Saturday's Spring Practice Recap

UCLA hit Spaulding Field for day three of spring football practice, and for the first time, they were in full pads, which took the intensity level up. Also, a number of recruits from the 2008 and 2009 class took in the practice...

The intensity on Saturday was ratcheted up a notch because for the first time in Spring the Bruins took the field in full pads.

With pads on the hitting started from the get go.

Early on special teams was the focus primarily field goals and PATs with each attempt moving five yards farther back. Kai Forbath and Jimmy Rotstein both looked good from long distance. Forbath in particular had the ball booming off his foot. But the defense was making more attempts at blocking and getting a good push.

After special teams the individual positional drills took place. It's refreshing to see just how intense and focused the entire coaching staff is during the instructional time. Bob Palcic, the new offensive line coach does a very good job of instructing and emphasizing how he want his offensive line to block. He was very demonstrative on Saturday.

Defensively, Chuck Bullough kept driving the point home to his linebackers the need to do each drill perfectly, and often would make them start all over if they made a mistake. Reggie Carter is clearly the leader of the linebacking corps.

Following the individual drills the teams got into an offensive and defensive drill that would include a blocker, defender, running back and quarter back. There were four different stations: OL on DL, OL on LB, TE on LB, WR on DB. The offensive players job was to seal off his man while the quarter would hand to the running back and the running back would run off at block.

Courtney Viney made a nice stick on Craig Sheppard, drawing heavy praise from DeWayne Walker. Dominique Johnson had a nice pancake on Michael Norris. Brigham Harwell blew past Nick Ekbatani to stop Chane Moline. Then Christian Ramirez took a nice block from Nate Chandler to get past the defender.

After all those drills, Coach Rick Neuheisel called out Reggie Carter and Chandler to do one final one on one. With the defense crowded around Carter and the offense around Chandler both sides yelping, Carter won the one on one with Chandler and made the stop.

The funniest sight was probably Palcic intently screaming for Chandler to take Carter. You haven't seen an offensive line coach that intense since Tom Cable.

Then came the first real live 11-on-11 scrimmage of camp. The defense is still ahead of the offense and generally maintain that during the scrimmaging. The hitting got intense and also led to a scrap between Logan Paulsen and Brian Price with most of the defense helping him out.

More intensity lead to another scrap which caught drew the ire of Neuheisel, who stopped the drills to lay into the team. Neuheisel then made all 22 players do up-downs to get his point across.

The scrapping stopped but the intensity maintained throughout the rest of practice.

Offensively the standouts included Nate Chandler and Chane Moline in particular. Pat Cowan led the first team reps at quarterback. Defensively Carter, Bret Lockett, Harwell and Price all drew praise from the coaches.

Saturday brought out a slew of recruits including numerous signees from the 2008 class. Two of the 2009 commits and several other 2009 targets.

There from the 2008 class: Datone Jones, Aaron Hester, Derrick Coleman, Damien Holmes, E.J. Woods, Kevin Prince, Nick Crissman, Johnathan Franklin, Rahim Moore, Milton Knox and Donovan Carter.

Jones physically looks very good getting rid of most of the baby fat. He's been running sprints for Compton and says he feels like he's in great shape. Chrissman also looks like he has added about 10-15 pounds and says he's up to 210, a very positive sign. He was also focusing intensely on Norm Chow and the other quarterbacks. Franklin, Colman and Knox all spent time watching new running backs coach Wayne Moses lead his positional drills. Prince told us that his knee is feeling really good and the rehab is going well.

There from the 2009 class were two of the three commits, LB Todd Golper and newest commit CB Alex Mascarenas. Also there were Narbonne S Byron Moore, Crespi WR Kevin Cummings, Santa Clara RB Cierre Wood, St. Mary's QB Cody Vaz, Tesoro LB John Michael Davis, Bishop Amat CB Sheldon Price, Los Osos QB Richard Brehaut, Taft LB Nick Bruce, Edison WR Jeff Crissman, Dana Hills QB Sean Schroeder, Scripps Ranch QB Tate Forcier, Dorsey ATH Steven Curry, Hart OL Chris Andersen, Narbonne CB Sean Parker (2010), Birmingham QB Morey Croson (2010).

E.J. Woods and Rahim Moore spent a lot of time talking up Cierre Wood. Several of the recruits met with some of the football staff before practice and a few were planning on sticking around to check out the campus.

We will have video clips and a photo gallery coming later.


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