Notes on Tuesday's Practice

The defensive -- particularly the defensive line-- is dominating, as the offense has issues with execution. Defensive end Datone Jones continues to be dominant, and wide receiver Nelson Rosario has another good day...

It was a sloppy offensive practice with quite a bit of poor execution on snaps and handoffs. The offense was doing some new movement in the backfield, which might explain some of the problems.

At one point, in 11-on-11/two-minute drill, Richard Brehaut threw an out as a receiver was cutting up, to which Rick Neuheisel threw down his hat in frustration and yelled "It's Cover Two!" Jim Mastro and Mike Johnson appeared to not be happy with the offense for most of the session either.

Mastro also bellowed one of the best lines of the day: "If you can't block, you can't play here!"

Nelson Rosario continued his exceptional spring, making a number of very good catches. One in particular was a catch he made over Aaron Hester, who had good position on him; Rosario merely out-stretched his arms and snatched it from above Hester's head. Hester did follow up for the rest of practice with some very good coverage.

The defense, for the most part, looked impressive, with the defensive line being dominant. If there's a player who looks like he's a prime candidate for post-season honors it's Datone Jones. He is, at times, impossible to block. He had three virtual sacks in a row during the 11-on-11, one coming when he executed a beautiful swim move on Stan Hasiak.

Hasiak, to his credit, though, has has had a good spring, and done very well in controlling his temper. Tuesday, after getting tied up with defensive end Damien Holmes, Holmes took a swing at him, but Hasiak cooly didn't retaliate.

Offensive guard Chris Ward has also had a good spring, but got beat when defensive tackle Donovan Carter blew by him on a tackle for loss. Defensive tackle Nate Chandler was also in the offensive backfield quite often.

There was also a dust-up between linebacker Jordan Zumwalt and receiver Taylor Embree. On a route, it appeared that Zumwalt tripped Embree, and Embree started to go after him, until teammates held them back. Zumwalt then received a talking-to by defensive coordinator Joe Tresey.

The dominance of the DL Tuesday could very well be because UCLA's starting tackles were former walk-on Brett Downey and journeyman Connor Bradford. Two-year starting tackle Mike Harris alternated with Downey at the strongside tackle spot some, but mostly worked with the 2s.

With Jeff Baca, Sean Sheller and Kai Maiava all sitting out with various injuries, the already-thin offensive line continued to be snake-bitten with Wade Yandall now out with a concussion.

Anthony Barr got many touches at both tailback and F-Back. He did however have a couple of mishandles.

Kevin Prince did some 1-on-1 and 7-on-7 and generally threw the ball sharply. He hit Shaquelle Evans on a go route on a perfectly-thrown ball down the sideline, with Evans beating Brandon Sermons by a couple of strides.

In the two-minute drill at the end of practice, after Brehaut made his mistake on the read, he did drive the first-string offense down the field to get into field goal position. When Brett Hundley then took over with the 2s, he proceeded to either run or get sacked -- in a two-minute drill. Subsequently, someone from the offensive players on the sideline yelled, "Throw the ball! It's two minutes."

While Nick Crissman is clearly not going to compete for the starting quarterback spot, he has put in solid performances this spring, and showed it again Tuesday. While his throwing motion is a bit awkward, the end result quite often is the ball gets where it's supposed to go. In one red-zone drill, when Crissman found a receiver in a middle seam, Tresey said, "Aw, s*#@!" when Crissman let go of the ball, recognizing that Crissman had exploited Tresey's defense.

In terms of availability for Saturday's Spring Game, the status of Tony Dye is uncertain at this point. Neuheisel said he expected Maiava to get some snaps. Everyone else who's been out will be out.

BRO poster smilingjeffrey provided one of his excellent practice reports from Tuesday.

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