Thursday Practice Report

Apr. 23 -- UCLA finished its Spaulding practices for the spring with a nice, efficient practice...

UCLA held its final Spaulding practice of the spring on Thursday, in advance of Saturday's practice at the Rose Bowl. Once again, the Bruins were without full pads, but it was still a pretty spirited practice, with plenty of team reps involving each of the quarterbacks.

Of the quarterbacks today, Josh Rosen and Asiantii Woulard were probably the best. Rosen got the majority of the 11-on-11 reps to end the day, and looked efficient when he had the opportunity to throw. Despite it being a padless practice, UCLA worked on its running game quite a bit, so there weren't all that many opportunities to evaluate the quarterbacks throwing. Woulard had the throw of practice, a bomb to Kenny Walker over the top of the defense to start off a series of 11-on-11. Both Woulard and Rosen looked good during their team reps, and given the way they've combined to look this spring, we'd like to see those two get the majority of the reps during fall camp.

Rosen was actually trying to attack Fabian Moreau during his last round of 11-on-11 drills, and it didn't work out too well, with Moreau basically blanketing each receiver he went up against. Rosen also had an excellent throw to Nate Iese that was broken up by great coverage from Ishmael Adams down the left sideline. Adams has had a bit of a rough spring, but he rebounded today during 11-on-11.

Craig Lee and Josh Rosen
The kickoff returners were once again Ishmael Adams and Myles Jack, so that appears to be a little more than just Jack goofing around. He looked good at returner, though there'd obviously be some concern with having your starting inside linebacker taking kickoff returners. He's such a phenomenal athlete that you can play him in multiple spots, and returner seems like it's another one.

Jack was once again really impressive in coverage during one-on-ones. With Mossi Johnson continuing to sit out with some nagging issues, Jack took the opportunity to line up against Nate Iese during basically every one-on-one rep. Jack took two of the three reps from Iese, but the one he missed was pretty spectacular, with Iese beating Jack off the line, Jack recovering, and then the quarterback lofting the ball just over Jack's outstretched arms to land perfectly in Iese's hands. The other two reps, Jack was able to stay with Iese perfectly. It's freaky that a dude that big is able to cover a guy like Iese and a guy like Johnson equally well.

Randall Goforth was a standout during the one-on-one portion as well. He made a great, instinctual play on the first set of reps where he stepped in front of an out route just as the ball was being thrown and snagged an interception. He's had a very impressive spring for a guy still coming off of a shoulder injury, and if we had to guess, he's going to have a pretty big year.

Fabian Moreau has also had a nice spring, even if it hasn't been quite as spectacular as last year. Moreau has been especially good over the last week and a half or so, flashing some of that crazy cover ability that we all saw last spring that made us think he was set up for a big year. Obviously, that didn't happen, so we have a little trepidation about hyping him up this year, but it's been a nice spring.

Jayon Brown also had a really impressive rep during one-on-ones, covering Roosevelt Davis, who has good quickness, so well out of the backfield that he was got to the ball at much the same time and was able to rip it out of Davis' hands. Even if Brown doesn't start, he'll still have a substantial role as a coverage linebacker, given his play this spring.

Poasi Moala got some work with the first string at right guard today, in place of Alex Redmond. It was an interesting move. Redmond has probably had the worst spring of the first string linemen, but Moala hasn't exactly lit the world on fire on the second string. It was hard to take too much from the move because the team wasn't in pads, and it's always hard to judge the linemen when they're not wearing full pads.

Caleb Benenoch took some one-on-one reps during practice, and he looks like he's starting to get healthy. Watching him move, we'd have to handicap that right tackle race in his favor. He's a much better athlete than Simon Goines, and he was moving his feet really well today, looking almost like the version of Benenoch we saw last spring, when he looked like he had a real chance to be a good left tackle. Assuming he continues to get healthier and is ready to go this season, we imagine he'll start at right tackle.

It wasn't Goines' best day. Takkarist McKinley got him for a sack on one of the early 11-on-11 plays, and he just looked a little slow-fotted. Interestingly, he's been doing a ton of team work, but doesn't work out much in one-on-ones. Conversely, Benenoch hasn't been cleared for team work, but has been in on most of the one-on-one drills over the last couple of weeks.

Craig Lee had the best run of practice, taking a little outside zone for a long gain down the right sideline, outrunning the entire defense. It's a tough call, what to do with Lee. On one hand, he's among the fastest players on the team, and when he hits a hole, has the potential basically every time to take the run all the way to the end zone. On the other hand, he doesn't have great vision at the line of scrimmage, so he misses holes with some regularity, and then there are the issues with pass protection that we've gone over. We'd still love to see him find a role this year, but we get the conundrum.

UCLA will have one more practice this spring, Saturday at 10:00 A.M. at the Rose Bowl.

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