Jared Koster remembers exactly what happened to him last year on the opening kickoff against Houston -- he has a permanent reminder in the form of a shoulder that will never fully rotate -- but he says he's not seeking revenge for the perceived cheap shot that separated his shoulder.
Koster was on the kickoff team for the opening kick during UCLA's 31-13 victory over Houston at the Rose Bowl last Sept. 18 when some of the members of the Cougars' kickoff return front line unexpectedly charged forward and took out Koster.
His injuries included a torn labrum, a torn bicep tendon and a torn rotator cuff and required a surgery he called "the kitchen sink surgery" to repair. He missed the remainder of the season, all of spring football and a portion of training camp while recovering, but will again be on the kickoff team when the Bruins open their season Saturday at Houston.
"I might watch the play for motivation, but I’m not going to go head hunting or looking for a number," he said. "I might watch it just to remind me of what I had to go through because of that."
Koster said he has watched the play many times since the surgery and called the play "within the rules so it's a fair play." He says he doesn't know the number of the guy who hit him, but somehow we don't believe him.
Consider that not only will he have a scarred shoulder that allows him to rotate his arm only 70 percent inward for the rest of his life, but he's covered the shoulder with a tattoo over the shoulder depicting a "Terminator"-like metal inside and a Bruins symbol plastered over it.
It sure sounds as if Koster has been carrying around a deep-burning desire to get even, but Koster said the only for of retribution he'll be seeking is by making some plays on special teams and helping UCLA get a victory.
"I just have to have my awareness for this upcoming game," he said. "I’ll be on kickoff and I definitely won’t let it happen again. I’m not worried about payback, I’m just worried about getting a win. That would be the best revenge."