Tuesday Night Practice Report

The squad goes full pads but not live and does mostly game situations for the last public practice. The offensive line remains the glaring issue...

The Tuesday evening practice was in full pads and, like Sunday, simulated a game, but, unlike Sunday, wasn't live.

Easily the most noteworthy from the session was perhaps the most significant "juggling" of the offensive line in quite some time, with true freshman Simon Goines plugging into the starters at right tackle, redshirt freshman Torian White moving to left tackle, and Xavier Su'a-Filo sliding over to left guard. Jake Brendel and Brett Downey were the same at center and right guard. The line, with this personnel, struggled some on the night, with the defensive line finding big holes to penetrate through, not just on pass protection but in run blocking.

The second-string offensive line, which consisted of (from left to right) Conor McDermott, Jacob Seydel, Tre Hale, Alexandru Ceachir and Ben Wysocki, also struggled. It's not hard to see why, with a true freshman considered considerably under-weight, a JC transfer who is in his first few days in the program, a walk-on center, another JC transfer and a redshirt freshman. Hale had a rough night snapping the ball, with some hard-to-handle snaps, including one that sailed over Richard Brehaut's head.

Generally, the practice really emphasized the issue of the UCLA offensive line. Coach Jim Mora talked some about the injured OL and the chance of getting them back in the post-practice video interview.

Starting quarterback Brett Hundley had a decent night, making all the conventional throws and being a little inconsistent on the tougher ones. He did look like he had a little more pop in his arm, muscling one in on a slant over the middle after looking off. He threw an interception to Tevin McDonald on aball tipped by Joseph Fauria, but he also engineered a number of good drives where he executed the basic passes that were needed to keep the chains moving. He finished off a few drives with short touchdown passes, one on a under-thrown fade that Fauria made a play on, and another on a well-thrown ball to Devin Lucien in the corner of the endzone.

Brehaut, again, struggled, as did Kevin Prince and Jerry Neuheisel. Prince threw a pick on a quick out to Randall Goforth who took it for a pick six, and Neuheisel got a pass tipped and picked off by Erick Zumwalt, who got some big congratulation bumps from his teammates.

The running backs and receivers looked fairly good. Steven Manfro started the practice early with a nice run off a catch. Jordon James, for a second practice in a row, showed some of the moves that got him nicknamed Joystick. He had a couple of nice runs, one a draw for a touchdown, where he made some remarkable cut-backs. Malcolm Jones made some good YAC on a screen.

There were some very dynamic plays called tonight by Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone, but we can't share them with you. Suffice it to say the offense utilizes its skill guys in many ways to try to free them up in one-on-one situations.

Even though the offense mounted some drives, it does seem like Coach Jim Mora is slightly enhancing the drives when he chooses the down and distance.

The defense had more good moments on the night than the offense. Defensive end Cassius Marsh had a segment in the practice where he seemed like a permanent fixture in the offensive backfield. Brandon Willis looked very quick pursuing Damien Thippen in the backfield and containing him for tackle for loss. Dalton Hilliard, from the inside linebacker spot, made a number of good plays; on one he burst through the line so quickly on a blitz he was by Goines before he could seemingly get his feet planted.

The secondary had a very good night. In one sequence, the ball was set on the 10-yard line, and the defense shut down the offense on three consecutive pass plays with exceptional coverage. Sheldon Price was tough in coverage, freshman Marcus Rios had a few break-ups, including a strip on a completed pass that might have been incomplete but was played like a fumble.

Eric Kendricks blocked a Ka'imi Fairbairn field goal attempt from 42.

It was the last practice open to the public. What that means, in addition to fans not being able to watch, is that our reporting will become more restricted, according to the new UCLA policy.

Fox Sports Next reporter Annabel Stephan talked to two UCLA freshmen, kicker Ka'imi Fairbairn and defensive back Randall Goforth. Go here for a rundown on those interviews.


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