Andre James (Blair Angulo)

UCLA Spring Practice Report: Day 6

Apr. 13 -- UCLA's offense again had some promising moments Thursday, but the defense still looks a few steps ahead and the team suffered its first injury blow of the spring...

The UCLA offense didn't quite click like it had Wednesday morning when it had perhaps its best showing of the spring, but it again appeared to take some strides during team periods.

Josh Rosen made a few on-the-money throws to Darren Andrews, the most reliable target of the day, that went for nice gains. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch told reporters afterward that he likes how the unit has looked the last couple practices and the difference is certainly noticeable. The one interesting moment came about midway through the three-hour practice when Fisch told Rosen to get back into the huddle after not liking what he had seen or heard from the junior quarterback.

Another development that caught our attention was Eldridge Massington seemingly taking all the first-team reps, replacing Theo Howard to line up alongside Andrews and Jordan Lasley. Massington has had some success out wide and we've heard he was one of the hardest workers this offseason trying to bounce back after a woeful 2016.

Bolu Olorunfunmi took a majority of the first-team reps and, per usual, ran with assertiveness. There was one play, in fact, in which Olorunfunmi bursted through the middle and lowered his shoulder, winning a battle against Dechaun Holiday that sent Holiday to the trainers' tent. Holiday spent the remainder of practice there, with Breland Brandt taking his place with the first-team defense, and the former safety left the field with his right arm in a sling.

Dechaun Holiday (Blair Angulo)

While the run game experienced some good moments, the backup quarterbacks really struggled to generate rhythm through the air. Darnay Holmes jumped a Devon Modster pass intended for Adewale Omotosho to grab his first interception during 11-on-11. The timing there was way off, with Modster seeing the window far too late, but also not anticipating that Holmes could get to the spot.

Mossi Johnson, now taking full-time reps on the defensive side of the ball, had two interceptions against Matt Lynch. The second one was truly remarkable, with Johnson breaking from his safety spot to help the corner over the top and making a diving catch from a deflected pass. Denzel Fisher, who has seen a huge bump in playing time since Johnny Johnson left the program last week, had a very nice practice that included a handful of break ups. His confidence is on another level this spring.

Speaking of confidence, we're seeing a little bit more from Mique Juarez this week. During the LB vs RB/TE pass-blocking drills, Juarez dropped a rep to walk-on tight end Alex Rassool. But Juarez immediately gesture over, asked for a rematch and won his next rep. That led to a best-of-three battle that Juarez took as well, which drew a reaction from the linebacker group.

QUICK HITS

• For the third straight practice, tight end Austin Roberts (undisclosed injury) again worked out with trainers off to the side...

• True freshman defensive end Jaelan Phillips continued to get first-team reps with the nickel package. He beat Kenny Lacy on one play to easily record a phantom sack on Rosen before the quarterback even had a chance to look down field...

• J.J. Molson hit all three of his field goals, while walk-ons Andrew Strauch and Crawford Pierson each made two of their three attempts...

• Tuli Letuligasenoa, the four-star defensive tackle from Concord (Calif.) De La Salle, attended practice and spent a good while catching up with Boss Tagaloa and Devin Asiasi afterward...

• Four-star wide receiver Chase Cota of Medford (Ore.) South Medford was the other notable recruit at practice. He landed an offer from UCLA last month...

• Incoming freshmen Rahyme Johnson, Martin Andrus and Morrell Osling were in attendance...


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