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UCLA's Tevin McDonald to miss Holiday Bowl for breaking rules

Coach Jim Mora says the junior safety, who is second on the team in tackles, violated a team policy. A person familiar with the situation says McDonald tested positive for marijuana.

December 22, 2012|By Chris Foster
  • Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times
Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times (ltuxsfpd/600 )

UCLA safety Tevin McDonald will not play in the Bridgepoint Education Holiday Bowl after violating a team policy, Coach Jim Mora said.

McDonald tested positive for marijuana, according to a person familiar with the situation who was not authorized to comment. Under UCLA policy, a player is suspended for one game after testing positive for a third time.

A fourth positive test can result in a player's scholarship being revoked.

TIMELINE: College football 2012-13 bowl schedule

McDonald did not travel with the team to San Diego on Friday.

"We had to leave Tevin McDonald at home for a violation of team policy," Mora said. "I can't discuss it any further than that."

McDonald, a junior, is second on the team in tackles with 79. He has recovered two fumbles and intercepted one pass.

Mora said that McDonald's spot would be filled by "committee" against Baylor in the Holiday Bowl on Thursday.

Andrew Abbott, Randall Goforth, Brandon Sermons and Marcus Rios could all see time. Linebacker Dalton Hilliard, a former safety, could also fill in.

"Sometimes it will depend on what offensive group Baylor is in," Mora said. "Sometimes they go with five wide receivers and really spread the field. So you'll see a plethora of defensive backs out there."

Trophy talk

The 2013 Heisman Trophy campaign began a little early. It kicked off when Baylor running back Lache Seastrunk told the Sporting News this week that he expects to win the award.

"I'm going to win it in 2013," Seastrunk said. "If I don't, I'm going to get very close."

Asked about Seastrunk on Saturday, Mora said, "He's darn good. I heard he's a Heisman candidate."

Told that Seastrunk said he would win the trophy, Mora said, "Look at his numbers the last few weeks of this season. He is certainly a guy who would be discussed for that."

Seastrunk had 693 yards rushing and scored five touchdowns in Baylor's last five games.

Renaissance man

It appears to be Darius Bell's goal to play every position before he leaves UCLA.

Bell, a junior, came to UCLA as a quarterback. He moved to wide receiver last year. He is now a Y-back — a hybrid tight end/receiver.

Next year, he could be the team's long snapper for punts and field goals. Kevin McDermott, the Bruins' current long snapper, is a senior.

Bell was messing around after practice one day and special teams coach Jeff Ulbrich took note.

"I was just having some fun and coach said, 'Do you want to make a lot of money one day and stay in the [NFL]?'" Bell said. "I said, 'That sounds good.' I guess he had a snapper with the [San Francisco] 49ers who was in the league 17 seasons. If receiver doesn't work out, guess I'll give snapper a try."

Bell has seven receptions for 143 yards and one touchdown this season.

Bloody tourists

When not preparing for Baylor, UCLA players will be like any other tourists coming to San Diego.

Sunday — The Boxer, an amphibious assault ship docked in San Diego.

Monday — The San Diego Zoo.

Tuesday — Sea World.

It brought back childhood memories for Mora, whose father, Jim E. Mora, was a college assistant before going to the NFL.

"I'm trying to enjoy this," Mora said. "I have memories of great times I had as a kid when we went to bowl games. I'm getting to hang out with my kids. They are hanging out with the players. This is awesome. It's a great city to be in."

San Diego's Chamber of Commerce will certainly thank Mora for the endorsement.

Twitter: @cfosterlatimes

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