Monday marked the final evening practice of the spring for UCLA as the team gears up for the Spring Game on Saturday. It was, all in all, a pretty good practice, with generally good energy despite the cold night air.
Devin Lucien had the catch of the spring during red zone throws, catching a ball one-handed, left-handed, under-handed behind the back of cornerback Justin Combs. It was almost shocking to watch, since the way he pulled it off made it look so easy. Shaquelle Evans also made a couple of grabs during that period in the end zone, but nothing compared to Lucien's.
Anthony Jefferson had several more nice breakups, both in team drills and individual drills. If the first week of spring practice was marked by the play of Ishmael Adams at corner, to the point where every time there was a pass breakup you'd see Adams in the mix, the last two weeks have been all Jefferson. He's seemingly making strides every practice, and you have to like his potential to make an impact this season, at long last.
Devin Fuller once again looked like the smoothest athlete on the field, taking several reps at quarterback where he looked explosive as a runner. As with Anthony Barr, UCLA is clearly trying to take advantage of Fuller's athletic gifts in several different situations.
Shaquelle Evans and Randall Goforth again got the reps as the punt returner, but it wasn't a particularly revealing period, mostly because the punter position is such a question mark. Philip Ruhl and Kenny Walker both got reps as the punter today, and Ruhl actually didn't kick it too poorly. Obviously, that sentence should indicate exactly how desperate UCLA is for Sean Covington to get to Westwood.
Malcolm Jones had a nice practice, making a few very nice, powerful runs up the middle, and one down the sideline that went for a long gain. Based strictly on practice performance, you could make a case for Jones as the number two back after the spring. It'll be very interesting to see if, and when, he earns back his scholarship, and whether he gets an extra year from the NCAA.
Keenan Graham and Xavier Su'a-Filo had a fun matchup during team drills. Su'a-Filo managed to pancake Graham on one rep, and then on the next two reps where they were matched up against each other, Graham got the best of Su'a-Filo for a pair of sacks. Graham could be an interesting mismatch as a pass-rushing defensive end in this defense, especially when UCLA goes with its nickel package. He's about 250 pounds right now, and his athleticism presents problems for offensive tackles.
Dietrich Riley worked back with the ones at safety, replacing Brandon Sermons, but he still spent the practice in a red, no-contact jersey. Kylie Fitts made his return, briefly, and then re-aggravated his ankle sprain. Coach Mora isn't expecting him to be back for the spring game, although the injury was termed to be minor.
Brett Hundley, wearing a camera on his head, looked very good running the zone read. He's added some of that sprinter weight that Kevin Prince added between his freshman and sophomore years, and it seems to have helped his straight-ahead speed. He actually looked like he was separating from defenders with ease, which wasn't really the case last season. In terms of throwing the ball, it was probably one of his better days of the spring, although he still missed on a few.
Jerry Neuheisel had a pretty rough day, which has pretty much been his story all spring. Where T.J. Millweard has made some big strides in his game from a year ago, Neuheisel seems to have either stagnated or regressed depending on the day. His arm strength is still his biggest issue, but what's worrying is that he has seemingly been less accurate this spring than at the end of last year as well. As it stands, you could make a solid argument for Millweard being the front runner for the backup spot in the fall.
Gardena (Calif.) Serra athletes Dwight Williams, Adoree Jackson, Rasheem Green, and John Houston were all in attendance for the practice. Incoming freshmen Myles Jack and Tyler Foreman also took in practice, in addition to former players Johnathan Franklin, David Allen, Richard Brehaut, and Patrick Cowan.
Monday Practice Report
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