Jayon Brown

The Same Receivers Continue to Stand Out Thursday

Aug. 18 -- Thursday's long and hot practice in San Bernardino had the same receivers who had been standing out do so again, while the team did mostly game-like situations in no pads...

Jim Mora said that starting left guard Kenny Lacy had an MRI on his knee after suffering an injury Wednesday, but it it was negative and they expect him to return to San Bernardino.

Defensive lineman Jacob Tuioti-Mariner has appendicitis, and doctors are deciding what's the best recourse for him.

Receiver Alex Van Dyke sat out most of team drills.

Defensive end Takkarist McKinley had a groin pull and sat out about half of practice. 

It was long, hot practice at 3:00 in the afternoon, so there were some heat casualties, too. It appeared that freshman linebacker Breland Brandtand freshman safety Brandon Burton had some heat-related issues and spent some time in the trainers' tent. 

The team was in no pads and shorts, and did about an hour and a half worth of move-the-ball, which is 11-on-11 in game situations.  Most of the practice was Mora calling out where the ball should be marked and the down and distance. 

Josh Rosen

Quarterback Josh Rosen was inconsistent, at times looking like he was getting a rhythm and moving the offense down the field, but then throwing a bad ball behind a wide-open receiver.  He still held the ball a long time on many snaps. 

Second-string quarterback Mike Fafaul was more efficient, but it wasn't a great day for offensive efficiency overall.  

It feels like the offense is going through a bit of a transition, between so much installation and getting in a groove. 

The same receivers continue to separate themselves -- Ishmael AdamsDarren Andrews and Nate Iese.   Adams made a variety of catches, the bread-and-butter short ones but then had a couple of really impressive catches on deep balls, one where he looked over his opposite shoulder and juggled the ball before bringing it in. Austin Roberts also had a good day, being a regular target, especially on crossing routes. There's a feeling that if Roberts can show he can hold onto the ball the quarterbacks will look for him because he has a knack for getting open.  Kenny Walker started off practice like he did Wednesday, catching a deep ball from Rosen, but with this one he had to get up for it and snag it over a couple of defenders.  

I think this is actually the year when Iese does actually become a fixture of the UCLA offense.  He's, right now, UCLA's go-to receiver, looking very dependable on short outs and undernearth routes.  

It could be just that we're reading into it, but Rosen seems to do better when he has a combination of Adams, Andrews and Iese in the pattern. 

Mossi Johnson had another up-and-down session. There are moments when he looks like one of the best receivers on the team, easily getting open, and other times when he still looks raw and fights the ball. 

Receiver Darren Andrews with the YAC

Besides Iese, the tight ends have, as a group, been impressive. Caleb Wilson again had a solid showing, and Jordan Wilson got more balls thrown his way working with the 3s and made the most of them. Walk-on Giovanni Gentosi is consistently making plays and it appears like he's the second-string F-type behind Roberts.  In one-on-ones, Gentosi made a double move that actually was one of very few reps in which we saw anyone beat safety Adarius Pickett

A big moment was in one-on-ones in the redzone when freshman receiver Theo Howard was specifically matched up against Fabian Moreau to end the period, and Moreau had to hold Howard a bit to keep him in front of him. Howard was running in 11s mostly with the 3s, and even in on-on-ones he doesn't generally match up against Moreau, so it was a big moment. Moreau did cover him well, despite the holding, and he gave the young receiver some encouraging words after the reps. 

The running backs looked strong, as if the heat wasn't bothering them at all -- perhaps because such a deep rotation is being used in practice. The #1 running back Sotonye Jamabo looked stronger as the hot practice went on.  He is particularly comfortable catching the ball on little dump-offs.  

With McKinley and Tuioti-Mariner out, Keisean Lucier-South got a good amount of time with the ones, and looked a little overwhelmed.  He doesn't have the strength yet to physically challenge a blocker and he just hasn't shown the same type of consistent explosion off the ball like he did in spring.  

Defensive tackle Eli Ankou made a couple of nice plays, including a virtual sack on Rosen, even though it was more of a coverage sack, with Rosen holding the ball a long time. 

Among the linebackers, Jayon Brown made a series of nice plays, against both the run and the pass, and middle linebacker Kenny Young again had a few good moments stringing out runs and making tackles.  

Again, back-up safety Pickett stood out, with a number of break-ups and a near-pick. He drew Andrews in the one-on-ones a few times and it was the best we had seen Andrews covered all fall camp.   Freshman safety Brandon Burton continued to distinguish himself with a few nice break-ups, including probably the only time Thursday that Iese was shut down.  Tahaan Goodman put a pretty good pop on Jamabo when he stood him up in the backfield on a run.  The DBs on a whole had another good day.  Moreau, of course, is probably the best DB on the team.  

Punter Austin Kent looks consistent -- hitting about five punts in the punt return drill all between 40-45, with good hangtime.  Kicker J.J. Molson hit from 20, 29, 35 and 41 and then missed from 47.  Fafaul is the first-string holder.

Paco Perez (knee) and Marcus Moore (back) are on the sideline with the conditioning crew. 

Mora said defensive end Deon Hollins and fullback Cameron Griffin, both of whom suffered concussive symptoms, are close to returning. 

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