Monday Practice Notes

Another key offensive lineman gets injured Monday, while the team has a good practice on both sides of the ball. The two Drews -- Olson and Maurice -- continue to shine...

Starting junior strongside offensive tackle Ed Blanton injured his knee Monday in practice during a field goal protection simulation.. He couldn't walk off the field under his own power.

Head Coach Karl Dorrell said: "The evaluation we just had on the field was that it was another one of those MCL injuries. We'll have to do more tests, obviously. But we're hoping it's just that. We don't think it's anything serious. This is a scary week. You're almost done with spring, and you just want to get through the rest of the week. You still have work to do, but you worry about these types of injuries cropping up. But we're staying on schedule with what we're doing."

On the last play of the scrimmage, a touchdown run by Maurice Drew, Drew got up very slowly. Dorrell said, "Aw, he's just tired of scoring touchdowns. He tweaked his ankle in the scrimmage on Friday. He might be having little lingering effects from that. But he's fine. He's a terrific player, and we need to keep him healthy going into fall."

Tight end J.J. Hair was the recipient of a big hit, which kept him on the ground for quite a while. "He came out to practice with a tight back, and the hit might have re-aggravated it. But it's nothing serious," Dorrell said.

Center Mike McCloskey's condition continues to be of concern. He was thought to have pleurisy, which is an inflammation of the lining of the lung. Pleurisy, though, sometimes is an indication of something else wrong. McCloskey has undergone many tests, and Dorrell said Monday he was in Orange County having more done. "Hopefully we'll find out something tomorrow (Tuesday). It's something internal. We hope it's nothing serious. But we're also concerned. We have to make sure we're doing all the tests necessary."

Overall, it was a good practice, with Drew Olson and Maurice Drew (the Drew Twins?) continuing where they left off in Friday's scrimmage. Olson looked particularly sharp Monday, hitting his receivers with accurate, tight passes. Drew had the best highlights of the day, breaking off a couple of very scintillating touchdown runs, one in particular where he must have broken half a dozen tackles on his way to the endzone. Marcedes Lewis made a very tough catch in traffic during a seven-on-seven drill. Aaron Whittington, the back-up linebacker, had a nice interception, as did cornerback Trey Brown.

In a one-one-one receiver/defensive back drill at the goal line with the quarterbacks, standouts were Craig Bragg and Joe Cowan, with Cowan particularly showing some nice moves in getting open. Back-up cornerback Joe Garcia played physical and tough, which got defensive backs coach Gary DeLoach to remark, "That's what will get you on the field."

Overall on Monday's practice, Dorrell said, "Today's practice was pretty good, considering the scrimmage we had on Friday. We had a lot more two-minute-type things in practice today. We're giving them a lot."

Senior linebacker Ben Lorier is pushing presumed starter, junior Wesley Walker, at the open weakside position. Dorrell said: "He's merited some extra playing time with the #1 defense. He's played very well over the course of the spring. He's shown signs of being able to do his assignments and execute, so he's earned some reps with the #1 defense. With Wesley Walker, you just can't give people positions. You have to earn them. So we want to put a little pressure on Wesley. We'll see how that unfolds."

After reviewing the tape of Friday's scrimmage, Dorrell said he was pleased with what he saw: "I thought the execution was much, much better offensively. Drew Olson played very well. Our running game was coming together. I thought there was some continuity offensively. I think on defense you saw some good young players make some plays. That's what I'm excited about, to see those young players come in and establish themselves and potentially helping us in the fall. We're really young on defense. We have a new starting defensive line, a new linebacker, a new corner trying to win the position, and new safeties trying to get in the mix. But they played well. There were a lot of things they did very well in the scrimmage, and a lot of things that the offense did very well against them. I'm happy it's been a see-saw battle. It's a sign of an offense starting to come around and a defense that's usually ahead of the game. So it's good to see the offense have some success."

Former Bruin All-American linebacker Jerry Robinson attended practice Monday, spending most of his time watching the linebackers work out.

Kenneth Lombard, the incoming defensive lineman, gets the award for the recruit who has had perfect attendance for spring practice this year.

The scrimmage on Saturday will begin at 11:00. The doors will open at 9:00 a.m., however, with the alumni game beginning at 10:00 a.m.

A side note: Former wide receiver Jacques Lazarus, who left the team and school after last season, appeared on the TV dating show, "The Fifth Wheel." The woman he chose on the show he has subsequently married.

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