UCLA had a very light practice on Thursday, going without pads and mostly practicing situational drills. Much of the practice was spent running emergency special teams situations, such as blocked punts, fake punts, fake kicks, and the like.
During one of the team periods, Dietrich Riley made one of his better plays in coverage of the spring, locking up a receiver and then pulling in an interception on an underthrown ball from Jerry Neuheisel. It's a shame that Riley did not get as many reps this spring as he should have because of the shoulder separation, because it would give a better sample to evaluate for the fall.
Neuheisel had a pretty poor day. He just doesn't have much arm strength, and on swing passes and other throws to the sideline, it's really noticeable. Receivers have to wait a beat longer for his throws to arrive, which could be potentially devastating in the middle of a game, where everyone is going full speed. T.J. Millweard hasn't wowed anyone this spring, but, from what we've seen, he'd probably be our backup heading into the fall.
Fabian Moreau, Shaquelle Evans, Devin Lucien, Jordon James, and Paul Perkins all worked out as kickoff returner. If Damien Thigpen can make it back from his ACL injury before the start of the season, we have to guess that he'll be the starter, but we like what we've seen from Moreau at the position as well.
Albert Cid, who has struggled with concussion issues even before the start of his career at UCLA, has decided to retire from football. That leaves the depth chart even more wide open for the fall, with no real incumbent at the right guard spot. Assuming Xavier Su'a-Filo does move back to left guard permanently, it seems very likely that Caleb Benenoch or Alex Redmond will be starting on the opposite side.
During a 4th and 20 period, Brett Hundley hit a nice throw to Logan Sweet that got tipped. Hundley overall had a pretty good day, and was once again wearing the GoPro camera. Hundley didn't have an amazing spring, but, in fairness, he's never really been much of a practice player. It'll be interesting to see him on Saturday in game-like situations.
Coach Mora ended practice by lighting up the team for the first substantial time this spring, yelling at one receiver for lining up incorrectly. He mentioned after practice that he has to do that from time to time, ostensibly to keep the team from getting complacent.
Thursday Practice Report
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