UCLA practiced in full pads Friday night after a lighter session earlier in the day, and there were some loud tackles that drew a response from those on the sidelines.
The biggest hit came from safety Adarius Pickett, but it also happened to be a penalty that got Jim Mora pretty irate as he followed the redshirt sophomore off the field. Pickett had reacted well to a ball thrown up the middle in the end zone, but he led with his helmet to level walk-on tight end Giovanni Gentosi and, as he celebrated the pass break up, Mora immediately raised his arms in disgust.
The intensity was certainly higher than it had been during the morning session, which featured several install periods and some lengthy work on situational special teams.
Practice drew the presence of some familiar faces, as Deon Hollins (concussion) was back on the sideline as an observer. Kenny Lacy (knee) dressed, but didn't participate in anything other than individual drills and workouts off to the side. Breland Brandt (groin) returned to action and was not limited.
Another interesting sequence on defense was the move of Dechaun Holiday from safety to outside linebacker, and it went fairly smooth. Holiday has a bigger frame that translates well to the position where he can be more physical near the line of scrimmage and he's also got some good awareness. He raised some eyebrows with a big hit on Bolu Olorunfunmi during pass-rush drills and later covered well during the team portion while working with the second unit.
The best catch probably came from Darren Andrews, who left his feet to beat Pickett in 7-on-7 for a score. Kenny Walker, Ishmael Adams and Damian Alloway all had good rhythm with Josh Rosen in one-on-one battles inside the red zone, putting that first move on a defender to create immediate space and giving Rosen a window to fit the ball into.
Rosen, after looking very sharp during the morning, had another good session, showing confidence in his arm strength and putting throws where only his receivers could grab them.
Offensively, there were some bright spots for the second and third teams. Brandon Stephens and Jalen Starks received a bulk of the carries in 11-on-11 as the top three running backs got a break of sorts from contact. The second-team offense had some good moments running the ball against the first-team defense, in fact. One impressive drive was capped by a back-shoulder touchdown pass from Mike Fafaul to Jordan Lasley, who has emerged as a favorite target for the former walk-on this camp. Position coach Eric Yarber said afterward he asked Lasley for more consistency before camp started and, so far, the redshirt sophomore has delivered, constantly making plays and showing reliable hands in traffic.
After that initial drive, the first-team defense battled back with a three-and-out, led by the strong effort of Isaako Savaiinaea inside.
Another highlight during the team period was a beautiful touchdown catch-and-run from Jordan Wilson, who snagged a ball on an out route from Devon Modster before powering his way past two defenders. The true freshman has really impressed all camp, easing some of the initial concerns at that position.
With Takkarist McKinley (groin) still not seeing the field, Keisean Lucier-South got looks with the ones. He struggled mightily against Conor McDermott in pass-rush battles, unable to put a move on the tall left tackle and failing to gain much ground. McDermott looked refreshed after getting most of the morning off from contact.
Stephens had an electric run during 9-on-7 where he countered left after a gap on the right closed, and broke free for a touchdown that got all of his offensive teammates hyped. Earlier, Sotonye Jamabo had gotten the drill started the right way with a huge run to the right before breaking back to his left and gaining good yardage.
Running back Kahlil Muhammad went down with what looked like a leg injury late in practice and had to be helped off the field.
Junior college offensive tackle Ronald Rudd, a UCLA commit, and Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde three-star wide receiver Bryan Thompson were among the recruits in attendance.