Wednesday Morning Practice

The already-depleted defensive line takes another potential injury hit as the banged-up Bruins have their last heavy scrimmage until game week. The defensive backs have a good day...

Wednesday morning saw the defense generally practice well, despite another hit to the defensive line.

Kevin Brown, the sophomore defensive tackle, didn't participate, having injured his knee Tuesday. He had an MRI this morning and the results could come as early as this afternoon. Head coach Karl Dorrell said, "This happened last afternoon. He had some stiffness and tightness, and complained he was getting a locking mechanism. So the doctor checked him out last night and ordered an MRI this morning."

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Kyle Morgan and Brigham Harwell did more running drills today.

Linebacker Tim Warfield also ran more.

J.J. Hair didn't practice.

Jarrad Page was still in a red, no-hit jersey, as was back-up linebacker Ben Lorier.

Wide receiver Joe Cowan dressed but didn't practice, due still to a groin pull. He's expected back very soon.

Because of a potential lack of depth at defensive tackle, freshman offensive linemen Scott Glicksberg and Nathaniel Skaggs donned blue jerseys for defense. The word is that it isn't necessarily a permanent move, but very well could end up being one. They didn't get any reps in the scrimmages, but worked in the drills.

If Brown is actually out for any period of time, UCLA's depth at the defensive is in critical condition, especially if Kyle Morgan can't return in time for Oklahoma State. UCLA would then be without three starters on its defensive line (Morgan, Brown and Kevin Harbour), and have one who is a bit hobbled in C.J. Niusulu.

In the one-on-one passing drills, the cornerbacks had a good morning. Matt Clark had three good reps of coverage in a row; Matt Cassel tipped a pass that he then intercepted; and freshman Byron Velega had a couple of good coverages.

Tab Perry dropped a few balls in the one-on-ones, but made up for it in the scrimmage drills, making a couple of nice diving catches for touchdowns.

It's probably not coincidental that more NFL scouts have turned up to practice now that Perry can fully participate. The pro scouts were following around Perry and Craig Bragg almost exclusively.

Junior Taylor had a good day, making a couple of nice grabs, especially using the sideline well. On one play in the live drill, he caught the ball, shook away from the defender and was gone for probably an 80-yard TD.

In the scrimmage drills, Olson generally struggled today, but it was probably because the defense was specifically blitzing quite a bit to throw as much possible at the offense. Olson did, though, hit Bragg perfectly in stride on a deep out.

Marcedes Lewis continued to look very tough, especially inside the 20.

The defense, as stated, though, had some big plays. In the blitz scrimmage, the defense sacked the quarterbacks on five of seven plays. Eric McNeal got to the quarterback on a blitz, as did Ben Emanuel and Dan Nelson. Defensive tackle C.J. Niusulu also wrapped up Olson on one rush.

Emanuel also had a great interception on a quick hitch throw by Olson.

Perhaps the play of the day, and the best in recent days, was a huge hit that safety Chris Horton put on running back Chris Markey. Markey did, though, have a big play of his won when he found a hole inside and exploded through it for a 50-yard touchdown.

UCLA announced that all of its true freshmen made it through the NCAA Clearinghouse and are eligible to play, unlike many other Pac-10 programs.

Dorrell's post-practice comments…

"It was a good heavy day today. The defense did some good things. We're still tuning up, and getting ourselves ready. This is our last heavy practice until the beginning of next week. k. We're hoping to get our bodies back, freshen up, and get ourselves ready for next week."

In that drill where the defense got many sacks against the offense, was that a blitz drill?

"It was a blitz drill. I wanted to throw the kitchen sink at them. That's what it was designed for, to test our protections and all the things you normally see. So it ends up being more of a defensive drill than an offensive drill, because you don't usually see that many blitzes in the course of the game and that variety. But we wanted to test our offense to see where they're at, to see how fast they can communicate and pass off blocks. It was encouraging. The defense did a nice job of getting home, and we wanted to see how well we can protect, so it was a good drill."

How about the injured besides Brown?

"We think he's close to being back. He was running around, and doing some change of movements. We think we'll have him by the end of the week, and that will give us the depth we need at middle linebacker. The two guys with the knees were out in pads jogging around the field. They're still at least a few days from being released to practice. But it's good seeing them run around. We're hopeful for them being ready to go by Monday. With Justin London, he's still on a crutch, and he doesn't look very good for this game."

How has Dan Nelson done filling in?

"He's doing good. The thing is with guys filling in, it gives them more reps. He's done a nice job of filling in the shoes there. And when we get Tim back it will be good to have two good solid linebackers in the middle of the defense."

Are you worried about Eyoseph Efseaff?

"He did some light stuff this morning, but nothing significant, unfortunately. He as a groin injury, and we can't tell how long it will take from our eyes. He's the one who has the injury. We're just going to take whatever he can do on a day-to-day basis and hopefully he'll keep improving."

Is there a cut-off point to be able to play?

"Yeah, for all the guys, it's the middle of the week. Same guys with the knees. If we don't think they're full speed, the likelihood of using them in a game, that's a call we'll have to make at that time."


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