After two days of no-pads practice, Head Coach Karl Dorrell continues to emphasize a bit of a throw-them-out there-and-see-what-they-can-do approach. When asked if getting into the 7-on-7 and 11-on-11 so quickly was by design, Dorrell said, “These really aren’t camp practices. When we get to Fullerton, we’ll be breaking off more into our groups. But for these first few days, we wanted the players to be able to go out and just play and see how they could do.”
Dorrell said that the intensity improved the second day of practice, that the team shook off the first-day nervousness and were looser Thursday.
In regards to the quarterbacks, and Dorrell’s opinion of their performance, the coach said, “So far I’m really pleased with them. And it’s just not the two guys that have been mentioned as the potential starter, but John Sciarra, too. He put in a lot of work over the summer and it shows.”
Defensive tackle Ryan Boschetti has been held out for most of the first two practices, still recovering from groin surgery in June. Dorrell indicated that he’ll continue to take it lightly, even though Boschetti feels he’s completely recovered.
The other starting defensive tackle, Rodney Leisle, limped off the field about halfway through practice, and even though he sat out the rest of practice, it wasn’t apparently serious. Dorrell said Leisle got kneed in his right thigh and had a contusion, but he’s expected to be back tomorrow.
With both slated starting defensive tackles out for most of the day, defensive end Asi Faoa took some snaps at tackle. Dorrell said it was something the coaching staff had experimented with in spring and that it’s very likely Faoa could see time at tackle. “He gives us a quick athlete at that position who does a good job with the kind of stunts and things we want to do.”
When speaking about the younger defensive linemen, Dorrell had praise for three true freshmen, defensive tackle Kevin Brown and defensive ends Junior Lemau’u and Bruce Davis. “They of course don’t know much about what they’re doing, but I’ll tell you, they’re pretty good and could possibly help us. Davis will have to get bigger, but they’re good.”
Dorrell said that the other freshmen on defense have also impressed him. “Dennis Keyes tried to hit someone today, and we had to pull him back. William Snead is a long athlete. Mil’Von James did some good things.”
On offense, when asked about whether any receivers stood out, Dorrell said, “One receiver that has been really impressive is Ryan Smith, especially since he’s coming back from a long series of ankle injuries. I was impressed with what he’s done.”
Speaking about the newcomers on offense, Dorrell said he was impressed with both freshmen running backs, Maurice Drew and Derrick Williams. “It’s clear that they are two players that can play at this level,” Dorrell said.
Punter Chris Kluwe was working as a holder for kicker Justin Medlock, and Dorrell said that Kluwe could get time as the holder this season. “They worked together a lot this summer and got comfortable’”
Nnamdi Ohaeri attended practice but didn’t participate. UCLA doctors recognized his heart murmur a couple of weeks ago and administered some thorough testing as a precaution. He indicated he’ll start practicing Wednesday.
Former illustrious UCLA track and field coach, Jim Bush, will work informally with new strength and conditioning coach, Doc Kreis. With his experience, he’ll aid in the treatment of the players’ running-related injuries.
Aaron Whittington, the true freshman who it was anticipated would be moved from the defensive end position, worked out as a weakside linebacker Thursday. Freshman Noah Sutherland worked as a defensive end.
Paul Mociler saw some considerable time with the first team offensive line at right guard.
Committed defensive tackle prospect Kenny Lombard from Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola attended practice, as did highly recruited quarterback prospect Rocky Hinds from Playa Del Rey (Calif.) St. Bernards. Kevin Brown, Junior Lemau’u and others were talking up Hinds well.