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UCLA defense forced to get creative at linebacker

By in Press Enterprise on September 17, 2017

By Thuc Nhi Nguyen

MEMPHIS >> UCLA’s defense prides itself on position flexibility and the Bruins had to get extra creative Saturday for its linebackers.

Without senior Kenny Young, who was held out due to injury, and junior Josh Woods, who was suspended for the first half due to targeting, the Bruins transformed defensive end Keisean Lucier-South into a hybrid linebacker for their 48-45 loss to Memphis on Saturday at Liberty Bowl Memorial Stadium.

The third-year sophomore had one tackle for loss and a forced fumble in his new position. During training camp, the team occasionally had Lucier-South practice the position and revisited the look this week.

“Give Keisean credit, I thought he handled it well,” defensive coordinator Tom Bradley said. “He did a really good job because a lot of times, there’s things going on there that he hasn’t really had the chance to practice.”

Redshirt freshman Breland Brandt, who was expected to possibly start at strong-side linebacker, was mysteriously not with the team Saturday, leaving the Bruins even more short-handed.

“Our mindset here is next Bruin up,” sophomore middle linebacker Lokeni Toailoa said. “So some guys go down, we all prepare like starters, so we all come in here ready to play.”

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Toailoa had three tackles and one tackle […]    

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