UCLA football preview: Defensive line
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UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter has a challenge for the Bruins’ offensive linemen this training camp.
“I would like to see someone block Brian Price for a while,” Carter said at the Pacific 10 Conference’s media day. “I have never seen that.”
Price, a junior defensive tackle, is the centerpiece of what should be a strong starting defensive front this season. His abilities are such that UCLA coaches are already fretting that he may jump to the NFL after this season.
But the quality does not end with the 6-foot-2, 300-pound Price.
Brigham Harwell is gone, but that allows Jerzy Siewierski to move into the starting lineup next to Price. Defensive line coach Todd Howard said Siewierski may be the best all-around athlete on the team.
“If he dropped some weight, he’d be our starting fullback,” Howard said. “He can dunk a basketball.”
Korey Bosworth returns at one defensive end and a bulked-up Datone Jones appears to have the other spot nailed down. Jones, a sophomore, is up to 267 pounds but Howard said he retained his pass-rushing speed, comparing him to former UCLA defensive end Justin Hickman.
Depth is the concern, especially at defensive tackle. The hope is that often-injured Jess Ward and little-used David Carter can log some time.
Junior Reginald Stokes and red-shirt freshman Damien Holmes should be able to give the Bruins some time off the bench. Holmes has made big strides since last fall, Howard said.
The concerns go beyond this season. If Price does jump to the NFL the Bruins will be thin at defensive tackle.
Branden Warner, a transfer from Compton College, was expected to help. But Warner, who had to pay off his tuition at Compton before his transcripts would be released, walked away from the Bruins.
So, expect a big push in recruiting to land help at defensive tackle. The possibility remains that an incoming offensive lineman could be shifted to defense, possibly Nik Abele.
-- Chris Foster
Sunday: running backs
Monday: wide receivers
Tuesday: tight ends
Wednesday: offensive line
Coming Friday: linebackers