Defense Good; Offense Improving

Wednesday the defense again controlled the practice scrimmages, but the offense is starting to show some signs, particularly some nice runs from scrimmage by some very promising, young tailbacks. There were a number of injuries Wednesday, too...

It was an interesting day in terms of injuries on Spaulding Field Wednesday.

There was a sudden rash of them toward the end of practice, and one player seemingly made a miraculous recovery from Tuesday.

Perhaps the most significant is starting tailback Kahlil Bell sitting out with a hip point. Head Coach Rick Neheisel didn't tend to think it was serious.

Wide receiver Dominique Johnson was dressed but didn't participate much, also with a hip pointer.

Scott Glicksberg, who looks to be the starting left offensive guard, went down late in the practice. It was believe to possibly be an exascerbation of a long-time shoulder issue.

Receiver Taylor Embree tweaked his shoulder at the end of practice, and appeared to be in considerable pain.

Freshman receiver Jerry Johnson didn't practice due to an ankle injury.

Reggie Carter, the middle linebacker, is still going through the concussion protocol and didn't practice. Josh Edwards was in shells, and going through the acclimatization period to return to practice.

Quarterback Osaar Rasshan was in shorts and didn't practice with a knee injury.

Offensive tackle Nate Chandler had a boot on his foot and didn't practice.

Freshman running back Derrick Coleman, who was diagnosed with a tear in the meniscus of his right knee Tuesday, was dressed for practice. It's safe to assume that the choice has been made to rehab the injury rather than have surgery. He didn't participate in drills Wednesday.

Watching the running backs, freshman Aundre Dean is intriguing. He had a talk with UCLA running backs coach Wayne Moses as they walked onto the field before practice. Then, in the drills, Moses rode him a bit when Dean was cheating the drill. In scrimmage reps, however, Dean looks impressive, with some considerable explosion through holes to go along with great size. Despite the fact that he might not be the hardest-working in the drills, Dean could be too talented to not give playing time.

Dean had a very pretty run in the scrimmages. He took advantage of a big hole, but showed exploded through it and got up field in a hurry.

Raymond Carter, the redshirt freshman tailback, had perhaps one of the most impressive runs of fall camp Wednesday. In the 11-on-11 scrimmage toward the end of practice, on a draw, he burst through a whole, veered outside and got behind the defense before anyone could catch him for a 40-yard touchdown.

With Bell out, Chane Moline was getting a lot of work, and looked solid running the ball.

The quarterbacks had some moments, and had some struggles. Kevin Craft looked better than Chris Forcier Wednesday, but you wouldn't say that he clearly had a good day. After he had completed a series of passes, he then made a couple of poor decisions and throws that resulted in interceptions, one for Alterraun Verner and the other for freshman safety Rahim Moore, who was merely playing center field when Craft overthrew a receiver.

He did, though, hit Marcus Everett in stride on a fly route up the sideline for a 40-yard gain.

Forcier's best pass of the day was off his back foot, throwing 40 yards down field to Terrence Austin, who caught the ball while falling out of bounds.

Neuheisel had the first-string and second-string offense alternate starting deep in its own territory. Craft guided a few successful drives, as did Forcier. They tended, though, to get a good gain, and then give it back with bad decisions. After Forcier's 40-yard completion, he then was sacked twice after not getting rid of the ball. Neuheisel yelled, "You just gave back all of the yards we gained. Get rid of the ball!"

The two freshman QBs, Kevin Prince and Nick Crissman, didn't get many chances in the scrimmages. Prince did throw a nice ball on a curl to tight end Adam Heater, but Heater bobbled it. Crissman threw a pick to walk-on cornerback Andrew Abbott.

The quarterbacks are, though, under constant pressure by the defense. Even though Ben Olson might have given UCLA a better edge in throwing the ball, mobile quarterbacks like Craft, Forcier and Rasshan might be vital for UCLA's offense this season if its quarterback is going to be under so much fire.

Tight end Ryan Moya clearly had his best day of fall camp, catching a number of nicely-thrown passes and finding a seam to turn it up field. Moya caught a ball on a crossing route in stride, turned up field at the sideline and took it into the endzone for a touchdown.

Austin also had a good day, making that one 40-yard catch and also grabbing a few balls on under routes.

Defensive lineman Jeff Miller has been moved to tight end, and looked like he was still getting used to the new position.

Fullback Trevor Theriot also looks to be used extensively in Norm Chow's offense, catching passes out of the backfield in particular.

Even with the offense starting to make advances, the defense is still in control of the scrimmages. As stated, they are constantly pressuring the quarterbacks. There are many tackles for loss on running plays, particularly by defensive Brian Price, who was a flash in getting into the backfield on two different plays. Back-up defensive end Reginald Stokes had two sacks, while defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski and linebacker Akeem Ayers had a sack each. Linebacker Kyle Bosworth hit Craft while he was dropping back and knocked the ball away on one rep.

At the beginning of practice, the linebackers and tight ends went up against each other, with the tight ends having to block to protect the rushing linebackers. Looking good rushing was Ayers, Steve Sloan and under-sized freshman Sean Westgate. Chinonso Anyanwu had one good move that got him around his blocker quickly. Moya had a few good reps blocking. Logan Paulsen also generally contained his man on his reps.

UCLA-committed quarterback Richard Brehaut from Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Los Osos attended practice again. It could be the last time for a while since his high school practice starts today.

Read another Wednesday practice report from BRO message board poster DEJABLUE: Deja's Report


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