Tevaga should be ready to go

Times Staff Writer

UCLA’s offensive line is on the verge of getting a little stronger, as guard Shannon Tevaga will probably be available for Saturday’s game against Notre Dame.

Tevaga, considered the Bruins’ best offensive lineman, suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee against Utah on Sept. 15. He went through practice, including contact drills, on Tuesday and seemed itching to return.

“I feel good, I feel strong,” Tevaga said. “The rehab was a tougher one and it made me stronger. The things they laid out for me were real hard because I told them I wanted to come back as soon as possible. Physically, I should be ready to go. It’s up to the coaches.”


Coach Karl Dorrell was a bit more cautious.

“He’s coming around,” Dorrell said. “We wanted to get him some reps today and he was able to do so. We’ll see how things respond tomorrow.”

Tevaga, though, said he still had some catching up to do.

“The speed is the hardest thing,” Tevaga said. “Especially going against our defense. They are very fast guys and you’ve got to keep moving.”

Tevaga’s injury left a hole that could not be entirely filled. P.J. Irvin and Micah Reed shared the spot, though Irvin sat out much of the second half against Oregon State on Saturday after a couple of false-start penalties.

The Bruins, who have had more than an acceptable amount of false-start penalties this season, went through extra drills for every such penalty they had in practice Tuesday.

“We’ve got to do whatever it takes,” Dorrell said.

The injury not only ended Tevaga’s streak of 34 consecutive games, it forced him to miss his first football game ever.

“From middle school through high school through college, I played every game,” Tevaga said. “That first game I missed, I cried. When I was on the field at the Rose Bowl [before the Washington game on Sept. 22], it hit me real hard, ‘I’m actually not playing.’ My teammates had to pick me up.”


It was still unclear who would start at quarterback for Notre Dame on Saturday, freshman Jimmy Clausen or junior Evan Sharpley. Clausen suffered a hip injury against Purdue on Saturday but will start if he is healthy, Coach Charlie Weis said.

“He’s supposed to be set and ready to go,” Weis said.

“I have to see that, you know? Some guys are set and ready to go, and they don’t play for another two weeks. Other guys that are set and ready to go, they’re ready to go that day. I’m going to have to see visually on the field how it goes.”

Tailback Chris Markey did not practice and was wearing a boot on his right foot.

Dorrell said the senior tailback was suffering from “turf toe” and it was “50-50” whether he would play.

Chane Moline or Christian Ramirez could pick up some of Markey’s playing time if he cannot play. But Kahlil Bell, who is nursing a sore shoulder, would probably get the bulk of the carries.

Wide receiver Marcus Everett (sprained ankle) was in full pads for part of Tuesday’s practice but was limited to individual workouts.

Fullback Michael Pitre, who had not played this season because of a left knee injury, got into the Oregon State game near the end and threw the lead block on Markey’s two-yard touchdown run to cap the 40-14 victory.

“That was a long time coming,” said Pitre, who had arthroscopic surgery on the knee during the off-season. “I’ve been waiting for a moment like that and I hope I get to do it some more.”

Pitre, though, did not suit up Tuesday because of swelling in his knee.