The Mique Juarez saga continued Monday as UCLA took the field for the first time in its San Bernardino portion of camp, with head coach Jim Mora saying he had no new updates on the prized freshman linebacker who has missed four consecutive days.
Practice was a lighter one in shells only, with a good share of install and situational drills ahead of Monday afternoon's full pads session. There was some live punting for the first time this camp and true freshman Austin Kent didn't disappoint, booming a few down field of at least 45 yards and with excellent hang time. His integration was a bit comical, though, as he dropped the first snap, forcing special teams coach Scott White to restart the play, but it was smooth sailing from there.
Mora made it a point to praise the offense for the progress it has shown the last few days, specifically in the way it's able to operate without too many bumps. Josh Rosen struggled a bit out of the gate Monday, failing to connect with receivers as his timing was a tad off. But he turned it on later and made some very nice completions in 11-on-11.
Mike Fafaul continued his impressive stretch, making some great throws up the seam and going through his progressions to find open receivers. He threw an absolute laser to Damian Alloway up the middle that was slightly ahead of the freshman receiver, but it's safe to say his arm has looked better than it did in spring. Later in the drive, Fafaul maintained his composure in the pocket to hit Mossi Johnson on a well-timed comeback route.
Devon Modster made a tremendous throw down field to Johnson for a long touchdown completion, hitting the receiver in stride and beating the safety over the top. He's had at least one of those in every practice this camp, it seems, but has also had his share of bumps working with the threes as he was picked off by fellow true freshman Brandon Burton on Monday.
Elsewhere in the offense, Soso Jamabo had a nice run left where he cut back to his right and bursted through a wide lane for a good chunk of yards down the sideline. Eldridge Massington had one of his better days of camp, bouncing back from what had been a rough few days, and made a couple of catches that would have gone for first downs in game situations. Jordan Lasley also had a good showing despite causing position coach Eric Yarber to throw his play sheet in disgust early on when Lasley stopped in the middle of a deep post that Rosen appeared to have dialed up pretty nicely. Lasley had an acrobatic catch in between two defenders and also teamed with Fafaul for another nice gain on a crossing route.
The defense got back one of its most impactful players with the return of Takkarist McKinley, who had sidelined the last couple days with a minor shoulder injury. Deon Hollins, who suffered a head injury Saturday during the fan showcase on campus, was not at practice and Mora said it was precautionary more than anything. Hollins, interestingly enough, has been participating in a UCLA study on concussions.
With Hollins out, redshirt freshman Keisean Lucier-South was in there with the second unit and showed well there, bring pressure on a stunt inside but also using his speed to hurry the quarterback off the edge. Boss Tagaloa also got a look with the twos on the interior.
True freshman Michael Alves, who has been nursing a bruised right knee, also appeared to be affected by the morning heat. The temperature got up to about 94 degrees when the horn sounded at the conclusion of practice.
Theo Howard (hamstring), Paco Perez (knee) and Marcus Moore (back) worked out on stationary bikes off to the side. Colin Samuel left the action after bringing down Audie Omotosho after a catch, appearing to favor his right knee.
Burton, Lokeni Toailoa and Keyon Riley got looks on the punt team.
UCLA returns to the field later this afternoon for its full pads practice.