When linebacker Eric Kendricks left at halftime of UCLA’s 24-10 loss at Stanford, true freshman Isaako Savaiinaea moved up to first-string. Rated, the No. 1-ranked recruit out of Hawaii said he needed a series to fully acclimate himself to the game.
“I got into a lot of high school habits,” he said. “That’s what I’m working on this week, just fixing my technique. … Playing high. In high school, you could just throw linemen around.”
After notching five tackles, how much Savaiinaea plays at Oregon on Saturday remains to be seen. Kendricks’ tests for kidney damage turned up negative, and he is expected to play through bruising on the surrounding tissue. He participated fully in Wednesday’s practice, taking the red non-contact jersey he wore a day earlier.