Tex. mes­sage

Pounded in losses to Kansas State and Stan­ford, UCLA’s de­fense took a team­mate’s strong words to heart and forged a new, ag­gres­sive iden­tity in beat-downs of Hous­ton and Texas

Los Angeles Times - - Sports - By Chris Fos­ter

Court­ney Viney, a sel­dom-used cor­ner­back, had a pointed ques­tion for his UCLA team­mates be­fore last Satur­day’s foot­ball game at Texas.

“He asked us, ‘Who are you?’ ” se­nior de­fen­sive tackle David Carter said. “He said, ‘Are we go­ing to be a wel­come mat peo­ple walk all over, or we go­ing be a team that, when we go out, peo­ple are afraid of us?’ ”

The an­swer came in a dom­i­nant 34-12 vic­tory over a Longhorns team that had been ranked No. 7 in the nation.

UCLA’s de­fense, ground down by 313 yards rush­ing in a loss to Kansas State and mauled into sub­mis­sion in a rout by Stan­ford, left Austin smelling like a Texas rose.

How did it hap­pen? A lack of ex­pe­ri­ence was cited as an ex­cuse for the early-sea­son woes, but play­ing three games be­fore fac­ing the Longhorns re­moved the wide-eyed look. There was also a call for the Bru­ins’ best play­ers to start mak­ing good things hap­pen, a cue taken by star linebacker Akeem Ay­ers, who had a mon­ster game against Texas.

And Viney’s ques­tion cut right to the heart of the mat­ter, act­ing as some­thing of a cat­tle prod be­fore the de­fense faced the Longhorns.

“Court­ney had it,” Carter said. “It was in­fec­tious. It spread through the whole team. This is UCLA, we’re a dec­o­rated pro­gram. We’re not nice.”

Viney, a ju­nior from Fresno, has been try­ing to con­trib­ute guid­ance

UCLA quar­ter­back Kevin Prince sat out prac­tice Tues­day with what was be­ing called a “sore” knee.

He in­jured the knee in the sec­ond quar­ter against Texas, but played the re­main­der of the game. Prince un­der­went an MRI exam that re­vealed “no struc­tural dam­age,” Coach Rick Neuheisel said. Neuheisel had said Prince was “fine” and that “there was noth­ing that would keep him out of prac­tice Tues­day,” dur­ing a con­fer­ence call Sun­day.

Prince had his knee drained of fluid Sun­day. The swelling re­turned Mon­day.

As to whether Prince would play Satur­day against Washington State, Neuheisel was non­com­mit­tal, say­ing, “We thought it was best to rest him to­day. We’ll see where he is to­mor­row.”

Prince said that he feared the knee was more se­verely dam­aged when he slid out of bounds af­ter a six-yard run.

“I felt a lit­tle pop, that’s what was most con­cern­ing,” said Prince, who had surgery on that knee as a se­nior at En­cino Crespi High. “It was def­i­nitely on the out­side knee, so they were concerned it was a menis­cus or [an­te­rior cru­ci­ate lig­a­ment]. But the MRI didn’t show any­thing wrong.”

A de­ci­sion on whether he can prac­tice will be made Wed­nes­day af­ter see­ing train­ers.

“The last cou­ple days I felt fine when I woke up, then it would get sore as the day pro­gressed,” Prince said.

Asked if he could have played in a game Tues­day, Prince said, “Who knows? Adrenalin is a beau­ti­ful thing.”

Prince suf­fered a torn mus­cle in his back the sec­ond day of train­ing camp, forc­ing him to miss nearly three weeks. He had a sore shoul­der af­ter the opener against Kansas State. If Prince is un­able to play, Richard Bre­haut and Dar­ius Bell prob­a­bly would both play against Washington State.

De­fen­sive shift

Fresh­man de­fen­sive end

Owa­magbe Odighizuwa was moved up to the first­team de­fense Tues­day, with Nate Chan­dler mov­ing to de­fen­sive tackle, re­plac­ing

Justin Edi­son.

Odighizuwa’s play­ing time has in­creased the last three games.

“He’s a strong guy, that has been here since day one,” de­fen­sive line coach

Todd Howard said. “It’s just be­ing young and learn­ing my tech­niques and learn­ing how to re­act.

“He’s show­ing us more. There will still prob­a­bly a lit­tle hes­i­ta­tion, but we’re bring­ing him up to speed quickly.”

Marsh not mel­low

Fresh­man de­fen­sive tackle Cas­sius Marsh nearly came to blows with se­nior de­fen­sive end Regi­nald

Stokes dur­ing prac­tice Tues­day.

Marsh was hav­ing words with of­fen­sive tackle Brett Downey when Stokes tried to es­cort him away. Marsh hit Stokes with an el­bow, then shoved him and threw down his hel­met be­fore Howard stepped in to sep­a­rate them.

Asked if that was how Marsh should treat a se­nior leader, Howard down­played the in­ci­dent, say­ing, “They walked off the prac­tice field hold­ing hands prac­ti­cally.”

Baca back

Guard Jeff Baca, who has been out be­cause of a stress frac­ture in his right leg, was in full pads at prac­tice Tues­day. Baca, aca­dem­i­cally in­el­i­gi­ble this sea­son, will work with the scout team.

Rodolfo Gon­za­lez

Austin Amer­i­can-States­man

CRUNCH TIME: UCLA’s Nate Chan­dler and Sean West­gate (11) sack Texas quar­ter­back Gar­rett Gil­bert dur­ing Bru­ins’ 34-12 vic­tory Satur­day at Austin. UCLA gave up only 85 yards rush­ing, a far cry from the 313 Kansas State had in the sea­son opener.

Odighizuwa

Prince

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