|Injury-riddled Bruins hope to rebound against Wildcats|
|Written by Admin|
|Monday, 29 October 2007 23:34|
LOS ANGELES (AP) -Their No. 1 quarterback is still sidelined, their backup is limping, their leading rusher is out with a sprained knee, and their top receiver is sidelined by bruised ribs.|
What already was an up-and-down season for UCLA seems in peril of being a real downer the rest of the way for the battered Bruins.
Coming off their latest stumble, a 27-7 loss at Washington State, the Bruins continue their Pac-10 schedule with a game at Arizona this weekend.
Afterward, they face No. 6 Arizona State and No. 4 Oregon before closing out the regular season against No. 13 Southern California.
UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said the Bruins remain determined to finish on a high note.
``We're determined to continue to work through some of the difficult circumstances that happened this season. There have been some unfortunate setbacks, but this team still has a lot to play for, with four games remaining,'' Dorrell said Monday.
``We still have a lot of time to get ourselves improved and that begins this week and playing this weekend in Arizona. We're just going to continue to work hard; that's really the answer to all the scenarios floating out there.''
The Bruins (5-3, 4-1) remain in the Pac-10 race since they have just one league loss.
``There's a a lot to still play for in this conference,'' Dorrell said. ``We're in pretty good shape in terms of that. We're not in the best of shape in terms of our health. But there are a lot of teams that are ailing.''
The Bruins have been without starting quarterback Ben Olson since a left knee injury knocked him out in the first quarter of the 20-6 loss to Notre Dame on Oct. 6. Backup Patrick Cowan, who hurt his right knee against Washington on Sept. 22, returned to help the Bruins beat California 30-21 on Oct. 20. Then, obviously still not fully recovered from the knee injury, was ineffective in last weekend's loss in Pullman.
Tailback Khalil Bell, who has averaged 99.4 yards a game rushing this year, scored on a 50-yard run on the third play against the Cougars, then went out with season-ending knee injury. He will undergo surgery to repair a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee as soon as the swelling subsides.
Tailback Chris Markey, the team's leading rusher and receiver last year, has seen limited duty in recent weeks because of a toe injury.
Brandon Breazell, who has 34 catches for 555 yards and three touchdowns, left the game against WSU in the second quarter because of bruised ribs and is listed as day-to-day.
``We're going to have young players have opportunities to step up and play,'' Dorrell said. ``I'm confident with getting them prepared and getting them ready to play, that they can do some good things for us. They're excited about the opportunities, too.''
Dorrell, asked what might explain the Bruins' inconsistency this year, said: ``How well you're executing on Saturdays. That's really the result of determining whether you're going to get yourselves out of that particular mind-set. I think secondly, it's more mental than anything.
``It's not a physical issue. We're more than capable of playing very, very well, and we need to continue to push this team to overcome, and for us coaches to continue to overcome these setbacks. That's really what our mind-set is.''
Arizona (3-6, 2-4) rallied for a 48-41 victory over Washington in Seattle on Saturday, when the Wildcats' Willie Tuitama threw for 510 yards and five touchdowns.
``That was a big, big win for them,'' Dorrell said. ``Now they're coming back home to play us. We know they're going to be excited. We're going to have to be ready to play and improve from this unfortunate setback (at WSU). This team is ready to respond and do that, like we've done in the past.''
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