Saturday Afternoon Practice Report

UCLA didn't wear pads for the afternoon practice on Saturday, and spent much of their time on special teams. Karl Dorrell talked about Jimmy Rotstein's role as a kickoff specialist and also addressed the reinstatement of Eric Scott...

The afternoon practice was the second of the day, and as such, the players did not wear pads. Much of the early practice was spent on special teams, with work on kickoff drills and punting. Jimmy Rotstein is obviously not Justin Medlock, but he showed a fairly strong leg in practice as he auditions for the job of kickoff specialist. However, with the new rule change in terms of kickoff (from the 30 now), there probably will be very few touchbacks for the Bruins this year, which means kickoff coverage will need to be a big strength.

Aaron Perez was a little inconsistent with his punts, and while some of that can be attributed to bad snaps from back up long snapper Brian Rubinstein, all in all he did not have a great day. He kicked a few boomers, but oftentimes the ball was wobbly and sometimes it knuckled. The bright side is he generally kicked it a fair distance, even if it didn't always look pretty. Terrence Austin, Marcus Everett and Ryan Graves are all in the mix for the punt returning spot, although Graves will need to show he has better hands than he showed at receiver during the scrimmage period. After dropping a pass in the 2 minute drill, Graves had to do some push ups.

Christian Yount's long snapping was exceptional.

Third string punter Danny Rees got off a few big kicks, but his kicks tend to have a weird curving action, which was interesting to watch. They practiced some two-minute drills during the scrimmage period toward the end of practice. Ben Olson again had some trouble with accuracy and decision making, at one point bulleting a pass to a double covered receiver in the end zone that had no real hope and ended up just sailing to the backstop. At times, he was noticeably not looking off his primary target, to the point that the other options on plays began to look like they were only going through the motions of fighting off the coverage, as if they knew the ball was not coming to them. He had a couple of throws where he appeared to go through his progressions, just too slowly and oftentimes that would lead to him running the ball (which, in no contact, should probably be counted as a sack). The secondary played much better than it did in the morning session, which contributed to the struggles for the offense.

Karl Dorrell quotes:

On Eric Scott:
"On bigger news, after a lot of deliberation, we had talks with Eric yesterday, two hours actually, we went through the process very very thoroughly, and I've decided to reinstate him. He'll be at practice tomorrow. He's back on our staff. We're ready to get past this. It's been a little bit of a distraction as you know, because that's what you guys do. But we're ready to move forward. I know he's excited to be back. He's excited to get past the situation and to get ourselves to continue to have the focus to be a Pac-10 championship caliber football team. We're going to get past this like I just mentioned. I know he's excited to be back and he's excited to be back in the fold."

On Practice:
"We did what we wanted to do. I was excited about the special teams part of it, we got a lot of work done there. We did a lot of red zone work that we continued from this morning. We introduced two-minute and it's always a little rough when we first introduce it. We've got a lot more reps throughout camp at that. We'll probably do it at the end of the second practice of every two-a-day."

Describe what went into the decision to reinstate Scott:
"Everything. Just for him to understand what my expectations are. We got a firm understanding of where we go from this point. There's nothing in particular that was one deciding factor. We just carefully went through the process and decided that this was the right and best thing for our program. And we want to keep ourselves moving forward.

Did you know about any of the arrests beforehand?
"We talked about that in the past. We're ready to move forward. I don't want to talk about what I said two weeks ago, I want to talk about what we're doing now and getting ourselves ready for the season. I'm happy he's back, I know the team's happy he's back. I just announced it to the team a few moments ago. We want to put this thing to bed and move forward.

Will you have to spend time with the receivers as he gets acclimated?
"No question. I'll still be doing the things that I've been doing this whole week, when we're getting him caught up to how we do things. He's missed some field time and I've enjoyed my field time and enjoyed my chance to work with those guys."

Will you make him throw passes so you don't have to work on your throws?
I think my arm's better than his. We'll see what he can throw. My arm's in pretty good shape now. I can throw a tight spiral, it's got some zip to it, I can hear a whistle when I throw it. I'm getting into shape, when you've been a receivers coach you're whole career, it's like falling off a log trying to get yourself back into shape and we've done that for sure."

Any other injury updates:
"(Chane) Moline has that cracked bone. He's in a cast right now. He could practice right now, be we want to give him some time to get used to that cast and let the healing process start. (On whether he can play) It depends on how big the cast is. Right now, the cast is up to his elbow. If it gets shorter, I'm sure he can play with it, but right now our big thing is to get him to the point where he's on the healing stage, and symptom free from pain. He's a right handed guy, so it's his left hand. Not his dominant hand. Terrence had a bit of a bone bruise on his knee. That's what we think there. The structure looks good and we'll get him tested out and all that stuff. But that's the preliminary information that we have.

On Rotstein's kickoffs:
"He could possibly do it. We want to give Jimmy a fair shot. We know Kai will be doing our extra points and field goals. Jimmy has experience from the Sun Bowl when he filled in for Justin. He has experience and I thought he did a nice job today."


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