Friday Night Practice Report

UCLA's Friday night practice saw the return of Eddie Vanderdoes in a big way and a nice practice from quarterback Brett Hundley, who took a few shots at the drone...

Friday night's practice was Eddie Vanderdoes' first real full practice since arriving in San Bernardino, and he didn't disappoint. Running mostly with the 2s and 3s, Vanderdoes commanded double teams on nearly every rep, and generated push each time. He had one nice sack during team drills where he split a double team by Caleb Benenoch and Torian White for a sack, and made it look pretty easy. He looked a little winded after so much playing time, which is understandable since he hasn't been doing much in team drills, but even unconditioned, he looked pretty good.

Eric Kendricks also did more today, working with the team in individual drills and during 7 on 7. He hasn't participated in 11 on 11 yet, but he looked pretty mobile during 7 on 7, so it's likely only a matter of time before he's a full participant in practice again.

Ellis McCarthy went down with what appeared to be a sprained ankle during team drills. After he had it wrapped, he looked OK, but we'll learn the severity from Coach Mora tomorrow when we speak with him after practice. Aaron Porter and Scott Quessenberry also went down with injuries, and Eldridge Massington did not practice.

Eddie Vanderdoes.
Simon Goines sat out practice again, and with the big tackle absent, UCLA went primarily to the lineup it used earlier today, with Torian White at right tackle, Caleb Benenoch at right guard, Jake Brendel at center, Kenny Lacy at left guard, and Xavier Su'a-Filo at left tackle. They did add an interesting wrinkle, though, in the last period of team drills, when White slid to left tackle, Su'a-Filo went back to left guard, Benenoch slid out to right tackle, and Carl Hulick filled in at right guard. We still think Conor McDermott could use a look at right tackle in the event of a major injury to a starting tackle, but anything that keeps Su'a-Filo inside will help the running game.

Ellis McCarthy got a lot of work with the 1s before injuring his ankle, and looked good, earning double teams in his own right. After the injury, Seali'i Epenesa filled in. Keenan Graham continues to work with the 1s in some nickel and some base defense packages, and he still looks good enough to earn some real playing time this year.

Cassius Marsh, though, has been the story of the defensive line this camp. As with last year, when Datone Jones looked very good in camp, Marsh has made a huge impact every time he's been on the field. He looks quicker than a year ago, and he's been a disruptive force in the backfield, being a difficult cover even for Su'a-Filo. He's had at least one sack in each of the last four or five practices.

Myles Jack had an interception during 1 on 1 drills where he kept up with the receiver and made a nice pick on an underthrown ball. He did struggle to defend Devin Fuller on a deep bomb during 7 on 7, but that's not really an easy cover for a 230 pound linebacker. Jack is clearly one of the better athletes on the team already.

Fuller had another drop during 1 on 1s, but otherwise had a pretty flawless day, catching two deep touchdown passes and getting open on a variety of shorter routes during both team drills and 1 on 1s. It's actually difficult to pick a most impressive receiver from camp so far, since he, Devin Lucien, and Jordan Payton have all had pretty good moments.

Payton had a really nice catch during team drills, snagging a deep bomb from Brett Hundley down the sideline for a touchdown. He also had a really nice block on a swing pass during a later drill that sprung Paul Perkins for a nice gain.

In terms of the running back competition, it seems that we've narrowed down to Jordon James, Paul Perkins, and Steven Manfro, and right now it looks like James might have the edge in reps. Running backs coach Steve Broussard said after practice that each brings a different skillset to the table, and he has no timetable for naming a starter.

Fabian Moreau had the defensive play of the day, picking off Brett Hundley's first pass of team drills for what would have likely been a pick-six. It's really uncanny how good his instincts are, again, given that he never played defense prior to last year.

Aside from that initial interception, Hundley had a good day, nailing a few deep passes and looking sharp on his shorter throws. He seems like a guy who's eager to get the season started—during warmups, he was attempting to hit the drone with passes from about 50 yards away, and got damn close. Coaches Mora and Mazzone seemed to be egging him on.

UCLA ended practice with field goals, and it was a bit of a hit or miss period for Ka'imi Fairbairn. The sophomore kicker nailed each of his kicks up to 40, but then missed from about 42, about 48, and then missed one badly from 52 before nailing the last attempt. Overall, he was 5 of 8 in the period.

During kickoff drills at the beginning of practice, Sean Covington's lone kick was a beauty that went into the back of the endzone, and Fairbairn's didn't have much hang time. We suspect that UCLA will opt for Covington to keep more from piling up on Fairbairn's plate.

Practice tomorrow is at 10:30 AM, and it'll be immediately followed by a Meet the Bruins autograph session at 12:00.

Bruin Report Online Top Stories