Quarterback is definitely a question mark at UCLA right now, but there's no need to feel too sorry for the 15th-ranked Bruins, who play BYU on Saturday in Cougar Stadium.
They still have plenty of weapons.There's a second-team All-America receiver, Sean LaChapelle; the Pac-10's leading rusher last season, Kevin Williams; the nation's top returning interceptor, cornerback Carlton Gray; and four other players who made the all-Pac 10 first or second team.
UCLA teams have always been loaded with talent. Coach Terry Donahue's last four recruiting classes have been ranked in the Top 10 by most publications, and in the last five years 33 Bruins have been chosen in the NFL draft.
Against BYU last year, LaChapelle caught five passes for 93 yards and two touchdowns. Williams rushed for 132 yards on just 13 carries. The defense limited the Cougar ground game to 57 yards, sacked Ty Detmer five times and picked off two passes.
Last week, in UCLA's season-opener against Cal-Fullerton, LaChapelle accounted for 230 all-purpose yards, Williams rushed for 124 and sophomore tailback Daron Washington gained 85 on seven carries.
Still, if there is a time to catch the Bruins vulnerable, this is probably it. Starting quarterback Wayne Cook went down in the second quarter of last week's game with a season-ending knee injury, giving the starter's job to redshirt freshman Rob Walker.
"We have to regroup," Donahue said this week. "We'd invested a lot of time in Wayne Cook."
Donahue said the team typically devotes 80 percent of practice time to the starter, 20 percent to his backup.
"When something like this happens to you, you wish you'd split the time 50-50," he said.
In relief of Cook last week, Walker missed his first four passes but ended up completing five of 12 for 58 yards. Not spectacular, but OK for a guy who spent last season running the scout team.