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Golden Nuggets: Hagan Believes His Performance at UCLA is a Sign of Things to Come

Hagan assures us that his play will be reminiscent of last year's impressive season.

Hagan abruptly resurfaced in Saturday's 45-26 win over UCLA, making five tackles and breaking up three passes. His strong play was timely, because Thompson bruised his lower back and missed most of the game. Thompson also missed practice Tuesday, leaving his status for Saturday's game in doubt.

Hagan knows all about injuries. He nursed lingering soreness in his left knee throughout training camp. That limited him in practice and led to some bad habits, culminating in a miserable game Sept. 19 at Minnesota, when he allowed two touchdown passes.

His performance against UCLA offered hope Hagan more often will resemble the player he was last season - shadowing receivers and getting his hands on passes.

"Things have been getting better," Hagan said Tuesday. "I definitely feel I can continue to play like this. ... I had a terrible season up until the UCLA game, so it was a good feeling."

Hagan credited his turnaround to regaining strength in his knee and improving his footwork and alignment. His technique lagged earlier in the season, causing Hill to replace him in the starting lineup.

"I thought he played well in coverage and tackled really well," head coach Jeff Tedford said of Hagan's effort against UCLA. "A couple of times in the open field, he was one-on-one with guys and did a great job of coming up and making a really sure tackle."