Stanley Hasiak regroups and returns
By Chris Foster, Los Angeles
Offensive lineman Stanley Hasiak has returned to practice with a renewed sense of purpose and calm.
A rocky season left the freshman unhappy and feeling somewhat lost, so two weeks ago Hasiak went home to Kapolei, Hawaii. And a few days later, he was back on the mainland, ready to resume his college career.
"Going home helped give me a peace of mind," Hasiak said. "My thoughts were really clouded. I was thinking very negatively and I wasn't sure what to do."
Stanley Hasiak Sr. helped correct his son's vision, with further support from Hasiak's uncles.
"My dad made me realize that I can't change what is going on and that the best thing to do is make it a positive," Hasiak said. "Just have to try to make things better for myself."
The 6-foot-5, 318-pound Hasiak was considered a key part of the Bruins' future on the offensive line. He was ranked fourth nationally at guard by Rivals.com. He started the season as a backup to Jeff Baca at left guard.
However, he was involved in a couple of physical confrontations with teammates during practice scrimmages. He played in UCLA's first two games, against San Diego State and Tennessee but was benched against Kansas State in an effort to get him to calm down.
Hasiak came off the bench against California but was still trying to adjust to college football. He was left at home when the Bruins played at Oregon State on Oct. 31. School officials said Hasiak was dealing with "personal health issues."
The following week, Hasiak was at practice but on the scout team. He went to Hawaii that weekend.
"I kind of expected to get playing time, and I was hoping to get it, but things didn't go my way," Hasiak said. "But it was never anything with my teammates.
"There are some things I can't talk about. I had to learn to deal with it and change my attitude about it. Going home and hearing what my dad and uncles had to say, I really took that to heart."
Hasiak returned to UCLA last week and, after meeting with coaches, was back at practice Thursday.
"Stan's in good graces," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "We're just trying to take things slow with him. We want him to work hard and get himself going again."
For now, that means working on the scout team. There is a small chance that Hasiak could get a medical redshirt year, as he has had shoulder and ankle injuries this season.
"I'm going to be positive," Hasiak said. "The coaches want me to help out the defense by giving them a good look [on the scout team] and that's what I'm doing. I have to enjoy what I've got right now. It's my freshman year and I should be happy with things."
Defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski, out the last three games because of a foot injury, went through a full practice Tuesday and pronounced himself fit.
"I haven't felt this good in a long time," Siewierski said. "It was better than I expected. All I felt was a little soreness, which is to be expected. If we were playing a game today, I could go 60 plays."
Neuheisel was a bit more cautious.
"He was going to go as tolerated," Neuheisel said. "If he got a lot of time in that means he was feeling good, which is great news. . . . I'll be anxious to watch the tape."