UCLA's Wednesday evening practice was once again in full pads, but there was little live hitting during the practice. In fact, through the first half, UCLA did mostly individual drills and some light team work. The quarterbacks, for example, did a good amount of footwork drills, with Asiantii Woulard getting some special attention as he worked on his dropback.
In the latter half of practice, UCLA did some of the move-the-ball type team scrimmage. During the period, Brett Hundley had one rep where he took a zone read and didn't slide at the end of it (and likely would have taken a big hit had it been a game). At that point, Coach Mora told him quite strongly that he needs to start sliding at the end of the runs, and advised the offensive coaching staff to make sure that Hundley gets the message.
The last chunk of practice was spent on a young players' scrimmage, with mostly underclassmen participating. During the period, Kenny Orjioke and Deon Hollins stood out, as you might expect against an offensive line comprised of Christian Morris, Caleb Benenoch, Scott Quessenberry, Kenny Lacy, and Conor McDermott. Roosevelt Davis had the run of the period, breaking free for what looked like a 65 yard touchdown run during the second to last series.
Asiantii Woulard had a rough night, struggling to deal with a pass rush. He threw a couple of interceptions as well. He'll, quite naturally, take some time to get used to the speed of the college game and Noel Mazzone's offense.
Ellis McCarthy was running with the 1s today at nose tackle, with Seali'I Epenesa manning the spot for the second string. McCarthy looked good inside, holding up blockers and generating a good push on the interior of the first string offensive line. He's such a load inside, and it actually looked like he was flashing a bit of a swim move, which we hadn't seen from him previously. Epenesa also had a good day, drawing loud praise from Angus McClure after one particularly good rep, so this competition seems like it's still pretty close.
Eddie Vanderdoes did not practice in team drills, but once again did the majority of the individual drills with the defensive linemen. He should be fairly close to getting back in. Kylie Fitts also returned to individual work but did not participate in team drills. It was a fairly hot day, and the temperature was still above 100 when practice began, so, likely, UCLA didn't want to rush anyone back.
That being said, Anthony Barr made his return to practice after sitting out the last two, and it looked as if he participated in everything, from individual drills to team work, although not every rep. It didn't appear as if the hamstring was hampering him in any noticeable way.
The first string offensive line remained unchanged, with Carl Hulick spotting Caleb Bennoch on the occasional rep. The defensive line saw Keenan Graham working with the 1s alongside McCarthy and Cassius Marsh, with Brandon Willis back with the 2s. The first string secondary was unchanged from how it's been the last few days, with Ishmael Adams and Fabian Moreau at corner, and Randall Goforth and Anthony Jefferson at safety.
Ka'imi Fairbairn didn't take any kicks Wednesday evening, in either field goal periods or kickoff periods. Sean Covington, though, kicked a number of really good kickoffs that went into the back of the end zone. He has a really big leg. He'll need to add a bit of hang time, but he clearly has the leg for the job. Walkon Mitch Johnson took the field goal reps at the end of practice, and hit pretty well out to about 45, and then tailed off when the field goals got longer.
There's no real clarity with the backup quarterback job, but if we had to make a guess at this point, we'd say that it looks like T.J. Millweard has a good chance to win the job. He was the immediate substitute when Hundley got pulled for not sliding, and he's been getting a good amount of the second string reps. It's really hard to tell, though, with the way UCLA practices with quarterbacks, since they'll alternate second string quarterbacks by the day.
Kenny Orjioke had a pretty good day during team drills, blowing up two consecutive plays with sacks. He was going primarily against Christian Morris, who actually didn't have a bad practice this morning, but faltered a bit in the evening. You can imagine that the heat didn't do anything good for him.
Malcolm Jones sat out practice again after having some concussion-like symptoms. The remainder of the injured remained the same.
Practice tomorrow begins at 10:45, and should be one of the hotter practices of the fall.
Wednesday Night Practice Report
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