After a walkthrough focused on situational drills earlier today, the Bruins spent much of the padded practice going through those same drills at full speed. We saw goal-line drills, 4th and short situations, and a long period of move-the-ball toward the end of practice, where each of the three quarterbacks got a turn moving the ball down the field.
Josh Rosen was almost too efficient in the last two periods of 11-on-11. In his first series, he threw two passes -- one incomplete, and the second a swing pass for a touchdown to Paul Perkins. In his second series, in the next round of 11-on-11 at the end of practice, he threw one pass, a long touchdown to Devin Fuller. In all, he took three total reps during the last two periods of 11-on-11.
Mike Fafaul and Jerry Neuheisel combined for the rest of the reps, and neither had a great day. Rosen wasn't exactly on fire, and he hasn't had a phenomenal San Bernardino so far, but he still was probably the best guy today.
At this point, we're hoping to see the competition narrowed somewhat by the middle of next week. It's hard to envision a realistic scenario (without injury) where Fafaul wins the starting job, yet today, just eye-balling it, he probably got the most reps with the ones during team drills. UCLA obviously had a plan going into camp that they were going to have a pretty even disbursement of reps through the first week, but we have to imagine they'll want to have some more clarity next week before they head home to UCLA.
UCLA started off today with kickoff return, and each of Mossi Johnson, Myles Jack, Jordan Lasley, and Stephen Johnson all took reps. Stephen Johnson was probably the most explosive, but it was fun watching Jack do it. It's always fun to be reminded how uncanny it is that a dude his size can move like that.
Interestingly, Jack didn't take a single rep, that we saw, in 11-on-11 or one-on-ones after looking fine during kickoff drills. Jayon Brown took his place with the first string defense.
Generally speaking, even without Jack, the defense was definitely the dominant side of the ball today. Aside from Rosen's three reps during the last two 11-on-11 periods, the defense made Neuheisel and Fafaul's lives very difficult. UCLA tried a different nickel today with Ishmael Adams still nursing an ankle injury, this time with Jaleel Wadood actually becoming the nickelback rather than Adarius Pickett. That seemed to improve the overall coverage.
In terms of injuries, Adams was still on the sideline, and today he was joined by Darren Andrews and Tevita Halalilo, who appeared to be dealing with some heat-related issues on Friday.
With Wadood moving to nickel, Tahaan Goodman came in with the first team at safety, so it's fair to say he's probably the third safety in the rotation now. He's had a really nice camp, and it has probably helped his standing after he fell into a little bit of a doghouse last year after some blown plays during big moments.
Bolu Olorunfunmi has continued to look good running the ball, but today he had another fumble, which puts him at three or four for the camp. Catching and ball security should probably continue to be his primary focus going forward, but he's been much better than anticipated in terms of quickness and open-field running ability.
UCLA practiced a number of fun things in the red zone today, and it's probably fair to say that the big package with defensive linemen switching to offense is alive and well, and will probably incorporate even more diverse play-calling this season.
Eldridge Massington has quietly had a nice camp, and has become adept at making himself open for jump balls and back-shoulder throws. He has very good body control and does a nice job of being physical without drawing a penalty.
UCLA had referees out today, and there were a good number of flags, most of which appeared to be procedure penalties of some sort or another. There were a few defensive holding calls, particularly on one rep where Denzel Fisher got very physical with Jordan Lasley. As Fisher was celebrating after the play, Lasley just quietly walked by him pointing at the flag on the ground.
Dechaun Holiday has looked good through the last couple of practices. While we still have some concerns about him staying at corner long-term (he's a naturally big dude, who's probably destined to get even bigger) he has shown very good instincts and surprising ability to run with much smaller players. It will really be interesting to see where he ends up.
The one-on-ones between the offensive line and defensive line were a little more even today. Kenneth Clark won one of his first reps of camp off of Jake Brendel, which was good to see. Probably the one hole in Clark's game at this point is pass rush, and it would be great to see him manage a few more tackles for loss this year than he's had previously. In any case, he's a dominant force on the interior, and any pass rush you get out of him is a bonus.
Fred Ulu-Perry looked good during one-on-ones, and actually appeared to be lining up at guard on a few of them, probably in an effort to get him some more level of comfort at that position if he's called upon this year.
Caleb Benenoch had a really nice play during the goal-line period. On a run, Benenoch more or less planted Rick Wade in the ground about three yards off the line. Benenoch has been impressive across the board this camp, and this could be a big year for him.
UCLA commit Breland Brandt was in attendance today.
UCLA will have the day off tomorrow, and then will be back at it again with another two-a-day on Monday with the first practice beginning at 8:30 a.m.
UCLA Saturday Night Practice Report
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