aaron Hester was suspended for the first half against Utah Saturday. Hester missed practice Thursday because of a sprained ankle.

Safety Tony Dye, on the other hand, looks ready to return after missing the last five weeks because of a neck injury.

Hester was reprimanded by the Pac-12 Conference for comments about referees after the Arizona State game last Saturday. The suspension was to be "internal discipline," Neuheisel said, but, "He tweeted it, now it's out in the domain."

Neuheisel said the suspension was not a Pac-12 Conference decision.

"It was my suspension over comments made about officiating," Neuheisel said. "You just can't do that. Those guys are doing the best that they can."

As for Hester's ankle, Neuheisel said, "He should be physically ready."

The Bruins have become so thin at cornerback that wide receiver Randall Carroll was moved to defense last week.

The numbers at safety had been dwindling as well, making Dye a welcome addition. Dye, a senior, spent a large portion of practice getting up to speed.

If he plays, Dye would not be eligible for a medical redshirt year, which would have allowed him to return for the 2012 season.

"He has been cleared to play, so it's a question whether his family says this is what they want to do; and they are leaning that way right now," Neuheisel said.

Hooked by the 'Horns

UCLA and Texas have agreed to play in Cowboys Stadium on Sept. 13, 2014.

UCLA and Texas have split six previous meetings. The schools just completed a home-and-home series. UCLA defeated Texas, 34-12, in Austin in 2010. Texas returned the favor this season, beating the Bruins, 49-20, at the Rose Bowl.

Staking his claim

Guard Wade Yandall was supposed to be a temporary fill-in, but he envisioned a more prominent role.

The Bruins were short on guards for the California game. Chris Ward was injured, and is now expected to have surgery on his left knee injury. Albert Cid was suspended for a half for his part in the on-field brawl with Arizona players.

So Yandall was ticketed to play the first half.

"My mindset that week was, 'OK, I get one half. But I want to play so good that the coaches don't want to take me out,'" Yandall said.

Mission accomplished. He hasn't been out of the lineup since.

"I thought for a couple weeks that he had performed well," offensive line coach Bob Palcic said. "Once I saw him in the game, I thought he was doing such a good job that he had earned the right to be a starter."

Yandall showed he belonged immediately.

"The first play was an isolation play and he attacked the linebacker," running back Johnathan Franklin recalled. "I knew he was going to be all right."

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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