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Visions of Colorado a Part of Paus’ Past

If not for Carson Palmer, Cory Paus could be trotting through the Rose Bowl tunnel for the first time Saturday.

In a Colorado uniform.

Paus became enamored of Colorado while at a quarterback camp there before his senior year in high school. Two days into the camp, a tall quarterback from California arrived, and caught the eye of Rick Neuheisel, then Colorado’s coach.

“I was the top dog, then [Palmer] came in and stole my thunder,” Paus said.

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Neuheisel offered Paus a scholarship but said Palmer was his No. 1 choice.

“I told him, ‘I appreciate your honesty,’ then went to Palmer and said, ‘Hey Cars, what up?’ ” Paus said.

Palmer told him he was leaning toward Colorado, so Paus turned down Neuheisel’s offer and a few weeks later committed to UCLA.

Palmer eventually chose USC, which trounced the Buffaloes last Saturday, 40-3.

Gary Barnett, who coached at Northwestern before replacing Neuheisel in 1999, also offered a scholarship to Paus, who went to high school near Chicago. But the Northwestern offer came too late for Paus, who was already packed for Westwood.

“We had trouble getting film on him, if I remember correctly,” Barnett said. “When he was a junior, I thought he was skinny, but he came on his senior year. By the time we made an offer, he was set on UCLA.”

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Colorado quarterback Craig Ochs will not play for the second game in a row because of a concussion, leaving senior Robert Hodge to try to improve on his one-for-nine passing performance against USC.

“There is no way [Ochs] plays, so we are back to Square 1,” Barnett said. “That was Robert Hodge’s first game, except for the second half against San Diego State.

“We certainly think there is nowhere to go but up.”

And there is no real alternative to Hodges, a senior from Manhattan Beach Mira Costa High and El Camino College. Senior Zac Colvin is a career backup and freshman Joel Klatt is a walk-on.

“One thing that was appealing about Robert was his athleticism,” Barnett said. “The players seem to have confidence in him. But it’s hard to predict how he’ll perform.”

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Coach Bob Toledo said 6-foot-3 free safety Matt Ware will play cornerback against tall receivers. Ware was a freshman All-American cornerback last season.

“We are excited about [safeties] Jarrad Page and Ben Emanuel,” Toledo said. “And Jibril Raymo will start to see more action. That affords us the opportunity to go to more nickel and dime packages and to use Matt at corner.”

Ware might even have played quarterback against Oklahoma State, but he was sidelined after spraining his right ankle on the first play of the second half.

“We wanted to get him in on offense,” Toledo said.

In brief stints at quarterback last season, Ware rushed for 22 yards in four carries.

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Ricky Manning’s arraignment today in Los Angeles Superior Court on felony assault charges is expected to be postponed because co-defendant Tremaine Mitchell may change public defenders.

Manning is expected to plead not guilty.

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The Bruins, who were injury-free during fall camp, made it through another week virtually unscathed. Besides Ware, the only starter listed as questionable is defensive tackle Steve Morgan, who has a sprained knee.

Three reserves who have yet to play in a game are in varying degrees of recovery. Fullback Pat Norton (ankle) is probable, linebacker Patrick Pierre-Louis (shoulder) is questionable and tight end Keith Carter (ankle) remains out.

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The Bruins’ game at San Diego State on Sept. 28 has been changed to 11 a.m. to accommodate ESPN2.


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