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Monday, April 11, 2011
Spring football report: Barr gets time at RB

By Peter Yoon

Anthony Barr, who spent last season and the early part of the spring as an F-back, worked primarily with the running backs Monday during spring practice and said he will work with that group for the remainder of spring.

Barr was an all-state running back at Loyola High in Los Angeles, but came to UCLA as an "athlete." At 6-5, 238, he doesn't fit the prototypical mold of a running back, so coach Rick Neuheisel slotted him with the F-backs--a versatile crossover position that combines elements of running back, receiver and tight end.

This spring, however, Neuheisel and offensive coordinator Mike Johnson want to see if Barr can cut it as a Division I running back.

"He’s a very accomplished running back in high school and we want to see what we have before we decide what we want to do," Neuheisel said. "We just want to make sure we’re getting everything we can out of him and that he’s fulfilling his fullest potential."

Barr rushed for 1,890 yards and 20 touchdowns as a junior at Loyola, but sat out most of his senior year with an ankle injury. He said he's looking forward to being able to show what he can do as a ball carrier.

"I’m a little rusty," he said. "It’s been a while, but coming out of high school I was a running back. That was my position so that’s what I like to do so it feels good to be back there."

Barr played in all 12 games last season as a true freshman and started four games, but didn't handle the ball all that much as an F-back. He had nine catches for 66 yards and rushed six times for 31 yards.

"Last year I felt like I was primarily a blocker so I’m excited to expand that," he said.

Barr said he's used to people not believing in him as a running back because of his size, but that gives him a bit of an extra edge in trying to prove the doubters wrong.

"Definitely people look at me and everything else but running back comes to mind," he said. "But whatever."

Barr got involved with a few carries and also caught a couple of passes out of the backfield in his first day as a full-time running back and Neuheisel liked what he saw.

"The few runs that he had today, he was very impressive so we’ll keep track of that," Neuheisel said.

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