Monday Morning Practice Report

One of the young cornerback is having a great fall camp, while other young players make their mark in this morning's practice. A recruit who could commit soon also visits...

Personnel Update:

Center Mike McCloskey is still out with an injured shoulder.

Derrick Williams sat out today, reportedly nicked up physically.

Kyle Morgan will be in shells with the rest of the team for this afternoon's practice, and then tomorrow dress in full pads for the first time.

Chris Horton didn't wear the red, no-hit jersey for the first time.

William Snead dressed, but only did running drills.

Running back Chris Markey practiced for the first time.

With two players leaving the team – Alex Ghebreselassie and Jebiaus Brown, two walk-ons were added to the roster and are going through the NCAA 5-day sequence. They are receiver Ryan Chisholm, and defensive back Jonathon Torres.

Check out the comments of Head Coach Karl Dorrell on video after practice.

Performance Update:

The morning's practice consisted of many different seven-on-sevens and 11-on-11s. One was a third-and-three situation, another was a down at the 4-yard line.

It's hard to deny that back-up defensive tackle Kenneth Lombard is an effective player. In the scrimmages today, he had two sacks, using his quickness to get around his blocker. Lombard also was effective in the linemen one-on-ones.

Nikola Dragovic, the sophomore defensive end, is another whose performance is hard to deny. He is a very effective pass rusher, and seems to be improving his run defense, getting out on the edge quickly for containment.

Walk-on Will Peddie, the tight end who converted to defensive end a few days ago, struggles in run defense, but is a pretty good pass rusher, consistently pressuring the quarterback, and will have a better chance at providing depth at defensive end than at tight end.

In the line one-on-ones, freshman Aleksey Lanis looked good, on one rep completely burying his rusher.

Logan Paulsen, the freshman tight end, had some good moments today, catching two posts thrown by Ben Olson for touchdowns. They ran the play, and Paulsen was wide open and Olson put good touch on the ball to hit him. Then a few plays later, they ran it again, and were successful again. Paulsen had another tough catch over the middle in traffic and held on.

Senior wide receiver Junior Taylor continues to be very consistent and solid, catching probably the most balls at every practice besides Marcedes Lewis, who had another very good day.

On a third-and-three, Taylor got behind the defense and Drew Olson put enough under it to get it to him, a completion good for about 25 yards.

Lewis made one diving catch after screening out Jarrad Page on a short pass over the middle.

Chris Markey had a few good moments in his first practice back. At the four-yard line he went up big to jump over the goal line for a score.

Freshman Kahlil Bell put together another good practice, hitting holes and showing good moves.

The offense continues to add new wrinkles every practice. This morning there was a type of play added that hasn't been used at UCLA in sometime.

On the defensive side, defensive tackle Kevin Brown and defensive end Justin Hickman seem to alternate in having a big impact on plays, both being very active and hard to contain when pass rushing.

Nathaniel Skaggs, who could be ahead of Chris Johnson on the depth chart behind Brown, had two successive sacks.

Justin London made himself known at linebacker today – the more reps he gets the more he impacts the game. He had two big hits this morning, one really smacking Bell on a run up the middle.

Bruce Davis' reps were reduced a bit, bringin him back slowly, and Aaron Whittington worked with the 1s for most of the morning. Davis also was wearing #57, and we're unsure if that's a permanent jersey change.

Aaron Whittington stepped up to work with the ones for most of the day.

Fred Holmes and Dan Nelson, the back-up middle linebackers, both had nice plays, standing up the running backs with good hits and tackles.

Freshman middle linebacker Reggie Carter got noticed today. He had a great, well-timed break-up on receiver Andrew Baumgartner, and then another good hit on Baumgartner a few plays later.

The safeties continue to supply some of the biggest hits of practice. Dennis Keyes was popping people, and had a great tackle on Maurice Drew. Keyes is playing a lot of nickel back, which is what he did quite a bit last season.

A player definitely having one of the best camps is sophomore cornerback Rodney Van. He, again, stepped in front of a pass and had a near interception on one play. With Junior Taylor running a post route and having what looked to be a step on Van out of the break, Van made a great recovery to break up the past. Van is very quick, has great acceleration and a great nose for the ball.

Michael Norris, probably the other leading candidate to start at corner, had another good day. But actually, so did Trey Brown, who broke up a couple of passes. It's unprecedented how much praise cornerback coach Gary DeLoach has been giving the cornerbacks this fall.

Quarterback Watch:

Drew Olson got the majority of the reps with the first team, and did okay with them. He was solid, throwing some nice passes, but also was slightly off on a few.

Patrick Cowan probably had his best practice in the last three or four. He was throwing the ball better and quicker. On a roll, he stepped up and threw a rope to tight end Matt Raney for about a 40-yard score.

Ben Olson didn't get many reps in the morning, but looked good with those he had. It's significant that he seems to do better with the 2s when he's running them than the other quarterbacks.

Recruiting Watch:

Andre Crenshaw, the athlete from Lancaster (Calif.) Antelope Valley, told us yesterday he needed to get out to practice soon, and he didn't waste time, getting out to Monday's morning practice. Here's the story we did on his recruitment this morning.

There will be a pinch-hitter writer doing the Monday afternoon practice report -- the illustrious Frank Strasser.


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