Senior wide receiver Junior Taylor will not play again this season because of a knee injury suffered in Saturday’s 41-24 victory over Oklahoma.
The impact of losing Taylor, the team’s most experienced receiver, will be felt by the Bruins, who must rely on several young players to fill the void.
Marcus Everett, who caught six passes for 66 yards against the Sooners, takes Taylor’s starting spot at split end with Gavin Ketchum moving up to the second team. Everett sat out the first two games of the season because of a shoulder sprain.
Joe Cowan, who had five receptions for 49 yards Saturday, will continue to start at flanker. Brandon Breazell will play in the slot in three-wide-receiver sets and back up Cowan. Former walk-on Andrew Baumgartner, who caught two passes for 41 yards, one for a 22-yard touchdown, against Oklahoma, will also play both the slot and flanker.
“Unfortunately, Junior got hurt, but we’re ready to make up for his loss,” said Cowan, a junior who will be expected to take more of a leadership role. “If anything, it made us raise our play.”
Taylor can redshirt this season. If he returns next year, he’ll join a group of receivers who learned on the job. Everett and Breazell are sophomores, Ketchum a freshman, Baumgartner a junior.
Coach Karl Dorrell said he would not make changes because of Taylor’s injury and that the Bruins would continue “to use the ones who’ve been playing.”
Breazell (seven catches for 103 yards, one touchdown) and Cowan (seven catches for 87 yards) lead UCLA wide receivers in receptions. Taylor had six catches for 109 yards and two touchdowns.
Dorrell said this week’s bye comes at a good time for the Bruins, despite their 3-0 start and 49.3-point scoring average.
“We know that we have some work to do, and we have some things that we need to clean up,” Dorrell said. “In our last game, penalties were an issue. We had holding calls, personal fouls. There are things we need to improve on.”
UCLA’s next game, Oct. 1 against Washington at the Rose Bowl, has a 7:15 p.m. kickoff. It will be the third night start in four games for the Bruins.