The first day of two a days started well, with UCLA maintaining a good practice tempo through the early morning heat. The team actually seemed pretty exuberant, doing some call and response during warmups.
Just to get injuries out of the way, Brett Downey and Jordan Zumwalt left practice again due to the heat, and they were joined by Javon Williams. Darius Bell had a bit of a quad issue, which Coach Mora addresses after practice. Brandon Tuliaupupu sat out with an AC sprain. Jerry Johnson returned to practice after tweaking his groin yesterday, and Ricky Marvray was finally out of his red jersey. Greg Capella returned to practice and didn't seem limited. Randall Goforth was in full pads as well. All other injured or out remained the same.
Anthony Barr continues to have a nice camp, after being limited the last couple of practices with a hand issue. Despite not having practiced much during the spring, he has made a lot of strides at linebacker, looking much more natural both rushing the passer and dropping into coverage.
During punt return periods, Steven Manfro and Jordon James were working on coverage, so Shaquelle Evans, Devin Fuller, and Ahmaad Harris got the lion's share of the reps in the return game. Evans probably has the best hands of the bunch, but Harris has better moves. Fuller seems to still be getting a feel for it.
The first string offensive line included Capella and Alexandru Ceachir at guard and Ben Wysocki continued to man the right tackle slot. They were marginally improved over yesterday, with fewer sacks allowed during team drills. Still, the quarterbacks as a rule didn't have a ton of time to throw.
Brett Hundley had another relatively sub-par day. Today, Richard Brehaut seemed to make strides, hitting a number of nice throws, including one really pretty mid range throw to Jerry Rice Jr. during team drills that hit him just as he made his cut, and another to Kenny Walker on a deep ball. Kevin Prince also had a really nice moment, on the first play of 2 minute drills, hitting Shaquelle Evans perfectly for a deep touchdown throw. The entire offense ran down the field to mob Evans.
Even with Hundley having an off day, he still threw one of the best passes of camp, rolling out to throw a strike to Jerry Johnson streaking down the sideline. But other than that, he just looked a little out of sorts again, throwing an uncharacteristic interception to Tevin McDonald in the end zone during the overtime period, and not hitting guys as perfectly in stride as he was during the first few days. Still, not much cause for concern in terms of the quarterback competition.
Damien Thigpen and James both looked very good running the ball today, with both of them drawing vocal praise for their cuts. Thigpen looks extremely quick, and it doesn't look like there's a guy on the defense who can beat him to the sideline.
Tyler Scott had a pretty good day, catching a couple of contested touchdowns during 7 on 7s. One of the two was a ball thrown into triple coverage where he managed to outleap the defenders to come down with the ball while sprawling on his back.
Anthony Jefferson had another play making day, picking off one pass and registering a sack. Kevin McReynolds also did well today, picking up a couple of sacks. There's a lot of depth in front of him, but he's been very impressive thus far in camp.
Practice ended with field goals, as per usual. This time, the entire team crowded around the kickers and made noise to distract them. Ka'imi Fairbairn again looked pretty good, but still had trouble from deep, missing twice from 51. All of his misses thus far have gone wide right. He has very good leg strength. Justin Moreno is a big upgrade over the usual walkon. He has good leg strength as well, with a bit less accuracy than Fairbairn. He, too, missed from 51, but his first shot at it was probably the closest either of them got, with the ball scooting just outside the left goal post.
The second practice has been moved to 5:30, which should keep the temperature in the manageable high 90's.