Walker tries to cut them at the pass
You can take the guy out of the defensive coordinator’s job, but apparently you can’t take the defensive coordinator out of the guy.
DeWayne Walker may have been appointed UCLA’s interim football coach, with big-picture responsibilities, but Sunday morning he was immersed in dissecting Brigham Young’s passing scheme.
The Cougars’ Max Hall carved up the Bruins for 391 yards passing, but UCLA survived, 27-17, Sept. 8. That is already on Walker’s mind two weeks before the Dec. 22 rematch in the Las Vegas Bowl.
“We watched the second half of that game with the defensive backs this morning,” Walker said. “We pretty much stuffed them in the first half. They came out in the second half and made some pretty good adjustments. We anticipate if we can stop the run again early, they may come at us again that way.”
Hall, selected first-team All-Mountain West Conference, had 215 yards passing in the second half. But it was the mano a mano between Brigham Young receiver Austin Collie and cornerback Trey Brown that defined much of the game.
Brown, who was mostly matched man to man with Collie, broke up five passes. He picked off a Hall pass, returned it 56 yards for the Bruins’ first touchdown and returned a fumble 21 yards to set up UCLA’s second touchdown.
Collie finished with seven receptions for 79 yards, but he had four catches for 66 yards in the second half, including touchdown receptions of five and 16 yards to cut the UCLA lead to 20-17. Both touchdowns came against Brown.
“I’m sure it is going to be a great battle once again,” Brown said. “I’m sure he’s anxious to get out on that field because we got the ‘W.’ We both know it will be a physical game and a tough matchup. It’s going to be a great fight, so where’s a better place to have it than in Las Vegas?”
Quarterback Ben Olson says it is a benefit having Walker’s fresh eyes looking over the offense.
“Having his defensive background is great,” Olson said. “He knows how to exploit an offense. It’s cool when he talks to you about it from a defensive guy’s perspective. He, more than anybody, would know the weakness of a defense.”
Fullback Michael Pitre is expected to ask the Pacific 10 Conference and the NCAA for a sixth year of eligibility.
Pitre has sat out all but a few plays this season because of an injured knee.
He must petition the conference to gain a substitute year of eligibility. He must also prove to the NCAA that he has lost two seasons because of injuries. Pitre battled a neck injury his freshman year.
Defensive tackle Jess Ward sat out Sunday’s practice because of stomach flu. . . . Not-so-subliminal message? The cover photo of Brigham Young’s post-season news clipping package is of linebacker Bryan Kehl hitting Olson during the Sept. 8 game. They were roommates when Olson was a freshman at Brigham Young. . . . The Bruins will not resume practice until Friday because of finals.
LAS VEGAS BOWL
UCLA vs. Brigham Young
Dec. 22, 5 p.m., ESPN