Defense Gets Best of Offense

The UCLA football team went at it in a prolonged controlled scrimmage at practice Tuesday. Despite a few good offensive plays, the defense clearly dominated play. There was one scare of an injury, and many players sat out...

Kevin Harbour, the sophomore who is a leading candidate to start at one defensive end position, injured his knee in the final 11-on-11 scrimmage of today's practice. He had to be carried off the field after he couldn't walk on his own.

Head Coach Karl Dorrell said, after preliminary tests, the doctors didn't think it was serious. "We think it's just a hyper-extension," Dorrell said. "That's what we're hoping it is. From the tests the trainers did on him, that's the scenario. There will of course be more testing on it to make sure that's the case. He won't miss the rest of spring."

Ed Blanton didn't participate in practice due to personal matters.

The wide receiver group is now pretty decimated. Junior Taylor is out for spring practice, recovering from a hernia operation; Joe Cowan, who had stepped into the open starting position left vacant by Taylor, is out with a groin injury; Antwuan Smith, the sophomore receiver, sat out practice with migraines, and Alex Ghebreselassie missed practiced for an unspecificed reason. This left just three scholarship wide receivers available in Craig Bragg, Idris Moss and Matt Slater.

Joe Tomasello, the longsnapper/fullback was absent from practice today for unspecified reasons.

With all of these players absent or hurt, there was a perceivable lack of bodies at practice Tuesday.

In the 11-on-11 controlled scrimmage, the defense relatively dominated the offense. The offensive line still looks to be struggling to protect the quarterback and open holes, but you have to concede that it's missing Blanton and Mike McCloskey, who was still sitting out. Drew Olson did hit a walk-on receiver on a post down the sideline to highlight the offensive accomplishments for the scrimmage. Maurice Drew had a couple of nice runs, staying on his feet after multiple hits. The word is that, at pro timing day, when pro scouts came to UCLA to test players, Drew ran a 4.38 40, on a usually very slow Spaulding Field.

The definite highlights of the scrimmage were defensive plays, in fact, two turned in by redshirt freshman cornerback Trey Brown, who intercepted a pass for a touchdown and recover a fumble for another. Kevin Brown, the sophomore defensive tackle, made a number of tackles, a few in succession. The defensive frontline generally was putting good pressure on the quarterbacks, pushing back and throwing off their blockers fairly easily. Kyle Morgan intercepted another pass.

Quarterback David Koral might actually make a decent safety. After throwing a pick to linebacker Tim Warfield, Koral stood up Warfield with a tackle. A few players later, Koral threw another pick, the one to Brown, and laid another big hit on Brown as he was crossing into the endzone. While you don't like a quarterback throwing interceptions, it was a very good sign that Koral is so competitive.

The committed recruits in attendance included Brigham Harwell, Shannon Tevaga, and Kennth Lombard. Among those being recruited in the 2005 class in attendance were fullback George Hypolite from Loyola.

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