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Harwell will miss at least four weeks

Times Staff Writer

UCLA will be without senior defensive tackle Brigham Harwell for at least four weeks, as an MRI exam revealed he has a torn medial collateral ligament in his left knee.

Harwell, who was injured against Brigham Young on Saturday, will not need surgery.

“They found no other structure damage in the knee,” Coach Karl Dorrell said. “It is similar to the injury [quarterback] Ben [Olson] had last year. It’s not a complete tear, but it has to scar over to heal.”

Harwell started 25 of the Bruins’ last 27 games.

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Sophomore Jess Ward will start against Utah on Saturday. Ward played extensively after Harwell was injured in the first half.

Ward moved up the depth chart after shedding 10 pounds during the off-season, which made him quicker. “I feel I get off the ball better and run down people better,” he said. “I worked my butt off to be a legitimate backup for this season. Then, next season. . . “

Ward participated in 10 to 15 plays a game last season.

“I always thought he was strong at the point of attack, but his feet were a little slow,” said Todd Howard, who coaches the defensive line. “Now his feet are quicker. It keeps him from getting two-holed, scoop, all those things offensive linemen do to defensive tackles.”

Jerzy Siewiersky and Chase Moline will also be used Saturday.

“I told these guys it was going to take more than four [defensive linemen] this season,” Howard said. “With the number of plays going up because of rule changes, it was going to take eight to 10.”

Wide receiver Brandon Breazell is having the type of week he wouldn’t wish on an enemy, or even the BYU player who leveled him Saturday. Breazell, who was injured trying to chase down the Cougars’ Kayle Buchanan after an interception, has had two days of dental surgery.

Breazell lost two teeth and had damage to a third. He underwent root canal work Saturday after the game and had two more root canals on Monday before practice. More surgery could come today.

Breazell was in uniform Tuesday, though he was held out of contact drills.

“I’m going to play Saturday no matter what,” Breazell said. “Nothing is going to come between me and my senior year.”

The Bruins will likely see more blitzes this week against Utah, which has shown a defensive philosophy on the opposite end of the spectrum from BYU’s contain strategy.

That’s just fine with Olson.

“You can have a little more opportunity to throw the ball deep, things like that,” said Olson, who had 126 yards passing against BYU. “When they are aggressive, it allows for opportunities to gash them and make them pay from trying to bring so many guys.”

Quarterback Patrick Cowan, out the last month because of a torn hamstring, went through a light workout and throwing drills Tuesday. He said he felt no pain in the leg.

Dorrell said it would take at least a week of practice before he would consider suiting up Cowan for a game.

Defensive end Nikola Dragovic (concussion) and linebacker Aaron Whittington (flu-like symptoms) did not practice. . . . Rodney Van (sprained ankle) went through a large portion of the workouts.

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chris.foster@latimes.com


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