UCLA NOTEBOOK: QB SET BUT QUESTIONS REMAIN CABRERA INJURY STATUS COULD HASTEN LEHMAN PROGRESS.
The largest big question facing UCLA during fall camp - who would start at quarterback? - was answered Monday when Cory Paus was chosen to lead the Bruins. But as the season opener against Alabama on Sept. 2 draws nearer, a handful of jobs remain unsettled.
Right guard: Oscar Cabrera, who earlier this week was ruled out three to four weeks with a high ankle sprain, was out of a soft cast Monday and working in agility drills with a trainer. However, if the three-year starter isn't ready, redshirt freshman Shane Lehman has been getting most of the work as his replacement. Two other potential replacements, senior Micah Webb (shoulder) and Blake Worley (concussion) have practiced sporadically since last week.
Third receiver: 6-foot-4 junior Jon Dubrovac has good size, surprising speed and excellent hands - sound like Danny Farmer? - but two others are playing their way into the mix: true freshman Tab Perry and former quarterback Drew Bennett. Perry has tremendous skills and poses another deep threat, while Bennett, who missed most of spring practice with a bad back, drew raves from offensive coordinator Al Borges.
Defensive tackle: In what may be the closest battle on either side of the ball, redshirt freshman Rodney Leisle or true junior Anthony Fletcher will start opposite Ken Kocher. Fletcher missed most of spring practice with a back injury and Leisle took advantage with an excellent spring.
--Zdenek Zman: Defensive coordinator Bob Field said Monday that Jason Zdenek, a seldom-used, fifth-year senior from Chaminade High of West Hills, will likely start at free safety against Alabama. Zdenek, who has one career tackle, had an excellent spring and has held off a host of challengers - John Hall, Jason Stephens, Audie Attar and Ben Emanuel among them.
``I think it's decided,'' Field said. ``If something happens between now and then, fine. But Jason had a good spring and a good fall camp. I see no reason why he won't start.'
--The name game: Ed Stansbury is at fullback this season - his third position in four years - but it's not the only thing new. He now goes by Ed Ieremia-Stansbury, taking on his mother's maiden name to honor the woman who reared him in El Paso, Texas.
It will also help the Ieremia clan in Samoa spot him on TV.
``A lot of her relatives would call and say they didn't see me,'' said Ieremia-Stansbury, mostly a special-teams player the past two seasons. ``They didn't know my last name was Stansbury.''
--Biletnikoff nominees: Receivers Freddie Mitchell and Brian Poli-Dixon are on the preliminary list of candidates for the Biletnikoff Award, which goes to the nation's top receiver.
--Commitment: UCLA received an oral commitment from Spencer Havner, a linebacker from Nevada City Nevada Union. Havner is the ninth commitment the Bruins have received.