Tuesday's Practice

Tuesday's practice saw more worrisome injuries; the defense looks good despite missing key personnel, and the defensive ends continue to be dominant...

Personnel Update:

It was another tough day in terms of injuries.

Receiver Marcus Everett is still in a sling for his injured shoulder. Head Coach Karl Dorrell said Tuesday that his injury isn't as bad as first suspected, and he could return within "a few weeks."

Quarterback Ben Olson injured his throwing hand, hitting it on a helmet, and he sat out some of practice with it wrapped. UCLA said later this afternoon that x-rays on his hand were negative and that he's day-to-day.

Linebacker Spencer Havner experienced a stinger in his shoulder this morning, and sat out the second half of practice.

Receiver Matt Slater is still in a boot.

Running back Derrick Williams remains suspended from the team indefinitely and there hasn't been any recent word on his status.

Offensive lineman Chris Joseph got up slowly after one rep in practice this morning, then returned to practice, to only then go off the practice field another time. It appeared to be a knee issue.

Defensive tackle Brigham Harwell, who hadn't practiced since tweaking his ankle in the scrimmage Saturday, participated in the first half of practice but then hobbled off and didn't return. With the loss of the other starting defensive tackle, Kevin Brown, Harwell's health becomes tantamount.

Defensive end Kyle Morgan sat out practice.

Freshman defensive tackle Jess Ward is still in a boot and not practicing.

Cornerback Trey Brown also limped off the practice field this morning.

Performance Update:

The team did live scrimmaging for much of this morning's practice, in various game-type situations, with referees, and with full-speed tackling.

Chris Joseph was working with the 1s exclusively before leaving practice – twice – today.

Before he left practice, Brigham Harwell had a few nice moments, on one play stuffing a run for a loss of yardage.

The defensive ends – primarily Justin Hickman and Nikola Dragovic – had good practices. Hickman and Dragovic each got a sack, and Dragovic had a huge hit and stop on running back Chris Markey trying to cut back behind the line of scrimmage.

The defensive tackles were rotating with the 1s and 2s for most of the day.

When Havner went out, it gave his back-up Christian Taylor an opportunity and he made the most of it. He made a couple of nice solo tackles and broke up a pass to Marcedes Lewis in the back of the endzone.

Bruce Davis, who is working as a linebacker and defensive end, looked very quick on one sack, and William Snead had a sack, looking more like the aggressive player from spring.

Aaron Whittington, getting a good amount of time with the 1s at the outside linebacker position, had a very good performance. On one play in coverage he ripped the ball from Lewis and recovered the fumble.

Probably the hit of the day goes to safety Jarrad Page, standing up running back Maurice Drew. His starting counterpart at safety, Dennis Keyes, seems to be benefitting from his time with the 1s, always being around the ballcarrier. He made one great play in pursuit of a running back for a loss.

The back seven on defense generally looked very good pursuing the ball today, and swarm tackling.

Rodney Van made a very nice interception, on a streak, running stride for stride with the receiver. Safety Charlie Shuh also had a pick of a David Koral pass.

On offense, freshman running back Kahlil Bell is looking like he's going to play this season. He had a number of great runs, scored a couple of touchdowns from the one-yard line, and had the run of the day when he looked trapped at the line of scrimmage, but bounced outside to gain about eight.

Maurice Drew had a similar run where, on 3rd-and-one, looked like he was stopped, but bounced out of the scrum in Drew-esque fashion and got the first down.

It was very good that Drew took off some of practice today, since he's tolerated some huge hits in the last several days of practice. It's a wonder he hasn't been injured or suffered a concussion.

Receiving the ball, Marcedes Lewis had a typical day, catching a few touchdowns over out-manned defensive backs.

Junior Taylor had an excellent catch on a quick out, diving for the ball and staying in bounds.

Joe Cowan caught a TD pass at the goal line from Ben Olson.

Andrew Baumgartner, the walk-on receiver who looks like he'll be in the receiver rotation – with Slater and Everett out at least – caught a pass at the ten-yard line and fought off a couple of tackles for a score.

Brandon Breazell dropped a sure touchdown at the two-yard line with no one on him, but redeemed himself later in practice, making a tough catch in traffic.

Ryan Moya caught a pretty pass from David Koral for a touchdown down the middle.

On a swing pass, Jimmy Stephens caught the ball in the flat with no one on him and advanced it up the sideline about 25 yards.

Quarterback Report:

Ben Olson, before he injured his throwing hand, wasn't having a great day, making a couple of poor throws on late decisions.

Drew Olson threw a couple of bad balls late in practice, but early on looked just about as sharp as he has all fall. Every ball in the 7-on-7 was sharp and very accurate. He looks like he's continuing to gain confidence with every drill.

Recruiting:

In attendance at practice was Garrett Green, the quarterback/safety, and Kai Forbath, the kicker, both from Sherman Oaks (Calif.) Notre Dame.


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