Stepping in to replace Kai Maiava at center is not going to be easy, but Ryan Taylor says he is up for the challenge.
Maiava broke his ankle Saturday during the Fall scrimmage and will have surgery to repair the injury when the swelling goes down.
Coach Rick Neuheisel said he hopes to have Maiava, a 12-game starter for the Bruins last year, back by the end of October.
In the meantime, Taylor, a redshirt senior who transferred from Tyler College in Texas in Spring, 2009, moves over from guard and takes over as the signal caller for the offensive line.
"He was a big leader," Taylor said of Maiava. "That’s a big blow, but I think we’ll be OK. We have really good senior leadership and I feel like we’re going to keep rolling and carry the team."
Center for the UCLA this year takes on added importance because the Bruins will be using the Pistol offense, a shotgun formation, much of the time. Taylor, who worked a little as a center last year and played center during spring football, said he's not worried.
He played center at Tyler, where they ran a spread offense and used many shotgun formations, and he said he worked with quarterback Kevin Prince a lot during the last few months.
"It’s a little different, but it’s all good," Taylor said. "Shoot, me and Kevin were out here every Saturday just getting extra snaps in. I feel like I’ve put in enough work and I feel like I’m ready for the role."