It was a really uneventful practice Friday morning, understandably since UCLA intends to have a full scrimmage this evening.
Much of the day was spent on extensive special teams situational drills. The team practiced how to deal with blocked kicks, blocked punts, fake kicks, fake punts, tricky returns, punts out of the endzone, squibs, onside kicks, and other such situations. They also spent some time on end-of-game field goal drills. It was a very instruction-heavy practice without much in the way of notable moments.
If there's a concern on special teams, we'd have to say that the punting situation doesn't look great. Both Matt Mengel and Adam Searl are pretty inconsistent, and if we had to give one of them the edge, it might be Searl. Mengel's punts seem to have consistently less hang time.
Mossi Johnson was with the 1s and kickoff return, and Stephen Johnson was with the 2s. That might be a product of Ishmael Adams still returning from his ankle injury, or perhaps it's some sign that the two Johnsons have supplanted him at kick returner. We'll get a better feel for that heading into the final two weeks before Virginia.
Of note, freshman offensive guard Tevita Halalilo returned to the practice field for the first time since suffering a concussion this time last week. He didn't do a whole lot, and even spent some time in the trainer's tent, but it was good to see him back out in a helmet and shoulder pads. Chris Clark did some work, and then went back into the locker room after about an hour. The rest of the injured, from what we could tell, remained the same.
Matt Dickerson got most of the time at Takkarist McKinley's defensive end spot, with McKinley still out. The two 11-on-11 periods were basically non-contact drills, so there wasn't a ton to glean from them. Both Jerry Neuheisel and Josh Rosen appeared to throw the ball well, but we'll obviously get to see them in more pressured situations tonight at the scrimmage.
UCLA's scrimmage will be tonight at 5:00 p.m. and will be the last really eventful practice of San Bernardino. Tomorrow, the Bruins will practice at 9:00 a.m., but if it's anything like last year, it will mostly be a walkthrough of game situations. Saturday's practice is closed to the media, so we won't have coverage of it.
Brief Friday Morning UCLA Practice Report
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