Junior starting middle linebacker Justin London went down with an ankle sprain. Head coach Karl Dorrell said he didn't think it was serious, but it had started to swell. Dorrell said he thought by the look of the swelling it could be a 2-3 week injury. There were no plans for X-rays this evening, but doctors will evaluate it tonight.
Senior middle linebacker Tim Warfield then replaced London and played well. A few plays later, Warfield went down with a hyper-extended and bruised knee. Dorrell didn't believe it was serious but Warfield did not return to practice.
Here's the status of the other injured:
-- J.J. Hair (concussion symptoms) returned to the pads, but wore a red no-hitting shirt.
-- Wide receiver Junior Taylor (bruised hip) did not practice. Dorrell thought he'd possibly practice lightly tomorrow and then participate in the scrimmage Saturday.
-- Offensive guard Eyoseph Efseaff (groin) did not practice.
-- Cornerback Jebiaus Brown (neck) did not practice.
-- Running back Manuel White (concussion symptoms) did not practice.
-- Freshman wide receiver Marcus Everett (concussion syndrome) took off the red, no-hit jersey.
C.J. Niusulu, who had been sitting out because of concussion symptoms, returned to practice.
Maurice Drew, who was in Northern California for a funeral, returned to practice.
Tight end Keith Carter, who alternates practices he participates in, didn't practice this afternoon. He's been getting an increased amount of work but is still being brought along slowly.
Tab Perry, as per NCAA rules, didn't suit up in full pads, but just his helmet, jersey and shorts, and participated in the non-hitting drills.
There were probably four standouts in practice today:
1) Tab Perry was very impressive. He's increased his quickness and looked explosive, especially juking defenders with lightning cuts. He looks better than he ever has since he's been at UCLA.
2) Craig Bragg made probably the two best plays by a receiver in fall camp today. Drew Olson found him over the middle in stride and Bragg found a seam and accelerated pass the defense for what would have been about a 70-yard touchdown. On another, he used his body against his defender on a post route and Olson again found him in stride, and Bragg made a beautiful over-the-shoulder grab.
3) Tailback Maurice Drew had some acrobatic runs that were eye-opening. On one run for the five-yard line he was seemingly buried in a pile, but in pure Drew style, popped out for a touchdown.
4) The defense had probably its best day. The #1 OL couldn't stop the pass rush onslaught, with the defense pseudo-sacking the quarterbacks a number of times and pressuring them into bad decisions repeatedly.
The practice consisted of quite a few scrimmage drills – many 11-on-11 matchups from the offense's own 30, the 50, the defense's 20-yard line and at the five-yard line.
A few highlights:
Marcedes Lewis had a couple of touchdown catches from the redzone drill, one nice over-the-shoulder in the corner of the endzone thrown by Olson.
Lewis would have had another TD pass if Jarrad Page hadn't stripped him of one reception.
We can't relate the details of one of the best plays of the day, for fear of giving away too much to UCLA opponents, but suffice it to say it consisted of a nice roll-out by Olson and Maurice Drew sprinting 30-yards down the field.
Receiver Brandon Breazell is emerging as a potential contributor as a true freshman, and certainly further down the line. He caught a sideline pass and blew by the defense as he accelerated up field to score a touchdown.
Noah Sutherland, the second team defensive tackle, had a nice tackle for a loss on a screen pass against the #1 offense.
Tim Warfield, before he was hurt, made a number of very good plays, and had really been coming on in fall practice. On one running play, he penetrated and smotheedr running back Chris Markey for a loss.
Bruce Davis, the freshman defensive end who is playing with the #1 defense, continued to make good plays. He definitely makes up for his lack of size with quickness.
Ben Emanuel had a couple of sacks on blitzes. There were probably four other sacks on blitzes during the practice.
Cornerback Trey Brown had a couple of identically nice plays, stopping Markey on swing passes in the flat with nice tackles.
A few observations:
Redshirt freshman fullback Michael Pitre is getting a great deal of time in the backfield. In fact, he's getting so much time with the first string he looks to definitely be pushing Pat Norton for the playing time.
Freshman running back Chris Markey has shown good quickness and moves, but also a problem with holding onto the ball.
While the defense might be lacking many key players, it still looks exceptionally quick. When you add Bruce Davis, Justin Hickman and William Snead as defensive ends and C.J. Niusulu as your starting defensive tackle, the defense's overall quickness definitely improves.
Tab Perry, just two days after he was allowed to practice, was working with the first string. In three-receiver sets, it's Perry, Bragg and Cowan, which makes for a pretty lethal receiving trio.
With the front defensive seven already being thin, losing middle linebackers London and Warfield could be devastating. JC transfer Dan Nelson stepped in today, and had a few good moments.