UCLA FOOTBALL NOTEBOOK: DIFFERENT ROLE FOR TES.
No longer is UCLA's practice dominated by tight end Marcedes Lewis, who used his freakish size and athleticism to snatch passes galore in practice.
Instead, the tight ends are quiet, going about their work and trying make sure it is not a position of weakness.
``I know I have to grow up as a player,'' sophomore tight end Logan Paulsen said. ``Last year I got to travel, and that was nice, and kind of experience that, but now it's time to step into some bigger shoes and be a better run blocker, be a better receiver, get a bit more consistency. Now, it's kind of for real.''
Paulsen (Chaminade of West Hills) and sophomore Ryan Moya are expected to carry the load at tight end. Senior J.J. Hair is a blocking specialist with three career catches and redshirt freshman Adam Heater doesn't figure to have a prominent role.
``Marcedes was a fantastic player, and he was quite the celebrity at the position,'' Paulsen said. ``I think having him gone makes it a little difficult for us, but I think if we can make plays, they won't be able to forget about us.''
Lewis, a first-round NFL draft pick by Jacksonville in the spring, made 58 catches, including 10 for TDs, and won the Mackey Award as the nation's top tight end last season. He was the most productive tight end in school history.
By contrast, Moya made 10catches last season and Paulsen had two.
However, UCLA's new offensive coordinator, Jim Svoboda, may be looking to add a different dimension to the tight end's role.
``I think we'll be able to stretch the field,'' Moya said. ``Coach Svoboda brought in a lot of opportunities for us to be able to do that, so I'm excited about that. I need to be a reliable third-down threat, stretch the field, and I also need to be able to be a guy that the quarterbacks can dump it off to.''
Lewis also left a lasting image with UCLA's younger tight ends with his blocking.
``Having him here and seeing his importance with blocking, I think really translated over to me, Ryan and Heater,'' Paulsen said.
Sheller to redshirt: Freshman offensive lineman Sean Sheller was diagnosed with a torn medial collateral ligament in his right knee. No surgery is scheduled, but he is expected to miss four to six weeks and redshirt, Bruins coach Karl Dorrell said.
Also: With the NCAA-mandated acclimatization period over, UCLA will be in full pads for the first time today. ... Defensive linemen Kevin Brown and Justin Hickman and offensive lineman Shannon Tevaga were named to the watch list for the Rotary Lombardi Award watch list. ... Walk-on senior safety Charlie Shuh quit the team.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Aug 11, 2006|
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