Offense Finds Room to Run Monday

The passing game sputtered, but it was refreshing to see the running game generate yards in the first of two practices Monday. There was also a variation to the starting offensive line. Alterraun Verner made the most athletic play of the fall so far...

The defense, again, got the best of the offense, but only in the passing game. You could make a case in the Monday morning session that the offense actually was effective in running the ball.

In the 11-on-11, there was some running room, and Derrick Coleman, Johnathan Franklin and Milton Knox took advantage. Coleman had a couple of runs where he, again, showed that he's going to be a load to bring down. Franklin showed quickness on the edge, and Knox, once he got passed the line of scrimmage, jitterbugged his way for good gains.

There seems to be more misdirection in UCLA's running game, at least in the first week of fall camp.

Starter Christian Ramirez didn't do any team work and limited individual work. Rick Neuheisel said they were resting him a bit.

Quarterback Kevin Prince looked like he could have used the rest, having one of his worst outings Monday morning. He connected on very few passes, and many balls were thrown late or floated down the field, or both. Prince threw at least three interceptions, on balls that shouldn't been thrown. It seemed like he was taking a long time to go through his reads before throwing the ball late. He completed many of his short and under routes, and he did throw a really nice ball on a post to Terrence Austin who fumbled it in the end zone.

One of his interceptions might have been the play of fall camp – by cornerback Alterraun Verner. Verner was behind receiver Ricky Marvray, and the ball was thrown a bit high. Verner went up and over Marvray's back, tipped the ball in the air, and then caught it as he was falling to the ground. It was an amazingly athletic play.

On another Prince interception, Verner tipped the ball in the air for Rahim Moore to bring down. Moore had the third interception on Prince when he stepped in front of the receiver on a late-thrown ball.

With fullback Trevor Theriot sitting out the team portion, freshman Jayson Allmond got some reps with the 2s and even the 1s. He is very physically impressive, and he moves well and catches the ball well, with good hands.

Morrell Presley, throughout camp, has done drills with the tight ends, but then lined up in the scrimmages more or less like a wide receiver. Monday he went through drills with the wide receivers. He had a pretty good day, catching mostly everything thrown his way.

Tight end Ryan Moya, back at practice, caught a hitch, shook loose from Akeem Ayers, and rambled up the middle of the field for a good gain.

Quarterback Kevin Craft got many of the second team reps Monday, and took advantage of them. Craft had one of his better practices, accurate in his throws and quick to get them off.

Perhaps the biggest news offensively was Micah Kia alternating at left guard with Stan Hasiak on the starting offensive line. It was the first hint of a change in the starting offensive line since the first couple days of practice.

It's looking pretty clear that Xavier Su'a-Filo is nailing down the left tackle position. We've heard the coaches love his athleticism, and his agility is very noticeable, with Su'a-Filo able to contain defensive end Korey Bosworth a majority of the time with his quick feet.

Hasiak has had a big task on his hands, going up against Brian Price mostly.

Also, the second team OL had a new addition – true freshman Nik Abele was alternating in at right tackle for Brett Downey. He, also, looked like he had good feet and balance, especially for a guy his size. If, in a year or so, Abele, who is a good 6-6, if not 6-7, and tight end transfer Joseph Fauria, who is 6-8, line up on the same side, it could be pretty imposing for defensive linemen.

Defensively, many of the usual suspects did well.

Freshman defensive end Keenan Graham looked pretty quick, made a stop on running play, and got praise from Neuheisel.

A guy to watch is linebacker Patrick Larimore, who has some surliness to him. So far this fall he's mixed it up a couple of times, while he's also made a couple of good, aggressive plays.

Dalton Hilliard, the redshirt freshman safety who is coming off knee surgery, is out of his red, no-hit jersey. He's playing alongside Stan McKay at safety, and McKay has been very impressive. The word is that, give McKay a year of development in the program, and he could be competing for a starting safety spot next season.

Glenn Love, who is competing for the open strong safety position, has been limited in practice due to a bruised clavicle. Tony Dye has taken advantage, working with the 1s. McKay, though, did step in and have a few reps with the 1s on Monday.

Jeff Miller, the junior tight end, sat out some of practice for an unspecified reason.

The primary punt returner continues to be Austin, while Courtney Viney and Taylor Embree are the back-ups. Verner also gets some reps as a punt returner.

Neuheisel goes over the rest of the injured in his post-practice video interview.


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