Saturday Practice Report

UCLA has its first practice on the new Spaulding Field, Brett Hundley has another pretty rough day, and Darius Bell continues to have a nice August...

Saturday's practice marked the first practice of the season in Westwood, and the first on the newly renovated Spaulding Field. The field, which cost $800,000, looks good, and there doesn't appear to be any obvious lumps or thin spots in the artificial turf.

Jacob Seydel, the new offensive tackle, took in his first practice in a Bruin uniform, but did not participate in any team drills. He has to go through the mandated acclimatization process before he can don pads. Physically, he looks about 6'4 or 6'5 and about 280.

Aaron Hester sat out practice with the flu. Dalton Hilliard was also not at practice due to a family issue, but we were told later that he's expected to return for team meetings Saturday night. Simon Goines was back to practicing fully, as were Alexandru Ceachir and Will Oliver. Jeff Baca made an appearance, but was not in uniform. Ian Taubler was back in a red jersey after sitting out the last few practices in San Bernardino. Eric Kendricks and Damien Thigpen practiced fully after being limited in recent practices.

Former offensive lineman Nick Ekbatani, who recently was in a motorcycle crash and had part of his left leg amputated, visited practice and drew cheers from fans.

Since it has already been revealed by another source, we can say that Keenan Graham also did not practice.

In good news, coach Mora said that Ellis McCarthy is close to returning, after having to sit out the first half of fall camp.

Brett Hundley once again didn't look sharp, especially during the last period of 11 on 11. He badly under threw consecutive throws during the drive, with the first being picked by Marcus Rios and the other falling harmlessly to the ground several yards from the intended receiver, Steven Manfro. He was also off on shorter throws, and the ball even seemed to be coming out of his hand a little wobbly. Since being named the starter, he's had a number of tough practices.

Richard Brehaut took the majority of the second string reps and didn't look particularly impressive either. He's been up and down throughout the fall, hitting some good throws and then throwing some pretty inaccurate balls. In fairness to both, none of the quarterbacks looked very good today.

Jordan Zumwalt continues to have a good August. In the first period of 11 on 11, he made a fantastic jump on the snap, hitting Jordon James almost as soon as he got the ball, forcing a fumble.

After a relatively quiet beginning to camp, Steven Manfro has had a good week, capping it off with a pretty electric day at Spaulding. He caught a swing pass during 11 on 11, during a heavy thud period, where he went about 50 yards untouched into the end zone, weaving through several defenders. Along with his other feats of strength, Manfro is quickly becoming a good receiver.

Darius Bell continues to impress, putting a good move on Tevin McDonald during 1 on 1's and then catching a pretty difficult pass toward the sideline.

The starting offensive line was once again Xavier Su'a-Filo, Ben Wysocki, Jacob Brendel, Brett Downey, and Torian White, although Goines worked in at right tackle after White was beaten on consecutive plays. Goines looks like he's going to be a project. He doesn't have great balance and his conditioning is not at the level that it needs to be. He was sucking wind quite a bit during Saturday's practice, and looked a little wobbly on his feet.

Defensively, Seali'i Epenesa once again took the first string nose tackle reps, sandwiched between Cassius Marsh and Datone Jones. At linebacker, Jordan Zumwalt, Damien Holmes, Eric Kendricks, and Anthony Barr appear pretty set as the starters. With Hester out with the flu, Marcus Rios took the first string corner reps, but otherwise the secondary remained Sheldon Price, Andrew Abbott, and Tevin McDonald.

Devin Lucien ran a very pretty route during 1 on 1 drills, putting a stop and go on Anthony Jefferson that left him open by a good 10 yards.

Fabian Moreau looks like he's getting more comfortable at corner. He's still not backpedaling as much as he is side stepping, but he's hanging with receivers a little bit better. He had an interception of Brehaut during team drills, but that was more of a bad throw from Brehaut than anything.

Ka'imi Fairbairn was a little inconsistent during the field goal period. He hooked a 30 yarder wide left, and then did much the same with a 48 yarder. He also successfully hit from 30, 40, and 45, or thereabouts.

Even looking pretty rough all day, Hundley did have a nice throw on the first play of the last period of 11 on 11. Backed up in his own endzone, Hundley uncorked a throw that traveled about 40 yards, hitting Shaquelle Evans over Sheldon Price. Price actually had pretty good coverage on the throw, but it was perfectly placed. Unfortunately, Marsh looked like he might have had a sack on the play, but pulled up at the last minute.

Despite that, the offensive line actually had one of its better days of camp, Prior to getting beaten a couple of times, White was holding his own in pass coverage, and was finally providing some kind of presence on the right side. If Baca can come back soon, there's a chance the line could be serviceable.

Dietrich Riley and Librado Barocio also took in practice.

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