LOS ANGELES -- UCLA's secondary is working overtime this week, spending extra time studying film and even being subjected to quizzes from defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin about how to cover their assignments.
The reason? California receiver Keenan Allen.
“Keenan is a guy that you’d better have an answer for,” UCLA coach Jim Mora said. “He’s a special player and you can’t go into a game without a way to, as best you can, try to eliminate him on certain plays.”
Allen, a 6-3, 210-pound junior, is a returning all-conference receiver. He had 98 catches for 1,343 yards last season -- both numbers ranking second on the California single-season record list. This season, he has 33 receptions for 388 yards -- numbers that both represent about 37 percent of California’s passing game.
He’s projected as a first-round draft pick if he declares himself eligible after this season. It’s because of Allen that Mora said he and the coaching staff are straying from the usual defensive plan of preparing only for a scheme.
“Sometimes you’re just preparing for a scheme and sometimes you’re preparing for a scheme and a certain player within that scheme,” Mora said. “Now, you can’t double a guy on every play. That’s just impossible to do given the fact they run the ball and they have other guys that catch it, but he’s a guy that you scheme for, absolutely.”