UCLA football: Owamagbe Odighizuwa works both sides of learning curve

Bruins defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa (94) pressures USC quarterback Matt Barkley during their annual rivalry game two seasons ago.
(Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa had some time on his hands last fall. So defensive line coach Angus McClure put him to work.

Odighizuwa sat out the 2013 season after having two hip surgeries. McClure gave the 6-foot 3, 270-pounder other responsibilities to keep him engaged while he rehabilitated.

“I made it a point to have him work with our younger players,” McClure said. “It was easy for him to do. He is an intrinsically motivated person.”


Kyle Fitts, a freshman defensive end last fall, said that Odighizuwa was an effective teacher.

“He really knows the techniques,” Fitts said. “He taught me how to make my first step more explosive.”

The year off also gave Odighizuwa a chance to learn. He was able to take a step back and see the team in a wider scope.

“I was able to watch how personalities interacted in the locker room,” said Odighizuwa, who will be a senior. “I think I have a lot to bring to the table this year.”

The Bruins mainly need him to bring a strong presence to fill the void at one side of the defensive line. Cassius Marsh, the Bruins’ don’t-tread-on-me defensive end, is awaiting the NFL draft, leaving a big hole.

“There was no question that Owa would be the guy,” McClure said. “He was competing with Cassius two years ago for the starting spot.”


Odighizuwa had 44 tackles, including 3.5 sacks, as a junior in 2012.