Without giving away too many details of the scrimmage at the Rose Bowl today (since then I'd have to kill all of you, and UCLA would kill me), there were some notes.
Overall, the scrimmage seemed a little lackluster, possibly stemming from the players, for most of the scrimmage, being held back from tackling. When the offense and defense did scrimmage and were allowed to tackle toward the end of the afternoon session, there was quite a bit more crispness and pop.
Quarterback Cory Paus looked pretty sharp, throwing nice balls and looking like he has command of the offense.
DeShaun Foster didn't see much time, but in the limited time he did he looked exceptional.
Other standouts were receiver Ryan Smith, who had some nice catches; cornerback Ricky Manning, who made a nice tackle for a loss against bruising running back Manuel White; and tight end Bryan Fletcher.
Freshman cornerback Marcus Cassell made a nice tackle for a loss.
Ryan McCann generally looked sharper, and connected with wide receiver Cody Joyce for a 60-yard touchdown. It was mostly Joyce who created the play, catching the ball in the flat and showing some nice acceleration getting down the sideline.
Freshman running back Tyler Ebell broke some runs, one for approximately 50 yards and another for about 25.
Starting defensive backs and concussion buddies, Marques Anderson and Matt Ware, both worked with the starting defense, except during the contact part of the scrimmage.
Fullback Ed Ieremia-Stansbury sprained his ankle Tuesday and spent the afternoon session in a boot. It isn't considered a serious injury.
Sophomore strongside linebacker Brandon Chillar didn't participate in the scrimmage due to his pulled hamstring. UCLA doesn't know when he'll be available.
Freshman cornerback Matt Clark is also suffering from a hamstring pull and didn't participate.
The Depth Chart is Coming! The UCLA coaches will meet tomorrow, Thursday, review film from today's scrimmage, and then release the depth chart on Friday.
Head Coach Bob Toledo comments...
On what the coaches wanted to get out of the scrimmage…
"We tried to look at a great number of people. We tried to put them in a great number of situations. Two-minutedrill, goal line, redzone, a lot of substitution-type things to see how the substitutions work during game situations, and we did a lot of kicking game.
On what stood out to him…
"Well, I hate to say it, but you have to look at the video. Some of the obvious things were pretty good. But when you're holding out DeShaun [Foster] except for one little series and you're doing a lot of sub things trying to get through some drills, it's hard to evaluate. But we'll look at the video and evaluate it."
On how the coaches break down those evaluations…
"Each coach looks at his guys and rates his guys. We also look at the guys on the scout team and the kicking team. See if anybody did something extraordinary. Then we finalize the depth chart. And we'll probably have that for you Friday morning. We'll look at it all tomorrow, but we want to talk to the kids before we tell the media."
On whether he's worried about the defense coming together…
"It's hard when you're running guys in and out. Marques [Anderson] can't hit right now because he has a concussion, and Ware. So it's hard to evaluate those situations. You say, it's bad, or whatever, but you can't really evaluate it in those situations because you don't have all of your best players playing. And you're not doing it live. It's hard. You just hope they're lining up right, they're doing their assignments, their effort level is good and hopefully it will carry over into the game and they'll perform."
On the guys with injuries missing vital time at practice…
"A guy like Matt Ware needs some practice time. Marques needed some time. Anytime you miss practice you fall behind a little bit. [Brandon] Chillar, for example. But you know, they have to get caught up and start doing what they're supposed to do. A guy who has played like Marques is a lot different than a guy like Matt Ware who hasn't been in a big arena with a lot of people yelling at him."
On the feeling of scrimmaging in the Rose Bowl…
"There isn't a lot of emotion when there's no one in the stadium. It's always hard to have emotion in a scrimmage. You go from the kicking game, and then you go scrimmage. You never have emotion in a scrimmage like this. But we bring them here to scrimmage to familiarize them with the arena. There are some guys who have never been here. So it's to get them familiar with the surroundings."
On whether they've allowed less "live" hitting and tackling drills this fall due to potential injury…
"We've had about the same amount. We scrimmaged about three times, and we have some individual things, some inside run drills that were live, but no, we did about the same. Matter of fact, we've done more individual tackling drills than we've done live before.
We really don't have a lot of serious injuries right now, which is nice. We're in good shape right now. This is the last day of full contact. Now we have a chance to get our football team, the guys who are going to play, and start preparing them to play in the game."
On the progress of Mat Ball at strongside linebacker…
"Good. He struggled the first day or so. He didn't know what he was doing. But he's learned, and he's done a nice job. We expect him to continue to progress."
On the back-up quarterback situation…
"Scott McEwan has had more practice time, he's been there longer, in spring ball and fall camp. He finished the Wisconsin game. He had a really good spring practice. He's worked hard. He's done a nice job in fall camp. He deserves to be second right now. [Ryan] McCann's missed quite a bit because of his arm, but he's made a lot of progress this last week, and I'm pleased with his progress. He's staring to understand things better. I think all three of them [Cory Paus, McEwan and McCann] can do a lot more things this year. They have a lot more experience. They understand the offense for the most part. They still make some mistakes, but for the most part they're way ahead of where they were last year. But I feel good that we have three guys I can put in the game right now and keep the game going."