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Odds and ends from UCLA football practice

October 22, 2009 |  7:02 pm

Some tidbits from UCLA's football practice on Thursday....

-- UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel said he plans to start Nick Ekbatani at right guard in front of Stanley Hasiak against Arizona on Saturday. Ekbatani left Wednesday's practice after "tweaking his left knee," Neuheisel said. He said Ekbatani was fine during Thursday's practice. "It didn't look like there was any issue," he added. Hasiak sprained his right ankle last week, and Neuheisel  described it as "gimpy."

UCLA-logo -- After cracking his right fibula in the Bruins' season opener against San Diego State, freshman cornerback Aaron Hester will fly with the team tomorrow, Neuheisel said. Hester's playing status will be a game-time decision, Neuheisel said. "We'll see how he does," Neuheisel said of Hester, who was cleared this week to practice.

-- After sophomore reserve tight end Nate Chandler and freshman scout team tackle Nik Abele collided during kickoff coverage drills in Wednesday's practice,  both had X-rays on their necks, Neuheisel said. The X-rays on the players were negative, but "both have headaches," he said.

--Neuheisel said he's confident the Bruins (3-3) can rebound from a 0-3 start in Pacific 10 Conference play. "We’re going to keep coming to work and keep busting our tails knowing there are brighter days ahead," he said. "I can’t wait for it to happen, hopefully as soon as Saturday."

-- Mark Medina