The big news from Tuesday is that both Eddie Vanderdoes and Eric Kendricks returned to team drills. Kendricks, who had an ankle procedure 4 weeks ago, did not seem hampered by the ankle injury, and seemed to move pretty fluidly. Vanderdoes had a few nice plays with the 2nd and 3rd string defensive line, so it'll be interesting to see how much work he gets later tonight when UCLA goes in full pads (they were in shorts and spider pads this morning).
Simon Goines is still not ready to go, so Kenny Lacy once again worked in with the 1s at left guard, with Xavier Su'a-Filo moving to left tackle. Caleb Benenoch returned to practice after sitting out yesterday with the flu and slotted back in as the right guard. Lacy had a few nice moments in run blocking, but he's not UCLA's ideal option with the first string. Alex Redmond is still sitting out after suffering a concussion in San Bernardino.
The backup quarterback competition is ongoing, with Jerry Neuheisel and Mike Fafaul the primary participants. Neuheisel had one of his better days of the fall, actually, looking good leading the team during 11 on 11, ending his two-minute drive with a touchdown. He has thrown a lot of interceptions this fall, so that's probably something he'll need to work on if UCLA is going to feel comfortable with him as the primary backup to Brett Hundley.
Jordan Zumwalt showed off his athleticism today in pass coverage, picking up Darius Bell and matching him step for step down the field—not that Bell is a burner, but with his body control, few defenders have been able to stay with him so far in camp. Zumwalt has had a nice couple of days of practice, and seems to be practicing with increased focus since the end of San Bernardino.
After Seali'i Epenesa worked primarily with the 1s yesterday, Ellis McCarthy got some reps today, so that battle looks far from over. McCarthy had a couple of nice moments, blasting through Ben Wysocki for a sack during team drills. Wysocki has been back for the last two days and has worked primarily with the second string offensive line.
Brandon Sermons has played mostly cornerback through the first couple of weeks of camp this season, and has had some moments. Over the last two days, actually, it looks as if he's been the third cornerback. We heard reports that he ran the fastest 40 on the team this offseason, and the speed is actually pretty noticeable. He has work to do to become a solid cover guy after spending a year with the safeties.
Brett Hundley had a so-so day, hitting some nice passes downfield but also throwing a pretty ugly interception to Ishmael Adams that seemed to be a misread between Hundley and a receiver. Shaquelle Evans had the catch of the day, reaching over Fabian Moreau for a catch down the sideline in the first team period early in practice.
Sean Covington had one of his best days punting the ball, nailing a pair of 60+ yarders to open the special teams period. He didn't match that distance in his next four punts, but each traveled 40+ yards, which included a pair of 45 yarders and a 50 yarder. Those last four were arguably shanks too, since it looked like he mistimed his drop. He has a big, big leg.
Jake Hall, the walkon quarterback from last year, intended to participate again once school started, but with T.J. Millweard transferring, UCLA brought him in early. He's actually wearing Millweard's old number, and has a funky motion in his own right, so don't get confused if you head out to practice.
Craig Lee had his best moment of camp, taking a carry 50 yards for a touchdown during one of the team periods. He definitely has an extra gear that makes him a bit more of a long touchdown threat than any of UCLA's other running backs. He's probably out of the running for significant playing time this year, but the future is extremely bright there. Paul Perkins also had a few nice plays as both a runner and catching balls out of the backfield. Still, it seems as if the job if Jordon James' to lose at this point.
Priest Willis has had a rough few days of practice, getting toasted repeatedly yesterday and then continuing with that trend today. Thomas Duarte blew right by him in man coverage on one play, and then he struggled to get into correct zone position on the next play. He might be hitting a bit of a wall, after not participating with the team during summer workouts.
Duarte, for his part, had a stellar day, catching everything thrown his way, including three touchdowns during skeleton drills. He has a knack for finding a way to get open, and has really good body control. Between he and Nate Iese, the Y position seems like it'll be in pretty good shape for the next few years.
UCLA finished up practice with some Hail Mary/end of game drills again. During that period, Devin Lucien drew some loud praise from the coaching staff for actually falling down when he had a breakaway after a catch, with the situation being time running out and UCLA having the lead.
We've heard mixed reports on practice tonight, with Mora saying yesterday that it will be at 6, and the sports information staff saying it will be at 7. Since there's nothing wrong with an evening in Westwood, I'd suggest swinging by at 6.
Tuesday Morning Practice Report
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