Spaulding Roundup: Practice Around The Corner, Left Over Notes From Pac-10 Media Day

9 more days to go till UCLA football practices start on August 10. Photo Credit: dabruins07 (flickr)

So we are officially in August, which we have just 4 more Saturdays to go before we get to write "Gameday Roundup." However, time is going to start flying beginning this week as we get ready for training camp which will start on August 10. If you haven't done it yet mark up the following dates on your calendar:

UCLA will open its 2009 pre-season football practice on Monday, August 10. The Bruins will practice once daily from August 10 through August 14 as part of the NCAA acclimatization process.

The first practice in full pads will be Friday, August 14. Two-a-day practices will begin on Saturday, August 15. NCAA rules instituted in 2003 prohibit two practices on back-to-back days.

On Saturday, August 22, the Bruins will hold their first major scrimmage of Fall Camp. The scrimmage will be held at Drake Stadium, beginning at 5:00 p.m.

All practices between August 10 and 22 will be open to the public and all, with the exception of the August 22 scrimmage, will be on Spaulding Field. Practices beginning August 21 will be determined at a later date.

You can get the current tentative schedule over here. As noted above, practice times after 21st will be set at later date.

For those of you who are lucky to live in Southern California, we would love for you to get out there, check out the practices and share the stories and pictures with rest of us here on Bruins Nation. We don't have to go over all the storylines but if you just take a list of our walkons, you will get a sense the kind of excitement we are going to have around the team this year:

Among the new Bruins are E.J. Turner, son of Bruin Hall of Fame safety Eric Turner; Andrew Yelich, son of former UCLA offensive lineman Chris Yelich; Demetrius Papadakis, brother of rado/television personality Petros Papadakis; and Jerry Rice, son of Jerry Rice, the greatest receiver in the history of the National Football League.

How cool will it be to see Jerry Rice taking in practice at Spaulding? You think that will generate some exitement and pub around our practices which recruits will take note of? You can check out the full list of walk on over here. More football notes including left overs from Pac-10 media day after the jump.

The write ups for Pac-10 media has been fairly vanilla acorss the board and consistent with what I put together in the roundup from yesterday. I did find the headline in the Press Enterprise about UCLA "closing the gap" annoying:

"We've proven we can recruit," said the Bruins second-year coach of his two classes of newcomer talent Thursday. "I know from the resumes of our coaches that we can teach.

"Now it's about developing them. We can't just run on the field and say, 'You're developed.' How long that will take, I can't tell you."[...]

"We can't avoid freshman-itis. There'll be growing pains that come with this," the coach said.

The inevitable comparison to crosstown mega-power USC came up, of course, and Neuheisel praised his Trojans counterpart, Pete Carroll, for "sharing a vision and developing" the tremendous talent he gets.

"That's where we have to match them," said Neuheisel. "If we do that, we can catch up, and we can catch up fast because we can recruit."

Asked for a yardstick of progress this year, he said, "I'll be disappointed if we don't make the postseason."

May be it's just me but I hate headlines about "closing the gap" until we have proven it on the field. And to Neuheisel credit the headline is not coming from his quotes but the writer's keyboards. CRN acknowledged that while we have certainly made up a lot of grounds on the recruiting front, it's not going to count all that much if we don't show tangible improvement from this past season, which will entail getting back into a bowl game, setting us up well for another good recruitinig class. That would potentially help build the foundation and momentum for another step forward next season, shooting for a high profile bowl game and get a victory (it will be expected here on Bruins Nation) against the Trojans at the Rose Bowl.

So bringing back to the focus of next season, apparently Ted Miller from WWL asked Reggie Carter to give his list of top running backs in the Pac-10 and here is what he came up with:

1. Stafon Johnson, USC: "I know him personally and he's probably the best pure running back."

2. Jahvid Best, California: "He hits gears that are just different."

3. Joe McKnight, USC: "He's so versatile. He can really hurt you in so many different ways."

4. Toby Gerhart, Stanford: "He's so strong. Fourth quarters come around and your DBs get tired and he just keeps pounding you."

5. Jacquizz Rodgers, Oregon State: "They recruit backs like him, like Yvenson Bernard. He's patient. You try to play aggressive but he lets things develop. You'll fly by a hole and he'll come in right after you."

6. LeGarrette Blount, Oregon: "He's definitely in there. He's strong and fast. Aggressive. He'll stiff-arm you."

That's certainly an interesting list. Obviously I think overwhelming majority of fans would put Best at 1 given his production, but Reggie's list is coming from his experience on taking these guys on the field. It's also smart for him to keep the Trojies at number 1, taking away any opportunities for bulletin board material for the most important game of the season. As always, flame wars it generated in that WWL thread is just silly and trivial.

All of those matchups are going to be difficult ones for the Bruin defense and it will be interesting to see what kind of support they get from the offense to keep them off the field as much as possible and keep Reggie and his team-mates fresh. Guess we are going to start getting some hints to those answers in just about a week when practice gets started out at Spaulding. You all will be there to share your notes? Right?

GO BRUINS.

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