LOS ANGELES >> The mistakes piled up. The drop in the end zone. The fumble inside UCLA territory.
Just when Theo Howard was beginning to break out, the sophomore receiver saw his playing time reduced after two back-breaking errors against Stanford. The following week against Colorado, he had only one catch for a forgettable 5 yards.
After rejuvenating himself during the bye week, the former four-star prospect is optimistic he can turn things around.
“The main thing for me is just not losing confidence in myself because I know that I have the ability to go out there and play,” Howard said. “(I) just need to focus and keep working on it.”
Howard caught a career-high seven passes for 110 yards against Hawaii on Sept. 9, then had four catches in each of the next two games for a combined 59 yards. Head coach Jim Mora said Howard’s checklist has four necessary things: 1) to know his assignment, 2) do the assignment at full speed, 3) show great effort and 4) be consistent.
“We see flashes of great, really, really special things with him and, like all young players, you see some inconsistency,” said Mora, who added he appreciates Howard’s dedication to get better. “As he builds consistency, you’ll see more playing time and more production.”
Mique Juarez still progressing
Linebacker Mique Juarez is a staple on special teams for the Bruins, but the former prized recruit still has some work to do to crack the defensive rotation.
“He’s getting to a point where he knows what to do, the next step for him is to know how to do it,” linebackers coach Scott White said.
Juarez, the former five-star prospect from North Torrance, redshirted last year while dealing with personal issues. After a yearlong absence from the sport, he returned this past spring and had to shed at least 25 extra pounds. He’s close to, but not yet at, his target weight, White said.
“He’s been doing a nice job on special teams,” said White, who is also the special teams…