Particularly thin were the quarterback ranks. Not only was Cory Paus not practicing, but walk-on Scott Schmitz decided to hang it up, having left the team, leaving just freshman John Sciarra as the only quarterback on the field Thursday. Sciarra got so many reps that they should have ordered immediate rotator cuff surgery after practice.
All kidding aside, it's almost surreal that a football program like UCLA, at any time, only has one scholarship quarterback at practice.
Sciarra, after looking tired for a bit, took advantage of his increased reps, generally throwing the ball sharply. He looked particularly good in the 7-on-7 drills, gaining more confidence by the day and looking more decisive.
The defensive backs took a hit this week when promsing walk-on safety Chad Rogers was dismissed from the team. Apparently Rodgers missed two practices last week when he went to Alabama to watch his girlfriend compete in the NCAA gymnastics championships.
Also, Ricky Manning has broken his hand, so he was in street clothes Thursday and won't play Saturday in the scrimmage.
Besides the seniors sitting out, many others also sat out practice because of minor injuries. That gave extra reps to players that don't normally get them. Two of the walk on wide receivers had good days – Garrett Lepisto and Josh Roenicke. Lepisto actually burned Matt Ware on a post pattern, and Roenicke has such a good burst that he's a challenge for the DBs to stick with him. While Lepisto and Roenicke aren't probably going to be big stars anytime soon, they both have a chance to contribute to the team and earn a scholarship. Roenicke, being just a freshman, has a very good chance down the line. Tab Perry is running great routes, look big and strong, but still has the dropsies. Freshman wideout Jacques Lazarus is showing improvement, getting his fundamentals and technique more consistent, while he's still a long way away from contributing.
It was difficult to glean much else from Thursday's practice, without any hitting or seniors. The general feeling is that the team is mentally gearing up for the scrimmage on Saturday.
Attending practice were recruits DL/OL Kevin Brown and OL/DL Chris Owens from Long Beach Poly. Incoming UCLA freshman safety Eric McNeal was there. He knows Brown and was spending some quality recruiting time with him. Their parents were also there and appeared to know each other pretty well.
McNeal spent some time hanging out with the safeties during drills. Standing next to Ware and Jibril Raymo, he looks every bit as tall as the two, but quite a bit thicker.
If you hadn't heard, P.J. Irvin, OL, 6-5, 280, Agoura Hills (Calif.) Agoura, and Freddie Parrish, DB, 6-1, 200, Long Beach (Calif.) Poly attended practice on Wednesday.
Another eye-opening recruit attended practice Thursday. His name's Morgan Rosborough, and he's from Long Beach (Calif.) Jordan. Rosborough is about 6-6, at least, and probably 300+ pounds.
The amazing thing about Rosborough? He's a 14-year-old freshman at Jordan…