Going to L.A. is strictly a business trip

SEATTLE — For some, it’s a chance to catch up with family and friends, but for others this weekend’s trip to play UCLA, no matter how close it is to home, is strictly business.

As usual, there will be a large number of Huskies playing close to home when the team heads to Pasadena for Saturday’s game. Thirty players on this year’s roster are from southern California.

Most players say it’s nice to see family when the Huskies head south, but that they don’t plan on making a fun homecoming their top priority.

“Every opportunity that I can get a chance to get home, I enjoy it,” said cornerback Roy Lewis, who went to Los Angeles’s Narbonne High. “It’ll be good to get home, see my mom and my family, but it’s strictly business. This is a business trip. As always we try to conduct ourselves like business men, but it will be nice to see some familiar faces.”

Dan Howell’s family hopefully isn’t expecting too much time with the senior linebacker.

“All my family’s down there, but they know that I’m down there for one thing, and that’s to play football,” said Howell, who is from Newhall, Calif. “I love you mom, but I’ve got a job to do.”

Tyrone Willingham hopes the trip home for so many players will provide motivation, rather than distraction.

“Really, it should be the best thing for us,” he said. “To know that you’re playing in front of family and friends and know that you have the opportunity to spend time with them and play in front of them, that should be a benefit and not necessarily a distraction.”

Howell ready to play: After sitting out the Ohio State game with a knee injury, Howell expects to be back on the field against the Bruins.

Howell hurt his knee against Boise State — he called it a strain — but downplayed the injury last week, making his absence against the Buckeyes something of a surprise. Edmonds-Woodway graduate Kyle Trew made his first start in place of Howell.

New UCLA quarterback this weekend? The reports out of L.A. Wednesday were that starting quarterback Ben Olson missed practiced for the second straight day with “headaches.” The school has not gone so far as to the call the injury a concussion, but Olson did take several hard hits against Utah. Bruins coach Karl Dorrell has said that Olson will not play Saturday if he cannot practice today.

If Olson isn’t available, the starter will likely Patrick Cowan, whose father Tim played quarterback at Washington in the early 1980s.

Contact Herald Writer John Boyle at jboyle@heraldnet.com. For more on University of Washington Sports, check out the Huskies blog at heraldnet.com /huskiesblog

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