Practice News & Notes

The team prepares for its road trip to Oklahoma State, the offensive line gets praise from the head coach, special teams get more work, and the health report of the team overall looks good...

Marcus Reese practiced Wednesday and said that his sprained ankle felt fine. When asked if Reese was cleared for the game, Head Coach Bob Toledo said, "Yeah. He should be allright."

The team continued to dedicate a little more time to special teams, specifically having the returners catch more punts and kickoffs while the rest of the team ran windsprints at the end of practice. Toledo acknowledged that they've given special teams a little more time this week. "We're catching a few more kicks, yeah. We've put a lot of time and effort into special teams. But when you line up and everyone blocks a guy and the returner drops a ball it makes the whole team look bad. We just need some guys to perform a little better on those special teams. They're the right guys, they just have to do it better."

Wednesday in practice two punts and one field goal attempt were blocked.

Fullback Pat Norton practiced Wednesday, coming off a sprained ankle that kept him out of the Colorado State game. He is reportedly better and will make the trip to Oklahoma State but it's uncertain whether he'll play.

Walkon wide receiver Josh Roenicke portrayed Rashaun Woods on the scout team this week. UCLA prepared its defense for the how Oklahoma State attempts to isolate Woods to get him single coverage. Coach Toledo said they've spent a good amount of time preparing for Woods. "He's an outstanding receiver. He's a big, fast guy and he's third in the nation. Ricky Manning is going to be matched up with him most of the time. And it's a great matchup. Without giving the game plan away, it's going to be a very competitive situation with two great All-American football players matched up. That's what you play for. See who wins the battles."

Coach Toledo has mentioned that the generally accepted opinion is that teams improve the most between their first and second games of the season. When considering that and the CSU game, and the upcoming Oklahoma State game, Toledo said, " Well, it was our first game, and I really didn't know what to expect. I hate to keep saying it's a young team, but we have a lot of young football players. I didn't know how they were going to perform. The kicking game, they didn't perform well. The passing game, we have to get better at it. So, it's just a matter of trying to improve in those areas that we were deficient at."

When asked about offensive guard Steve Vieira and how he performed against CSU, Toledo said, "Vieira had a very good game. He was one of the guys we were talking about as being the most valuable player. He played very well. He's an outstanding player and we're really pleased with Steve Vieira."

Toledo on how redshirt freshman center Mike McCloskey did in his first game against CSU: "He's a great story. Here's a guy who was the last guy we gave a scholarship to. He was going to go to the Air Force Academy. Bright, bright young man. He was an undersized guy. He was 6-5 and 240. Now he's 285. He is so athletic. Watch him play. Isolate on him and watch him play. He's an outstanding center. He reminds me of Mike Flanagan when he played here for us. He made a couple of mistakes that he'll get corrected but he did an outstanding job. For a freshman in his first game, outstanding."

Toledo complimented the entire offensive line. "It's a very solid college offensive line. I hope we stay healthy, even though we do have some backups who could go in and play now. That's a good college offensive line. It's one of the strengths of our team."

Linebacker Patrick-Pierre Louis, who is out with a dislocated shoulder, was in full pads Wednesday but didn't practice. Tight end Keith Carter, who is out with a sprained ankle, was also in pads and ran on the sidelines. Freshman defensive tackle C.J. Niusulu looked like he was recovering well from his knee surgery, running and showing no ill effects. Freshman offensive lineman Robert Chai was in shorts and didn't practice Wednesday for unspecificied reasons.

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