This isn’t what Markey imagined
Tailback Chris Markey doesn’t feel cheated, merely unfortunate.
A promising season lay before him, he thought, after leading the Bruins with 1,107 yards rushing in 2006. Instead, he has spent the last eight months on the mend from one thing or another.
There was the stress fracture in his right foot that forced him to miss spring camp. There was the turf toe in his left foot he suffered against Oregon State. And now there is a sprained right ankle that has slowed him the last week.
“Those things are all out of my control,” Markey said. Still, he admits, “I have been dealt a pretty rough hand this season. Unfortunately it all happens in my senior year.”
Markey has 457 yards rushing this season, giving him 2,475 in his four-year career, making him 11th on UCLA’s all-time list. But Markey has been limited to 21 carries in the last three games. He had four carries for eight yards against Arizona on Saturday before re-injuring his ankle.
His role is expected to be limited when the Bruins play Arizona State on Saturday. Chane Moline and walk-on Craig Sheppard have done the majority of the work during practice, while Markey has alternated his time between individual drills on the side and a handful of reps with the second-team offense.
“I’m hoping he’s available,” Coach Karl Dorrell said, but added, “we’re counting on Chane to be our lead guy. We’re going to have Craig Sheppard play. If Chris continues progress like he’s doing now, we’ll have those three carry the running load.”
That is far from how Markey envisioned the season playing out. He recovered from the stress fracture in time for fall camp. He split time at tailback with Kahlil Bell, who is out for the season with a knee injury.
Markey averaged 16 carries through the first five games, which included a 193-yard performance against Washington. The next game, he injured his toe against Oregon State. He received a shot in the locker room, returned to the game and has been hobbled ever since.
Markey has only 53 yards rushing since the Oregon State game.
“This is my senior year, I don’t have another year to come back and fix things,” Markey said. “I want to go out with a bang. We can still be Pac-10 champions. I can’t ask for anything more.”
Moline gained 62 yards in 15 carries against Arizona, career highs.
“I had to get back into the swing of things and get used to being used like that again,” Moline said. “I had to mentally prepare to carry the ball a lot.”
The Bruins’ game against Arizona State will give defensive end Bruce Davis a chance to renew his acquaintance with Sun Devils quarterback Rudy Carpenter.
“He has become one those guys I consider a nemesis,” Davis said, smiling broadly.
“He is to his team what I am to my team. He’s their energy; he’s their spark. He’s the guy who makes big plays, talks trash, same as me. Over the years, he and I have battled it out, gone back and forth talking trash.”
And Carpenter’s best quip?
“Nothing I can put into the fine print of the newspaper,” Davis said.
Defensive tackle Brigham Harwell suffered a setback in his effort to return from a knee injury. Harwell “tweaked” his shoulder during a drill, Dorrell said, and had to leave practice.
Defensive end Kenneth Lombard also left practice with what Dorrell said was “blurry vision,” after “getting his bell rung.”
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