Spaulding Roundup: Brehaut Looks "Sharp" In Return, Barr Experimentation & Other Notes

So Richard Brehaut returned to practice yesterday and reportedly he picked up right where he left off.  He took reps with both the first and second teams, and looked "sharp" while Kevin Prince didn't practice as much "nursing a blister." There was also an interesting experimentation at the RB spot .Per Coach Rick Neuheisel (video after the fold) he gave some of the first teamers time off because he wanted to keep them fresh for Saturday's scrimmage  so that they can get in some "hard reps." With let's get to the notes.

From Jon Gold at Inside UCLA:

* Rick Neuheisel wanted to give the first team a bit of a break today, so most of the late-practice team drills were second- and third-team guys.

* Richard Brehaut returned to practice and was again sharp with his arm, shaking off any rust on his first throw of team drills, a 40-yard touchdown to Randall Carroll. Brehaut had a beautiful pass to Anthony Barr over the middle that elicited a "Hell yeah, 12," from a teammate.

* Kevin Prince is nursing a blister on his throwing hand and didn't see too much time, and he was a mixed bag, hitting some and missing some in team drills.

* Chris Ward was working primarily with the twos again, with Albert Cid and Greg Capella seeing most of the first-team action at the guard spots.

 Few other noteworthy items courtesy of Peter Yoon of ESPNLA:

  • Kicker Kip Smith looked great in an early drill, nailing four out of four attempts and making solid kicks on all four. Later, however, things didn't go as well when put into a pseudo-live situation. He made two out of five with players yelling and screaming behind him, coach Rick Neuheisel blowing a whistle and special teams coach Angus McClure squirting water in Smith's direction. On the last one, Neuheisel laid down on the ground right in front of Smith, who pushed the attempt to the right.
  • Linebacker Sean Westgate sat out because of illness but is expected to be back for the scrimmage. Eric Kendricks filled in on the first team.
  • Defensive back Jamie Graham returned to the sidelines only one day after having surgery to repair a torn meniscus. He was on crutches and in good spirits and said the surgery went well and that he would be back "sooner than everyone thinks."
  • Linebacker Jordan Zumwalt is fully recovered from a concussion and was practicing without the red no-contact jersey he had been wearing the last two days.

Oh, Peter also had a note about Sean "P.Diddy" Combs returning to practice again with less fan fare and an entourage. Mr. Combs has been checking out our campus with his son Justin Combs, who is a top flight cornerback recruit and interested in being a Bruin. We wish him luck no matter wherever he ends up.

Going back to football there was an interesting experiment going on at Spaulding yesterday. More on that and other notes after the jump.

Coach Neuheisel gave Anthony Barr some reps at the RB spot yesterday. Again here is Yoon:

"I feel like I've developed so much as an F-back that I don't really see running back as my primary position," he said. "But it's nothing that I'm opposed to."

Coach Rick Neuheisel said he asks all players what they think their best position is and Barr has told him running back, so he figured he would give him a shot. He expects to give Barr a few carries during the scrimmage Saturday night.

"We want to explore all options," Neuheisel said. "I want to give him some snaps, see what we got."

Barr's size isn't an issue as far as Neuheisel is concerned.

"He has great vision," Neuheisel said. "But he has to keep his pads low. Marcus Allen was that kind of back and ended up finding a way to make it work. I think there's a place for great players and we want to know what we have in that running back that he was in high school."

Barr reportedly carried the ball 3 times and gained about 8 yards. Not too bad I guess. I am really excited to see what kids like Barr, Damien Thigpen (when he is healthy again) and Jordon James can do at the F sport. The key for Mike Johnson is going to be is to get these athletes the ball in open spaces and create mismatches with their size (especially in Barr's case), speed (Thigpen and James) and overall athleticism.

Perhaps things are finally clicking with both of our QBs in terms of getting our offense in sync and we will see effective utilization of this spot and consequently these athletes on Saturdays. I am hopeful but we will have to see how it all plays out. Speaking of QBs, Brett Hundley is almost ready and itching to get back in practice action. Hundley as usual is oozing with confidence:

"I guess with the knee I had to miss two weeks which is a lot when you are competing for the starting job, but hopefully I can take what I've learned and put it on the field and make stuff happen," he said. "The goal is to win the starting job and the way I look at it, if I come out showing that I can run the ball, pass the ball and do everything I need to do as a quarterback in this offense and get things on the right track, then I can still win the starting job."

Hundley has been at every practice going through mental reps, he has been in the film sessions and has been studying the playbook in an effort to keep mentally sharp so he hopes he can quickly shake off any physical rust and make a quick impression.

"The main thing I've got to do is make sure I know my stuff," he said. "I've learned a lot over camp so I've got to put it on the field."  [...]

"I came here to be the starting quarterback," Hundley said. "If I don't, then I'll start thinking about the other situations that can be. I haven't really gotten into much yet but as we get toward the season we'll figure it out."

I think this will all work out all right. The key thing IMO is still to ensure Hundley is eased back into practice. If he doesn't get the starting spot, whether or not he is integrated into game plan should depend on how Bruins are performing on the field. If our offense is clicking on all cylinders, I would prefer he opts for red-shirt and then starting bringing him in next year with special packages in our playbook. But I guess we will have to see how it goes for us in first few games.

 It's been good to read about Brehaut's progress this camp. Peter Yoon had more on Bre's return to practice yesterday. By all accounts it appears Brehaut has had a great camp, making all those who were concern trolling about him playing baseball this summer, look downright foolish.  Meanwhile, Prince has come on last few days and seems to have responded to the clear challenge from Brehaut this camp. So the scrimmage on Saturday should be really interesting and who knows could be a factor for one of the QBs to create some separation and make a case for the No. 1 spot.

Anyway, here is Coach Neuheisel's debrief after practice:

Bruins have a live practice this am at 9 PST. They will then have a walk-through this afternoon before tomorrow's scrimmage at Drake. Of course, if you are heading out there tomorrow, please take your cameras. Come back share what you got, along with your notes here in the comment threads and in FanPost/FanShot sections. You know the drill.

GO BRUINS.

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