Nowhere is UCLA's depth more precarious than at cornerback. Nowhere is UCLA's future more secure than at cornerback.
What seems to be a contradiction meshes with the shot-term need and the long-term benefit of playing freshmen.
Starting cornerbacks Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price are capable, but both are seniors. Behind them are freshmen Marcus Rios and Fabian Moreau, who are expected to receive more playing time because another freshman, Ishmael Adams, is facing season-ending shoulder surgery.
Besides backing up Hester and Price, Rios and Moreau are members of UCLA's special teams units.
"We need to get them plays wherever we can," Coach Jim Mora said. "When they come out here next year and are thrust into a starting role, they have some game experience.
"You can do everything you want in practice. You can do every drill imaginable during the off-season. Unless you're playing in a game, it's just not the same."
The injury to Adams accelerated plans for Rios and Moreau.