It’s fun for all, and all for fun

first_imgThere are more smiles, more good-natured ribbing and players are having much more fun around UCLA these days, and it’s not all because the Bruins are 5-0 and ranked No. 12 in the nation entering Saturday’s game at Washington State. The early winning has created confidence, but the Bruins say their success goes deeper than results. Several players said more fun during the week carries over to better play on Saturdays. “We play together as a team more (than in 2004),” UCLA sophomore receiver Brandon Breazell said. “We’re more like a family this year. We’re together on and off the field. I see a lot more smiles. After guys make big plays, and we’re celebrating, there are teeth all over the field. It’s a good feeling.” Senior linebacker Spencer Havner, one of the team leaders, said UCLA’s better understanding of the importance of game-week preparation is a key reason. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWalnut’s Malik Khouzam voted Southern California Boys Athlete of the Week “It’s a product of staying focused in practice and getting all your work done, and you’re confident in what you’re doing in the game,” Havner said. “Then, mistakes don’t happen as much and you have fun. I remember (NFL quarterback) Brett Favre talking about it. You can be loose on game day as long as you prepared the week before, because it should be second nature.” Third-year Washington State coach Bill Doba noticed the difference watching game film. “I think the biggest thing is just their aggressiveness and they just seem to be having fun,” Doba said. “They seem to be flying around the football.” Wazzu injury update: Doba said he told reporters Thursday leading receiver Jason Hill was “doubtful” with a thigh bruise. Hill missed last week’s game against Stanford, but still leads Wazzu with 28 catches, 528 receiving yards and seven touchdown receptions. Also, Cougars 6-foot-8, 300-pound defensive tackle Ropati Pitoitua, who missed training camp with a broken leg, returned to practice and could play 10 to 15 plays. center_img New security measures: Wazzu officials announced a change in postgame procedures, blocking off the walkway the visiting team uses to get to the locker room, which is a couple of hundred yards away from the field. The move comes in the wake of UCLA strong safety Jarrad Page telling the Daily News earlier this week fans shouted racial remarks at him during the Bruins’ 2003 visit. “When all visiting team personnel arrives at their locker room, we will open access to the sidewalks,” Wazzu assistant athletic director John David Wicker said. Odds and ends: UCLA coach Karl Dorrell said reserve tight end Matt Raney would make the trip in place of linebacker Kyle Bosworth, a special teams contributor out with a broken thumb. … Weather shouldn’t be a factor. The chance of rain is 10 percent, and temperatures will be near 65 degrees at kickoff. Brian Dohn, (818) 713-3607 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img

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