UCLA went full pads for Wednesday’s evening practice. It didn’t have quite the same intensity as some of the full pads work from earlier in camp, but there was still plenty of live hitting and tackling.
Devin Lucien was out at practice for the first time, but word a bucket hat and stood on the sidelines. Randall Goforth, who participated in the morning session, was not on the field for the evening session. Alex Redmond also worked back in with team drills after sitting out most of the last week or so. The rest of the injured remained the same.
With Goforth out, Jaleel Wadood came in to work with the first team alongside Tahaan Goodman at safety. Anthony Jefferson, Ishmael Adams, and Fabian Moreau all worked at cornerback, which would seem to indicate that Jefferson’s move to corner could be a permanent one.
Redmond’s return pushed Kenny Lacy to the second string for most of practice. It did seem, though, that Adrian Klemm was doing much more shuffling along the line, likely to get guys more rest. Conor McDermott worked in frequently for Caleb Benenoch at right tackle, and Lacy came in for both guards at certain points.
Center snaps continued to be an issue, with Ben Wysocki grounding quite a few. At one point, the offensive line broke off with every offensive lineman practicing snapping. Alex Redmond looked like he was getting significant work snapping the ball, so it’ll be interesting to see if that’s something they try in the next few days.
Eddie Vanderdoes had his best day of camp so far, looking much fresher than he has during the first week and a half. He had a few plays where he broke through at least two lines of defense to get to the quarterback, and his ability to occupy multiple blockers on the way to the quarterback is impressive.
Jordon James had a good day running and blocking. During 11 on 11, he had an excellent run through the right side of the defense, juking and cutting his way to a 20+ yard gain. During 1-on-1 blocking drills, he was easily the most effective among the running backs. Adarius Pickett also showed some life during that period, handling Kenny Young on one play.
Eldridge Massington continues to surge during this second week of practice. He had a number of big catches today, including one where he leapt over the back of the defensive back to make a grab on an underthrown ball. About the only corner who’s been able to handle him has been Jefferson, who looks completely natural at his old position.
Nate Starks had a pretty good day, breaking off a couple of nice runs. He also caught a swing pass out of the backfield during team drills where he looked very natural catching the ball and quickly turning upfield. Pickett, Starks, and Craig Lee all got a lot of work today, with Paul Perkins and Steven Manfro both seemingly getting a bit more rest.
Najee Toran has an incredible mean streak, to the point where it’s just fun to sit back and watch him block. He had a few plays today where he didn’t stop blocking the defensive lineman he was matched up against until nearly the start of the next play. He does play bigger than his size.
Mossi Johnson has had a case of the dropsies lately, but he also caught a few nice balls, including one where he was draped by Ishmael Adams but still managed to catch the ball leaning out of bounds. He does a great job of finding space in the defense and making himself a big target.
During OL/DL 1-on-1s Owamagbe Odighizuwa had the best move, blowing by Malcolm Bunche on a spin move so badly that Bunche fell on his butt. To Bunche’s credit, on the next rep, he stoned Odighizuwa and kept him out of the backfield. Other standouts during the period were Aaron Wallace, who looked pretty good rushing from the defensive end spot, and Toran, who’s just really mean and plays with great leverage.
Poasi Moala hasn’t had a great camp. During 1-on-1, he tended to lunge, and didn’t get a great deal of strength behind his punch. It seems like he’s still picking up on the technique of playing at this level. It could click at any time, but it hasn’t yet.
Asiantii Woulard had a great deep throw during 7-on-7, throwing over the top of the safety to a streaking Devin Fuller in the back of the endzone. Brett Hundley didn’t get a ton of work today, with Woulard, Mike Fafaul, and Jerry Neuheisel getting the majority of the team reps.
Aaron Sharp threw the ball during warmups but then spent the rest of the day doing conditioning, so there wasn’t much more to glean from him than what Tracy wrote about him earlier today. He, Jordan Lasley, and Dwight Williams are all getting extensive conditioning work during practice, which seems like it might be a combination of acclimation and punishment. Or maybe it just seems that way because Sal Alosi’s conditioning work looks really painful.
UCLA will be back out at practice at 11:15 tomorrow.