Tony Dye optimistic for return this week

Tony Dye was happy just to have a numbered jersey again.

The senior safety, out since Sept. 17 because of a lingering neck issue, shed the red no-contact jersey Tuesday and said he felt great. Dye was scheduled to see a doctor to "revisit things," but indicated that he plans on taking the field Saturday in UCLA's home finale against Colorado.

"I've always wanted to come back, especially since we have a real shot at the Pac-12 championship," Dye said. "I really want to be a part of it."

Dye added that he and his family had discussions about the possibility of taking a medical redshirt and returning next year for a fifth season. But rest helped the numbness wear off to the point where he feels comfortable enough to play.

"I'm a competitor and I really want to be a part of this opportunity I have right now," Dye said. "Coming back [next year] would have been an amazing thing but I want to spend the time I have with them right now and try to get this W."

Coach Rick Neuheisel said he did not get a bad update on Dye, though he didn't necessarily keep an eye on him during practice. Neuheisel will gauge Dye's readiness by looking at the film.

Dye had started 28 consecutive games prior to the injury.

Other news and notes from Tuesday's practice:

-- Quarterback Richard Brehaut (leg), listed as probable on the team's injury report, received second-team reps and ran sprints toward the end of practice. "There's some pain but it's nothing that I can't get through if need be," Brehaut said. Aside from the minor pain, Brehaut said it was the best he's felt since he got hurt Oct. 8 in a win against Washington State. "There's still a little bit of rust on my timing of some routes that I've got to improve," Brehaut said.

-- Running back Derrick Coleman, who sat out most of the second half against Utah with a hip injury, practiced fully.

-- Freshman cornerback Anthony Jefferson, who underwent back surgery in the summer, has received clearance for full contact but Neuheisel said he wasn't sure if Jefferson is ready to play.

-- Sophomore safety Alex Mascarenas (concussion) went through drills in the red no-contact jersey.

-- Senior receiver Josh Smith, who played at Colorado for two years before transferring to UCLA in 2009, said he might feel emotional when he lines up against his former team on Saturday. "There's definitely going to be some emotional ties because a lot of those guys were like family to me. Me personally I still remember the fight song, so it's going to be weird. ... But we're going to be yelling the UCLA song loud and proud all day. There will be guys on the other side who I'm familiar with and I can't wait to get a shot at them because it's all love." Senior center Kai Maiava transferred to UCLA from Colorado in 2008.