Report on Monday's Practice

Another significant player suffers an injury in Monday's practice, and there are some position changes on both the offensive and defensive lines as a result of Saturday's scrimmage...

Personnel Update:

Defensive tackle Kevin Brown will undergo surgery to have pins placed in his ankle today as a result of an injury sustained in Saturday's scrimmage.

Defensive tackle Brigham Harwell dressed for Monday's practice, but didn't participate. He had precautionary x-rays done and they were negative.

Receiver Matt Slater is still wearing a boot on his leg.

Freshman defensive tackle Jess Ward is also still in a boot.

Running back Derrick Williams remains suspended from the team.

Running back Kahlil Bell returned to practice today.

Receiver Gavin Ketchum was still in a red, no-hit jersey but did participate in many of the team drills this morning.

Marcus Everett, the wide receiver, sustained an injury to his shoulder in a 7-on-7 non-tackling drill today and left practice in a sling.

For more on the injuries and player personnel, watch the video of Karl Dorrell answering questions after this morning's practice.

Performance Report:

With Kevin Brown out, it was anticipated that the UCLA coaching staff would move a player to defensive tackle to compensate. This morning, redshirt freshman Nathaniel Skaggs made the move from defensive end to defensive tackle, a position he had played his freshman year in practice, and it looked like Skaggs immediately moved ahead of true freshman Chase Moline on the depth chart.

So the starters project Kenneth Lombard at nose tackle and Brigham Harwell at the three-techique, with Skaggs being the first off the bench at either of those positions, followed by Moline. That's a redshirt freshman, true sophomore, redshirt freshman and true freshman rounding out the defensive tackle two-deep.

With Harwell out for now, though, Skaggs was generally working with the ones at the three-technique next to Lombard.

Another line move has been made, this time on the other side of the line. Chris Joseph, the redshirt freshman center, worked with the 1s at weakside guard ahead of both senior Robert Cleary and junior Robert Chai. Last week it was known that the UCLA staff was very impressed with Joseph so far this fall, and that he had a chance to move into the starting five. As Dorrell discussed in his video interview, it isn't set that Joseph will start at the weakside guard position, but he got a look at the position during Saturday's scrimmage and this morning.

Rodney Van, the sophomore cornerback who's had a great fall camp, walked off the field a bit dazed after getting popped in a collision with a fellow defensive back in the 7-on-7. He later returned to practice and took reps.

Byron Velega, the redshirt freshman, had been getting some reps with the first team defense this morning even before Van went out. The defensive backs had a good practice overall, with various individuals stepping up on various good plays, among them: safety Dennis Keyes breaking up a pass to Marcedes Lewis; Eric McNeal getting an interception on a tipped pass; and Michael Norris getting a nice break-up on tight coverage on receiver Joe Cowan.

Justin London, the middle linebacker, continued to pop people. Fellow veteran linebacker Spencer Havner is stepping up more every day, this morning being around the ball constantly, and on one play nicely blowing up a screen by slicing through the defense. Both Bruce Davis and Aaron Whittington worked with the 1s at the outside linebacker position, and Davis also played some defensive end. Davis had a sack, rushing from the d-end position.

Back-up middle linebacker Dan Nelson has become more effective recently. He had a very good tackle for loss today on a running play today. Walk-on back-up linebacker Christian Taylor also continues to look solid backing up Havner at the Will linebacker spot.

Perhaps the defensive star of the morning practice was defensive end Justin Hickman, who had a number of sacks, beating offensive tackle Ed Blanton a couple of times to the edge.

Nikola Dragovic looks to be the other starting defensive end, getting most of the reps with the ones on the left side, and he also pressured the quarterbacks well today, getting at least one sack.

On offense ,making his return to practice a significant one was freshman receiver Gavin Ketchum. While still in the red, no-hit jersey, Ketchum looks good catching the ball down the field, running strong routes, being tough physically and having very good hands. He had great concentration on one ball that was deflected, watching it straight into his hands for a nice reception.

Perhaps the best hit of the day goes to receiver Junior Taylor, who popped a safety when blocking downfield on one play.

Brandon Breazell might have had his best day since missing some practices last week, looking more focused catching the ball.

The catch of the day goes to Joe Cowan, who made a great diving grab on a 10-yard out.

Quarterback Watch:

Redshirt freshman Patrick Cowan continues to get back into his spring practice form, looking like his arm is returning to its full strength. He made a number of nice throws today.

Neither Drew Olson nor Ben Olson stood out this morning. Both made a few nice throws, with Ben throwing the ball well down the field and Drew generally making quicker decisions on the shorter routes. Both had a couple of poor throws and poor decisions today, though. In the individual drills, they continue to get crisper and throw stronger, more accurate balls.

Recruiting: Christian Yount, the longsnapper from Los Flores (Calif.) Tesoro, attended practice this morning.

Once again, our illustrious message board poster, Frank Strasser, will provide the report from this afternoon's practice.


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