UCLA defensive lineman Cassius Marsh looked a bit out of place during the pre-practice warm-up Thursday.
He lined up with the Bruins’ receivers and started running simple routes. A guy’s got to keep his skills sharp.
Marsh was a wild card for the UCLA offense last season. He was used as a tight end in goal-line situations and even caught a four-yard touchdown pass against California.
The opportunity may come again, so …
“I catch balls before practice, warm up with the receivers,” Marsh said. “It gets my legs moving.”
At times, after practice, Marsh will join receiver Shaquelle Evans catching passes fired by the jugs gun.
“If the time comes, I’ll be ready,” Marsh said.
Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone keeps the idea fresh in Marsh’s head.
“Some of those defensive guys will come jump in drills with us now and then,” Mazzone said. “We throw them a little candy, a little sugar.”
And, sometimes, passes.
“They are always bugging me, ‘When are you putting this in, when are you putting that in,’ ” Mazzone said. “Cassius is such a good athlete, it’s not hard to keep him ready.”
The Bruins are getting their scholarship-money’s worth out of Marsh. He plays special teams, blocking a field goal last week, and can catch passes. In his spare time, he plays defensive end.
“I enjoy helping the team,” Marsh said. “If they need me on offense, I’m fine with that. If not, I’ll be over here on defense.”