Notes From Scrimmage

UCLA held their final Scrimmage for the Spring on Saturday at Drake Stadium, with several players standing out, former players coming back and incoming recruits dotting the sidelines.

An overcast morning practice wasn't enough to damper the mood at Drake Stadium on Saturday as the Bruins took part in their final Spring Scrimmage with an 85-play run-through.

A small handful of class of 2006 recruits were in attendance including a few we identified: recent commit, West Covina (Calif.) South Hills DE/LB Tobi Umodu, and offensive lineman Charles Owens from Compton (Calif.) College who has yet to sign anywhere. A more complete list is coming soon.

Several of the February signees were at the Spring Scrimmage, including Aaron Ware, Gavin Ketchum, Jess Ward, John Hale, Shawn Oatis, Logan Paulsen, Justin Brown, Reggie Carter, Aleksey Lanis and Chinonso Anyanwu.

And a plethora of former Bruins players were there: two of UCLA's finest receivers Craig Bragg and Danny Farmer, Outland Trophy Winner Kris Farris, Ryan Nece, Matt Ware, Jason Bell, Tab Perry, Manny White and Pete Holland.

In addition, Los Angeles (Calif.) Loyola senior defensive back Trason Bragg said he would be walking on to UCLA. He was recently accepted to UCLA and will be given preferred walk-on status. He was in Ackerman after the scrimmage stocking up on Bruin gear (with some BROs). Bragg was getting recruiting attention from several schools, but never received an offer. UCLA was one of his favorites, and he is walking on as a safety for the Bruins.

Also, defensive tackle Kevin Brown's diagnosis on his right knee is a deep-bone bruise and hyper-extended knee, which will not require surgery but will put him on crutches for 3-to-6 weeks.

Some of the key stats from the Scrimmage:
Offense:
Rushing: Chris Markey, 86 yards and two touchdowns. Derrick Williams, 66 yards and two touchdowns. Maurice Drew 57 yards and a touchdown.
Passing:
David Koral, 8-for-12, 102 yards and 1 touchdown. Pat Cowan, 6-of-12 for 83 yards and 1 touchdown. Ben Olson, 4-for-12 for 47 yards. Receiving:
Marcus Everett, 4 catches for 92 yards and 1 touchdown. Brandon Breazell, 3 catches for 79 yards and 1 touchdown. Marcedes Lewis 2 catches for 12 yards. Matt Slater, 2 catches for 19 yards. Mo Drew, 2 catches for 12 yards.

Defense:
Justin Hickman, 4 sacks. Marcus Cassel, 37-yard interception for a touchdown.

Here are some comments from head coach Karl Dorrell after practice.

On the defense's performance on Saturday:
The defense did a great job at the beginning, setting the tone of the scrimmage and its good to see a dominant defense have those kind of plays at the beginning, which made it really, really tough for our offense to get any continuity or anything going for more than half the scrimmage. How the scrimmage ended with our lack of depth and our inexperience, they kind of wore down and our offense had some more success down the stretch.

On his feelings on Spring Practice:
It's been a good competitive spring. We're very happy about the progress with everyone in the positions that are competing. We see some tackling going on out there, we see some guys out there making plays, particularly the young secondary. We're really happy with the progress that group has made. Our defensive line has looked pretty good, they've pressured the quarterback pretty well. We had a tough time blocking those guys. We knew with their experience, going into this season, that would be one of our strengths. Our linebackers are really thin. We have some guys, you have to give them kudos. They've taken a lot of reps, with hardly any depth, and in some cases, today played 70 snaps. Those guys hung right in there.

On the offense's performance on Saturday:
We have some work to do still with continuity. We had some good performances in spurts and certain points during the scrimmage, just not a lot of consistency early. There is no doubt there is a lot of talent to work with and I'm really happy with what we have to work with. We have a good group of quarterbacks that are going to get better over the course between now and August and some good young receivers who are solid, good tight ends. On the offensive line, we have to get some of our depth back with some of the guys who had some surgeries in the postseason, they will put is in better position. I'm very pleased with how things have worked out, and guys competing. We'll just get better each step of the way.

On the difficulty evaluating the offensive line with the lack of depth:
You're missing two or three of your top seven offensive linemen, and they're not in there, but you're giving some guys more experience with those guys being injured. With Chris Joseph, Robert Chai and Shannon Tevaga, those guys are all players for us last year, who missed playing in the spring, and those guys are going to be a major part of what we are offensively in the fall. But its given guys like Micah Reed, Aaron Meyer and Tony Lee a lot of snaps, and Noah Sutherland, who was a converted defensive linemen and switched before practice, a lot of them are learning. So I'm very excited that the future of that position is going to be very strong, and we have to work on some things, but I think it's going to be solid when its all said and done.

On the linebackers this Spring:
The biggest surprise has been Bruce Davis. He's done a great job playing Sam linebacker, and he loves it and feels at home playing it, and it looks like that is going to be a spot for him and for us in the fall. We had a bunch of walk-ons, who to their credit, did a good job of keeping the pace with what we do defensively.

On the quarterback situation:
We're better in depth than where we were a year ago or even in my first year. I know everyone asks the "Ben Olson" question, Ben's well ahead of schedule of where we were with any first year quarterback in this offense, if that gives anyone a better feeling about how fast he's come along, well, he's done that. And he looked good today, he did a nice job with some of the opportunities he had. And Pat Cowan is continuing to impress and has done a nice job and David Koral, who was our backup last year, had a good spring and made a couple of nice throws. We have the depth now, and really the talent to be solid at the position and with Drew (Olson) coming back. We're counting on Drew to be back and ready to go, until proven otherwise, so we feel really good about that position. We're not going to determine, though, after 13 days of practice, who would be the starter if we had to play next week. That's not something we're thinking about right now.

On how to list the quarterback depth chart:
Alphabetically.


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