COLLEGE FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK Bruins’ Verner ready for cornerback start

first_imgDefensive coordinator DeWayne Walker’s typical stance is if a player does not practice Tuesday and Wednesday, he does not start. “Right now, I think the (starter’s) job is still open,” Verner said. “I’m ready to step in, if needed, but we’re not sure yet.” When Van left the Stanford win in the third quarter with a left ankle injury, Verner filled in. He was beaten by a double move on Richard Sherman’s 70-yard touchdown – “My eyes were in the backfield” instead of the receiver, Verner said – but otherwise had a strong game. “It was just that one play,” Walker said. “He had about three or four bat downs.” If Van does not play, Verner will remain UCLA’s nickel back. When the Bruins use five defensive backs, junior Michael Norris will play cornerback. By Brian Dohn STAFF WRITER Sophomore Alterraun Verner is poised to make his first career start at cornerback, even if senior Rodney Van recovers from a sprained ankle in time for Saturday’s game against BYU. Verner, who grew up in Carson, played with the first-team defense Wednesday while Van, for a second straight day, watched from the sideline. Coach Karl Dorrell said Van, who started 14 straight games, would be a game-time decision. “It’s probably the best thing so me and (cornerback) Trey Brown stay in our normal spot,” Verner said. “Mike is a versatile player for us. He fits into that corner spot real well.” Van was not made available to the media. Flicked flea Offensive coordinator Jay Norvell had a strong game in his first as a play-caller, and the Bruins were thrilled with his decision to go with a trick play early in the third quarter. Quarterback Ben Olson handed off to tailback Chris Markey, who stopped shy of the line of scrimmage and pitched the ball back to Olson, who connected with Brandon Breazell for a 49-yard gain. “We practice it so much, we should use it in the game, receiver Marcus Everett said. “He called it and everyone had a smile on his face.” Price update UCLA is still awaiting word from the NCAA clearinghouse about freshman defensive tackle Brian Price. The school and Price’s father, Frank, expect a decision this week. “We’ve got to move forward, whether we have him or not,” Dorrell said. “I know they’re probably more frustrated than we are. We’re going to remain optimistic and stay patient until we find out what’s the word.” Bruins odds and ends Backup defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski was diagnosed with plantar fasciitis in his left foot, but may practice today, Dorrell said. … UCLA commit Nick Crissman, a senior quarterback at Edison High of Huntington Beach, could miss a month after undergoing an emergency appendectomy. … Dorrell said backup quarterback Patrick Cowan (hamstring) was at least a week from returning to practice. Oregon wary of Michigan Michigan’s loss to Appalachian State resonated throughout the Pacific-10 Conference. Oregon (1-0) heads to the Big House on Saturday. Ranked No. 5 going into the game, Michigan fell out of the AP poll following a shocking 34-32 loss. The Ducks had already started their opener at Autzen Stadium against Houston when the Michigan game became final. Coach Mike Bellotti said he heard the crowd go crazy, but didn’t know that the score had been announced on the PA system until he asked a player what was going on. “(Upsets) happen every year, and I think in this day and age you can’t assume anything about your opponent,” Bellotti said. Around the nation Troy: Defensive end Kenny Mainor has been suspended indefinitely for a violation of team rules, Trojans coach Larry Blakeney announced. Tulsa: Running back Courtney Tennial will sit out the season because of an ankle injury sustained in preseason drills. The transfer from Oklahoma was the Golden Hurricane’s leading rusher last season with 862 yards and 14 touchdowns. Wisconsin: Running back Lance Smith, who is facing battery charges, will not be allowed to play in away games this season. Smith will miss Saturday’s game at UNLV and games at Illinois, Penn State, Ohio State and Minnesota. Smith was suspended from the team in July after he was arrested, but Badgers athletic director Barry Alvarez reinstated him in early August just before the first practice of the season. The Associated Press contributed to this notebook 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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