UCLA NOTEBOOK: BRUINS FOCUS ON STOPPING HUSKY QB UNCONVENTIONAL TUIASOSOPO HAS MADE WASHINGTON TOUGH TO BEAT.
The game? Word association. The subject? Washington quarterback Marques Tuiasosopo. The contestant? Huskies coach Rick Neuheisel.
The answer? Winner.
``He just finds ways. It isn't always by the book. He isn't one of the those guys that does it exactly as advertised,'' Neuheisel said.
``The book would say that he doesn't always make the best decisions. That he may not have the height that you're looking for. I promise you this: Anybody who takes Marques Tuiasosopo to play on Sundays is going to be happy they did.''
UCLA is more concerned about what Tuiasosopo does on Saturday against the visiting Bruins.
Tuiasosopo is No. 7 Washington's undisputed source of life. The senior's contributions go far beyond 2,176 yards of total offense and the 15 touchdowns for which he's responsible.
``He's a unique quarterback because he plays with such great intensity all the time,'' Bruins linebacker Ryan Nece said.
``He wants to do whatever it takes to win. . . . Anytime you face a person that plays with the passion he does, that's going to be a big battle. . . . You hope in the fourth quarter, when the clock strikes zero, you're on top.''
Several Washington opponents have come close to that feeling. But Tuiasosopo has repeatedly rescued his team from perilous situations.
``He's really the heartbeat of their team and as he goes, so goes (the Huskies),'' UCLA defensive coordinator Bob Field said. ``He's going to make some plays. He always does.''
--Third and long: Sophomore reserve fullback Chris Jackson is UCLA's lone Washington native. The Renton resident's father Michael played linebacker for the Huskies from 1975-78 and spent eight years with the Seattle Seahawks.
Jackson has yet to find a niche at UCLA. He began his career at linebacker, registering one tackle in 1999. Moved to fullback, he's buried on the depth chart behind juniors Ed Ieremia-Stansbury and Matt Stanley.
Jackson is solely a special-teams contributor this year.
``He's a good athlete, he's a very smart athlete. It's just that he has been one of those guys that's on the cutting edge,'' coach Bob Toledo said. ``Everywhere he's been like the third guy. So he doesn't get a lot of chances.''
--Injury update: UCLA defensive end Sean Phillips, out the past three games with a severe ankle sprain, hopes to play on Saturday.
--Rainy days and Saturdays: The Bruins quarterbacks and kickers worked with wet footballs on Wednesday to prepare for possible inclement weather in Seattle.
Toledo heard it was raining in the Pacific Northwest on Wednesday afternoon, but Saturday's forecast calls for sunny skies and a crisp high of 45.
--For Curtis: Neuheisel, two assistant coaches and Washington athletic director Barbara Hedges flew to the Bay Area Thursday night to visit Curtis Williams, a senior defensive back who suffered a spinal-cord injury at Stanford on Oct. 28.
Williams' condition hasn't changed much. He remained virtually motionless in the intensive care unit at Stanford Medical Center.
Photo: RICK NEUHEISEL
He puts faith in Marques Tuiasosopo's hands to keep No. 7 Washington winning.