Stevens was asked why he thought the Bruins, who picked up their first win in three tries, 31-13, over Houston at the Rose Bowl on Saturday, haven't turned Riley loose.
"Dietrich Riley's being put in situations and I think you're going to see more and more of him as the year goes along," said Stevens, who cited the presence of All-American free safety Rahim Moore and leading tackler and strong safety Tony Dye as blocking Riley from getting more playing time. "A lot of coaches like to see the kid get their feet wet and I think Dietrich's done a good job in the spots he's been in right now and as the season goes along they're going to play him more, but UCLA, for the first time, has a competition problem at positions. Now there's guys behind guys. [Coach] Rick Neuheisel has done an extraordinary job of recruiting the last three years and the cupboards are finally full."
Stevens was also asked if he thought Riley, who was a two-way starter at running back and defensive back in high school, might ever play an offensive down for the Bruins.
"Dietrich Riley, the way I've seen him so far, just has a great feel for free safety," Stevens said, "and that's where he belongs."
Stevens, who played at UCLA from 1983-86 and appeared in three Rose Bowl games, also enlightened the assembly with his Pac-10 predictions — he likes Oregon — projected National Championship game matchup — his scenario of Ohio State vs. Texas Christian raised a few eyebrows — and his assessment of Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck as one of the five most NFL-ready college quarterbacks he's ever seen.
FORMER BRUINS ENJOY
REUNION AT PODIUM