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UCLA Sports

UCLA’s Takkarist McKinley on Colorado: ‘They try to chop block you’

Jordan Gehrke, Malcolm Creer
Colorado quarterback Jordan Gehrke, left, celebrates with teammate Malcolm Creer after scoring on a touchdown run against USC last week.
(Stephen Dunn / Getty Images)

UCLA defensive lineman Takkarist McKinley took a run-of-the-mill Pac-12 game and made it a little more interesting.

McKinley, a freshman, has never played against Colorado, the Bruins’ opponent this week, but he said he knows what to expect in Boulder on Saturday.

“Colorado and their offensive line, I feel like if we get off with speed, we can beat them,” McKinley said. “They’re dirty, but if you use your hands, use your speed, rip and dip, we can beat them with speed.”

When asked to clarify what he meant by “dirty,” McKinley said, “They try to chop block you. They try to tear your [anterior cruciate ligament]. To me, that’s dirty. But to them, it’s their job. To me, it’s pretty dirty.”

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The Bruins and Buffaloes developed a little animosity toward each other in UCLA’s 45-23 victory in the Rose Bowl last season. UCLA was called for roughing the passer three times in the fourth quarter while leading by 18 points.

Linebacker Anthony Barr was called for leveling Colorado quarterback Sefo Liufau on back-to-back plays. The first was an obvious roughing the passer call, the second could have been argued. Colorado offensive linemen were in no mood to debate; three of them jumped Barr after the second penalty. Buffaloes’ tight end Kyle Slavin went after Barr on the next play.

Liufau said, “none of it carries over. I mean, it was done as soon as the game was over. The hits, they come with the game.”

Of course, Liufau didn’t rule out revisiting the anger from last season.

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“Maybe it’ll be chippy again,” Liufau said. “I have no idea.”

He might have a better clue once McKinley’s comments drift East.

McKinley was asked whether Colorado’s techniques were unusual in the Pac-12. He gave a personal scouting report on the chop-block philosophy of the Pac-12 teams he has seen this season.

“Utah did it a lot as well,” McKinley said. “Oregon not too much. Arizona State not too much. [California], their running backs did it a lot. I would come in at full speed and their running backs would go straight to the legs. So did their tight ends.”

As to what can be done to counter that, McKinley said, “We work on those drills every day in practice, so we should know how to prevent that. You just have to see it coming and use your hands.”

Rocky Mountain low

Colorado has settled into what has been its usual place in the Pac-12 standings -- last in the South Division.

The Buffaloes have a 4-27 record in conference play and have finished last every season since joining the Pac-12 in 2011. Second-year Coach Mike MacIntyre addressed the effort to keep his team focused this week.

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“The thing we talk about hard, as coaches, is: if they don’t understand what to do, then they don’t execute as well, then we need to do a better job of coaching,” MacIntyre said. “The heart, the effort and the intensity, we motivate them and all that but different things happen: You get your bell rung, you miss a tackle or something negative happens, I can’t jump in their heart, I can’t jump in their soul, I can’t jump in their mind to get them to keep playing.”

MacIntyre also said of his team’s effort against USC on Saturday, “They could have just folded the tent, but we regrouped and kept going.”

USC won, 56-28.

Quick hits

Cornerback Fabian Moreau (stinger) was in a red no-contact jersey for Wednesday’s practice. … Receiver Thomas Duarte (hamstring) was limited to individual drills Wednesday. He appears doubtful for Saturday’s game.


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