On the day when the team got word that senior quarterback Ben Olson would be out for eight weeks after breaking the same bone in his foot he did in spring, junior quarterback Kevin Craft had his best day of spring.
It wasn't an incredible day, but it was significantly better than any practice he had had up until Sunday.
Craft got the bulk of the work with the first-string offense. He threw far more confidently, with a stronger ball and more accurately.
Chris Forcier, who had gotten a great deal of reps in Saturday's session, received the next most reps. It definitely appeared that Craft and Forcier got 75% of the reps between the two of them and that, with Olson out for the Tennessee game, it could be down to those two to win the starter's position.
Forcier looked okay, appearing to have improved in his decision-making, even though it seems that he still lacks the arm strength to make some throws. Among the two true freshman, Crissman had the better day, completing passes with some strong throws. Prince struggled some, throwing into coverage a number of times, even though even his errant throws still look good coming out of his hand.
Craft had one sequence in the 11-on-11 in which Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow was visibly pleased. Craft completed three passes in a row, the last being on a roll-out where he had to deftly dump the ball running against his body to a tight end, which he did well. Chow came over to Craft as he was returning to the huddle, pumped his fist and said some encouraging words.
Craft threw two beautiful consecutive balls on post patterns, one that Marcus Everett caught, having a stride on Alterraun Verner, and the second being caught by Antwon Moutra, pulling it in from his fingertips.
Craft struggled a bit in the last 11-on-11, but was still better than he had been in previous practices.
With Kahlil Bell taking a schedule break from practice, it gave Raymond Carter more reps at tailback, and he looks very good -- big and fast. Also impressive is freshman Milton Knox, who hits holes with considerable explosion and quickness.
Scott Glicksberg, returning from the flu, was still primarily working with the second-string offensive line, while Sonny Tevaga worked with the 1s at right guard. Nick Ekbatani, who had done some time at right guard on Saturday, mostly worked at right tackle.
Mike Harris, the redshirt freshman tackle, was carted off the field with an ankle injury. It's another injury to an already very thin position. More is expected to be known about the injury today.
The defense generally put a great deal of pressure on the offense during the session's scrimmages. Getting consistent penetration were both defensive ends, Tom Blake and Korey Bosworth. Toward the end of practice Bosworth recovered a fumble and was thrown to the ground by offensive tackle Micah Kia, and Bosworth came up limping. Sophomore David Carter came in for him, and it looks like he and Reginald Stokes are filling out the two-deep at DE.
Blake and Nathaniel Skaggs penetrated on a run to stop the ball carrier a good five yards behind the line on one play.
There hasn't been any change in personnel at linebacker so far this fall. The first-string is still John Hale at strongside linebacker, Reggie Carter in the middle, and Kyle Bosworth at the weakside. It will be interesting to see if there is any shifting around when Josh Edwards returns. Akeem Ayers is getting time with the 1s at strongside.
Aaron Ware had a nice interception in the scrimmage off Prince. Bret Lockett, who is out for the Tennessee game, had had a couple of nice break-ups off Forcier passes. Alterraun Verner had two excellent break-ups in a row in the scrimmage, one where he literally jumped over the back of the receiver to get a hand on the ball.
Freshman Anthony Dye has been getting some time at safety in recent practices. Andrew Abbott, the 5-10 freshman walk-on cornerback from Santa Ana Mater Dei has been getting reps with the 2s here and there.
With Rick Neuheisel as UCLA's head coach, you can expect some new things for the program. Sunday, in the last 10 minutes of practice with the team scrimmaging, rock and hip hop music came blasting out of some very new, high-quality speakers that were installed on Spaulding. We're hearing Neuheisel expects to use them for many things, for rock, hip-hop, to play the UCLA fight song, etc. It not only gave the session a kind of Hip Hop Practice feel, but the word is that it's also trying to instill focus in the players, to maintain their concentration when there are distractions.
The fans definitely liked it.
At punt returner is Terrence Austin, with Ryan Graves, Taylor Embree and Courtney Viney behind him.
As mentioned, Siewierski (dizziness) and Price (possible concussion) were out for Sunday's evening practice, as were Kahlil Bell (planned), and freshman receiver Nelson Rosario (stomach) and freshman running back Aundre Dean (neck).