UCLA's Poli-Dixon Returning Home
Oct. 26, 2000
LOS ANGELES - Get ready, Tucson. Brian Poli-Dixon is coming home.
The UCLA wide receiver can't wait for Saturday's game at ArizonaStadiumbetween the Bruins and 24th-ranked Wildcats.
'I'm excited, this whole week of practice is going to be off pureemotion,' said Poli-Dixon, a 6-foot-5, fourth-year junior who was born andraised in Tucson and starred at Sabino High. 'You want to do well, you wanttogo home and show your friends and family what you can do.
'I'm going to take it up a notch this week.'
Poli-Dixon was hoping the game would be meaningful to the Bruins in thePacific-10 Conference race, but three conference losses have knocked themoutof title contention.
'We're this close to being 7-0,' he said, holding his thumb andforefingerinches apart. 'We have so much potential, things just haven't worked out forus so far.'
UCLA (4-3, 1-3) was ranked No. 6 after beating Alabama, Fresno StateandMichigan last month.
Since that time, the Bruins have lost at No. 7 Oregon in a game thatwastied in the third quarter, at California in triple overtime, and to No. 18Oregon State at the Rose Bowl last weekend despite leading by 10 pointsearlyin the fourth quarter.
UCLA was successful in Poli-Dixon's only previous game against ArizonainTucson, handing the Wildcats a 52-28 setback two years ago - their only lossofthe season. Poli-Dixon did his part, catching four passes for 51 yards andonetouchdown.
Poli-Dixon, who has 29 receptions for 370 yards and two TDs, said hedidn'tfollow football until he began playing as a sophomore in high school.
'Then, I fell in love with it,' he said.
As a high school senior, Poli-Dixon had 44 catches for 912 yards and 17TDsas Sabino High went 12-1 and reached the state 4A semifinals.
'I think he's a terrific young man,' Arizona coach Dick Tomey said. 'Wetried hard to get Brian. He chose UCLA, he's done an outstanding job. We'revery concerned about playing against him. He's a threat because of his sizeandcompetitiveness.'
Poli-Dixon said Arizona was one of the five schools he visited as ahighschool recruit.
'I was definitely keeping in mind playing at home,' he recalled. 'I hadbeen there my whole life, I wanted to try something else.'
Since he didn't follow football as a youngster, Poli-Dixon said heneverdeveloped a loyalty to the Wildcats (5-2, 3-1).
'They're just an obstacle in the way,' he said. 'I'm from there, butthey're the enemy right now.'
He will have a lot of support in the stands Saturday.
'I'll probably only get about 10 tickets, I'll buy about 40. Themoney'snot coming out of my pocket,' Poli-Dixon said with a smile. 'My dad needssome for his people, I've got three sisters, they're all bringing people.
'Every game is personal, when you go home, it's more personal. I'mgoing totake care of business.'
By JOHN NADEL
AP Sports Writer