With the lack of depth on both the defensive and offensive lines, along with the secondary, UCLA practiced without pads on Thursday and went a little bit shorter than they have this spring, which Mora attributed to the lack of depth.
The lack of depth on the offensive line is beginning to get a bit debilitating. Today, the guards lined up next to Jake Brendel (some combination of Kody Innes, Ben Wysocki, and Kevin McReynolds) really struggled to contain any pass rush. Kenny Orjioke and Keenan Graham each had a handful of backfield disruptions (whether a sack or a tackle) playing against the second string offensive line. Practicing with their backs against the goal line during one period, UCLA's first string offense gave up at least one safety, and if it had been a live period, probably would have given up one more.
Brett Hundley didn't have a good day throwing the ball, missing high on deeper crossing patterns and really struggling to hit anything to the sideline during the first period of 11 on 11.Even with a poor day throwing the ball, Hundley has clearly shown better decision making this spring than he showed last season. Even during skeleton drills, it's clear that he's very focused on not forcing the ball and is operating with a consistent mental clock. It's anyone's guess how it will translate to games, but that was one of the areas where he needed to make major strides this spring and it seems like he's doing so.
Among the other quarterbacks, T.J. Millweard again had probably the best day. None of the quarterbacks have been helped by the second string offensive line. Carl Hulick, who is taking most of the reps as the second string center, has really struggled snapping the ball all spring, and today was no exception. At least once or twice a practice, he launches a snap right past the quarterback, and it seems almost like they're issue with the snap count rather than his technique, because each time the quarterback seems unprepared.
Cassius Marsh had a good practice, beating Kody Innes for the safety during goal line periods. He's had a very good spring overall. With Brandon Tuliaupupu out, Eli Ankou worked in with the 2's as the second string nose tackle and actually held his own pretty well. We think, given his body and build, that he could end up a full time nose tackle down the road in his career. He handled double and triple teams during practice, although it's hard to tell much with no pads on.
UCLA practiced kickoffs, and it seems they're not particularly close to settling on a returner. Devin Fuller, Kenny Walker, and Jordon James all got reps at the position. It's unheralded, but that's going to be a key spot to develop this season. Without Damien Thigpen toward the end of last year, if you remember, kickoff returns became a complete adventure. Getting someone there who can reliably catch the ball and make a good decision will be very important this fall.
Anthony Barr had another very good practice. During the first period of 11 on 11, he got a first step on Torian White that had him in the backfield before White really even had time to move.
Anthony Jefferson continues to have a great spring, making the breakup of practice during 11 on 11 against Shaquelle Evans, swatting the ball out of his hands just as he was turning up field.
Thursday Practice Report
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