Freshman Morning Practice

Some of the jitters and rust get shaken off by the true freshmen on the second day. Drew Olson continues to impress...

Just a few, quick notes on the Wednesday freshmen morning practice.

-- Drew Olson was impressive Tuesday and it was only his first day of practice. Wednesday morning, in the first of two practices today, he continued to impress. He maybe threw a few bad balls for the entire hour and a half practice, but the rest were quality. He has very good arm strength – not a cannon – but very good. It's probably stronger, right now, than Cory Paus's and definitely stronger than John Sciarra's. He doesn't press to throw any pass. He throws a clean, sharp spiral and has very good accuracy while being very technically sound in his footwork and mechanics. He throws a very good out, able to put enough on it to get it to the sideline with very good accuracy.

While it's only been a day and a half, and any predictions are premature, it's very likely that Olson will be able to compete for the #2 quarterback spot. I haven't seen Sciarra since last spring, but from just two practice sessions in the last two days, it's easy to see that Olson is good enough to compete for the backup spot this season. There is always the mental factor – how quickly he can pick up the offense, etc. – but Olson has a good reputation for being quick on the uptake, so you'd have to say that he has a solid chance of being prepared to compete for the backup spot. I was told, also, that Olson and Matt Moore have been using much of their free time – right up until curfew – helping each other study the playbook.

Moore displayed his strong arm, but it's relatively clear that he's still very raw.

It's very refreshing, though, to see two quarterbacks with some arm strength. Besides Paus, over the last several years, watching UCLA quarterbacks throw at practice has been, at times, like going hunting: You see a lot of ducks in the air.

And what's really encouraging is that it's only the second day of practice. Most quarterbacks in their second day of practice as true freshmen are throwing wobbly, weak balls and looking out of sync. Olson isn't.

It must also be a somewhat sigh of relief for the UCLA coaches, looking like they at least might have one more quarterback that is currently good enough to possibly perform the position.

-- Will Peddie, the walk-on, is working out as a tight end, and looking fairly decent.

-- It was interesting to see how the personnel worked into positions in the seven-on-sevens. Glenn Ohaeri and Joe Garcia were the starting cornerbacks, with Jebiaus Brown working in. Eric McNeal and Jarrad Page started the drill as the safeties. Justin London was manning the middle linebacker position with Kirby Joseph at strongside and Wesley Walker on the weakside. On offense, Olson took snaps first at quarterback, J.D. Groves lined up behind him as the running back, and Idris Moss and Marcedes Lewis took most of the reps as the wideouts. J.J. Hair and Will Peddie were at tight end.

-- Lewis caught a few nice balls, but missed a few, too. He has a chance to be a huge impact player as a true freshman, as I said yesterday. He still needs to refine his pass-catching techniques, and wide receiver coach Ron Caragher is working with him, taking him from the tight end blocking drills a number of times during practice.

-- Page, again, looked impressive, with a combination of very good size and quickness. He looks to be a shoe-in as a guy who has a chance to at least make the two-deep this season and not redshirt. Ohaeri looks to also be a guy who will be good enough to get a chance at some playing time this season.


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