Practice as Usual

The UCLA football team starts its bowl practice, practicing for the first time without Bob Toledo. UCLA has a good turnout in recruits attend the practice Saturday...

Cory Paus said Saturday that it's certain he won't be able to play in the Vegas Bowl on Dec. 25th. Paus was out at practice, though, throwing to the wide receivers in their drills, giving the arm of wide receiver coach Ron Caragher a break.

The practice didn't look or feel much different with the absense of fired head coach Bob Toledo. With the team having been off for a while, the quarterbacks were rusty, their accuracy and timing off a bit with their receivers. But the practice overall was spirited.

There was an interesting change in defensive personnel. Justin London was working as the second-team middle linebacker. Dennis Link practiced at the weakside linebacker position and Wesley Walker, who looks bigger just about every practice, worked out as the second-team strongside backer. It was thought that the move was made Saturday to begin preparing London to step in as the starting middle linebacker next year. Link, with his size, is probably more suited to the weakside, and with Walker's burgeoning size, his quickness at strongside would be an asset.

Easily the most memorable moment of Saturday's practice was a hit London put on wide receiver Garrett Lepisto. After making a catch, coming over the middle, London stood up Lepisto and popped off his helmet in a crunching hit.

Junior wide receiver Ryan Smith was on the sideline in crutches. He said that the surgery he underwent last week on his nagging ankle went well and he's expected to finally recover fully from the injury.

Marcus Cassel, the redshirt freshman cornerback, continues to look good in practice, getting more aggressive and physical in his coverage.

It's probably coincidental, but might be attributed to the fact that it was UCLA's first bowl practice and it was on a Saturday, but there were more recruits at practice Saturday than there were for any one practice all season.

Among those in attendance were Quintin Daniels, the wide receiver from Loyola; Long Beach Poly OL/DL Kevin Brown; Charter Oak senior wide receiver/defensive back Mike Harris and junior running back Patrick Fuller; committed OL Nikola Dragovic from Rancho Buena Vista, and committed JC longsnapper/fullback Joe Tomasello from Fresno City. Dragovic looks to be about 6-3 and a solid square box physically, with some considerable guns on him. Tomasello also is put together rather well.

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