After losing defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes to a torn ACL, UCLA will attempt to fill the void with two players: redshirt junior Eli Ankou and sophomore Matt Dickerson.
“It’s going to be hard to replace Eddie,” said defensive line coach Angus McClure. “Obviously we all know the type of player he is, the type of force he can be.”
Still, McClure expressed a bit of optimism. Ankou, he said, is one of the stronger guys on the team, and played well in his 20-plus snaps in UCLA’s 34-16 win over Virginia on Saturday. And whereas Ankou is more a of a “bull-rusher,” Dickerson will provide more speed, length and pass rush to the position.
“They’ll have to be able to step up,” said nose tackle Kenny Clark, who combined with Vanderdoes for 11 solo tackles and 2.5 for loss against the Wahoos. “They’re strong kids.”
While sidelined, Vanderdoes will begin studying UCLA’s opponents one week ahead of the rest of the team, the same way former Bruin defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa did while rehabbing from hip surgeries.
“It’s going to make him a better football player down the road. … I want to keep his mind into it,” McClure said.