Taking It On the Run
Led by DeShaun Foster, UCLA's rushing game knocked No. 3 Alabama
for a loop
Of all the game plans UCLA could have devised in hopes of
upsetting No. 3 Alabama, shoving the ball down the Crimson Tide's
throat would have seemed the nuttiest. After all, Alabama
finished second in the nation in rushing defense last season
(75.3 yards per game), while the Bruins' running game was next to
last (108.3) in the Pac-10. Despite all that, the rushing of
junior tailback DeShaun Foster enabled UCLA to pull off a
stunning 35-24 upset at the Rose Bowl last Saturday.
Foster surprised everyone by rushing for 187 yards and three
touchdowns and tying a school record with 42 carries. "Nobody
thought we could run the ball like that," said Bruins offensive
coordinator Alan Borges. "We talked about 30 carries for DeShaun.
I don't know what to tell you. Between the tackles he was
UCLA coach Bob Toledo wanted his offense to be more physical this
season. "Physical. Aggressive. That's what I tried to preach. We
are going to be a physical football team," said Toledo, whose
Bruins were racked by injuries, inexperience and a
handicapped-parking-pass scandal en route to a 4-7 record in
1999. Before this season Borges simplified the offense by tossing
a half dozen running plays out of the playbook and installed an
offensive line that weighs 100 pounds more than last year's.
Foster did some body-sculpting, too. As a freshman in 1998 he
helped the Bruins win the Pac-10 by rushing for a team-high 673
yards and scoring 12 touchdowns. Foster denies that his success
went to his head, but strength coach Mike Lynn says, "Before last
season I saw him in the weight room about 50 percent of the time
he was supposed to be there." Then Foster suffered a high right
ankle sprain in the fourth game and, like the offensive line,
never got healthy. He finished last season with 375 yards and six
September 10, 2000
"We couldn't run the ball at all," says Foster. "I got hurt.
Everybody was doubting me, saying that I wasn't in shape. I felt
like I was in shape." Nonetheless, when practice began last
month, the 6'1" Foster came in at 212 pounds, four pounds lighter
than last year, and he had reduced his body fat from 8% to 3%.
Last Saturday he gained 105 of his yards after contact.
The only person to stop Foster cold last Saturday was Toledo, who
put a headlock on Foster in the postgame interview room. "You've
got to believe you can beat somebody," said Toledo, "and we
believed." Later, in a nearly empty locker room, Toledo allowed
himself a personal note of vindication: "We were a young,
inexperienced team last year, and all of a sudden people thought
we couldn't coach anymore."
They believe now, Coach.
Toledo Weighs In
No Breather For Penn State
The last team Penn State needed to play after being humiliated by
USC in the season opener might have been Toledo. With 20
returning starters, a veteran eight-man defensive front
tailor-made to eat up a young offensive line and a talented
tailback in senior Chester Taylor, the Rockets would be a solid
test for anyone. For the inexperienced Nittany Lions, Toledo was
a second nightmare in six days.
With nine new defensive starters, Penn State expected to
experience growing pains this season, but it didn't foresee
getting manhandled by the Rockets 24-6 at Beaver Stadium. Taylor
gained yardage on 28 of his 29 carries and finished with 141
yards and two touchdowns.
Toldeo offensive coordinator Dave Christensen says that last
year, Penn State's opponents had to pay extra attention to
linebacker LaVar Arrington and end Courtney Brown, which freed
other defenders such as end Justin Kurpeikis to make plays. Now,
with Arrington and Brown in the NFL, Kurpeikis is getting the
attention, and no one else has emerged. When the leading tackler
at Linebacker U is strong safety James Boyd (16 stops last
Saturday), there's a problem.
The Nittany Lions' offense, which has produced one touchdown, one
field goal and 308 yards in two games, leaves much to be desired,
too. The line could neither open running lanes nor protect senior
quarterback Rashard Casey, whom Toledo sacked four times. "We
tried to put pressure up the middle," said Rockets defensive
coordinator Tom Amstutz. "Because they have new guys, we could
get a good matchup in there."
Casey, who looked tentative against USC, looked slightly better
against Toledo, completing 5 of 13 for 98 yards and a touchdown.
He wasn't helped by the fact that starting wideouts Sam Crenshaw
and Rod Perry dropped five passes between them or that Casey's
primary receiver, junior Eddie Drummond (sprained right knee
against USC), was sidelined.
Penn State is 0-2 for the first time in 10 years, and already
there's dissension. "We have no shotgun, no pitching out, no
rollout," sophomore tailback Larry Johnson Jr. said. "We put
[those plays] in the offense, and later we always take them out
because it's not 'Penn State.' We're too predictable."
Johnson's indictment of the coaches hits home: His father is the
defensive line coach.
Adams Is Small But Ferocious
When Keith Adams was just two years old, he and his father,
Julius, a former Patriots defensive end, were watching Monday
Night Football, and after Julius turned off the TV because it was
Keith's bedtime, Keith began to cry. Julius clicked the TV back
on, and Keith stopped bawling. Julius then changed the channel,
and Keith started wailing again, quieting only after Julius
switched back to the game. "That's how I found out Keith loved
football," says Julius, now the defensive line coach at Fort
Valley (Ga.) State. "I guess it's in his genes."
In fact, Keith, a junior linebacker at Clemson, credits genetics
with helping him compensate for a 5'11", 220-pound body that's
small for a major college linebacker. He inherited strength
(452-pound bench press) from his father, who retired in 1987 as
New England's alltime sack leader (he's now No. 2 with 79 1/2),
and speed (4.59 in the 40) from his mother, Pat, who in the early
1970s ranked among the top five sprinters in the nation at 220
yards. In the Tigers' 38-0 rout of The Citadel, Adams was a major
reason the Bulldogs didn't cross midfield until the game's final
minutes. "Keith was in our backfield so quickly, he should have
been wearing our colors," said Citadel quarterback Joe Call.
Adams is an early favorite to win the Butkus Award after coming
off the best year of any defensive player in Clemson's history.
In 1999 he set school records and led the nation in tackles (186)
and tackles for loss (35) while ranking second in the country in
sacks (16). He played just over two quarters against The Citadel
and produced nine tackles and a sack. "Seeing his stats, you
expect Keith to look scary, like a Jevon Kearse, but he's a
little guy who can knock your head off," says Tigers coach Tommy
Adams was lightly recruited at Westlake High in Atlanta, and
Clemson defensive coordinator Reggie Herring admits that even
though he offered Adams a scholarship, he thought Adams would
most likely be no better than a backup linebacker and a special
teams player. After witnessing Adams's devastating power,
Herring dubbed him Terminite. "What gives Keith his edge is that
he still looks in the mirror every morning and says, 'How can I
whup ass even better today?'" Herring says. "From Day One he's
been told that he's too little for football," Herring says, "but
in this land of Goliaths, he's one vicious David." --Tim Crothers
UConn's Australian Punter
Solid Debut Goes Sour
On Aug. 14, two months after Connecticut had given freshman
punter Adam Coles a football scholarship, he put on a helmet and
shoulder pads for the first time. Last Saturday at Eastern
Michigan, after averaging 41.1 yards on his first seven punts,
the left-footed Coles, a 24-year-old native of Sydney, discovered
what it's like to kick from his end zone with 3:54 left and his
team trying to protect a 25-24 lead. Coles's eighth punt slid off
his foot and went seven yards to the UConn 17. Six plays later,
the Eagles scored a touchdown and won 32-25. "I didn't think I
was capable of such a bad punt," he said.
After playing one season of Australian Rules Football for the
Sydney Swans, the 6'5", 220-pound Coles entered a punting contest
sponsored by the NFL in 1998. He won the Sydney-area competition
and wound up finishing second nationally. Last year Coles
borrowed money from his parents to relocate to South Florida and
train with Dolphins kicking coach Doug Blevins. He then sent
tapes of his workouts to several colleges. UConn was the only
school to offer him a scholarship.
UConn special teams coach Lyndon Johnson was impressed by how
rapidly Coles learned to kick a football that is smaller and
lighter than the one used in Australia. "He's not as raw as you'd
think," says Johnson. "He wants to understand the game."
Coles understands it all too well now. "I'm lost for words," he
said last Saturday night. "The guys were great to me about it.
That sort of makes it harder. I wish they'd really get on me."
For complete scores, schedules and stats, plus more news from
Ivan Maisel and B.J. Schecter, go to cnnsi.com/football/college.
--Nebraska (1-0) at Notre Dame (1-0)
As a reward for his second-half play against Texas A&M--four
completions in five attempts, 79 yards, one touchdown, 33 yards
rushing and 17 Fighting Irish points leading to a 24-10 comeback
win--Arnaz Battle faces the Huskers' defense. Some reward. Four
No. 1s have fallen in Rockne's House. These Irish won't take the
--Miami (1-0) at Washington (1-0)
The Huskies want to control the ball and hope to do it in Husky
weather, as they call a cloudy, rainy Saturday in Seattle. But
the Hurricanes, led by All-Big East linebacker Dan Morgan, have
the defensive speed to stop Washington's multithreat quarterback,
Marques Tuiasosopo. Suffice it to say, this is Hurricane season.
--Oregon (1-0) at Wisconsin (1-0)
A Rose Bowl preview? Don't laugh. The Ducks are the only Pac-10
team with a winning record in each of the last six years. The
Badgers, on the other hand, impressed no one in their
season-opening 19-7 victory over Western Michigan. Still, Oregon
won't have an easy time facing a Wisconsin team trying to get
over the national embarrassment of a shoe scandal. No upset here.
--Auburn (1-0) at Ole Miss (1-0)
The Rebels will exact revenge on former coach Tommy Tuberville in
his first trip back to Oxford since bolting in 1998. Ole Miss has
the emotional edge, and the Tigers won't stop Rebels tailback
Deuce McAllister and Co.
Ya Gotta Love This Guy
Florida State senior tailback Jeff Chaney could start for just
about any school that doesn't have a player the caliber of
senior Travis Minor, who led the Seminoles with 856 yards in
1999. Instead, Chaney has made a career of coming off the
sideline and contributing in a variety of ways. When Florida
State wanted to expand the role of the fullback last season, the
200-pound Chaney stepped in. He scored the go-ahead touchdown on
a two-yard run in the Seminoles' 30-23 defeat of Florida.
Against Virginia Tech in the Sugar Bowl, Chaney, who saw
occasional action on special teams, picked up a blocked punt and
scored. He also led Florida State in rushing, with 43 yards, in
the 46-29 defeat of the Hokies. On Aug. 26, in the Seminoles'
29-3 win over BYU, Chaney, now exclusively the second-string
tailback, ran for 12 yards. Not a lot, but at some point this
season Florida State will need a play. Chaney will be ready.
Miami senior wideout Santana Moss, who scored on a 75-yard
reverse and a 77-yard punt return in a season-opening 61-14 rout
of McNeese State last Thursday, is a big reason that Florida
State coach Bobby Bowden thinks the Hurricanes can contend for
the national title. "They're for real," Bowden says. "They've
got a Peter Warrick." That's the highest compliment Moss is
likely to get all year....
Tulane received good news last week when two players taken in
June's baseball draft reported to the Green Wave's football
camp. Freshman tailback Mewelde Moore, a fourth-round choice of
the Padres, signed a contract that allows him to play football,
and freshman wide receiver Roydell Williams, a fifth-round pick
of the Reds, opted not to sign. Moore rushed for a team-leading
82 yards and Williams played but didn't have any receptions in
Tulane's 49-20 loss on Saturday at Ole Miss....
Is nothing sacred? Air Force senior quarterback Mike Thiessen
has looked so good throwing the ball that Falcons coach Fisher
DeBerry is talking about occasionally ditching the option to
line up Thiessen in the shotgun....
Before the season Virginia coach George Welsh spoke of how the
Cavaliers needed to overcome a crisis of confidence following a
63-21 loss to Illinois in last December's MicronPC.com Bowl. In
its opener Virginia blew a 21-0 lead at home to BYU and lost
38-35 in overtime....
Tennessee freshman right tackle Michael Munoz (SI, May 29) won a
starting job in preseason camp and then got a rude awakening
from an athletic Southern Mississippi defense. Munoz struggled
with his pass protection and was benched after allowing a sack
in the third quarter of the Volunteers' 19-16 victory. He's
expected to start Tennessee's next game, against Florida on