Bruins put on the pads for the first time this spring this Saturday afternoon. Per Jim Mora's comments the rhythm of practice is always a little off during first day in pads because in his words there is "little apprehension" and the players are "feeling it out" and figuring out "how hard" they can go. But he didn't seem all that worried or annoyed about it because he seemed to feel confident that the team would back in full rhythm when they come back to practice on Monday.
Other highlights from practice per Mora's comments in the video posted above (HT Edward Lewis).
Crowd/energy: Mora suggested that the crowd was solid and perhaps one of the reason was that UCLA was holding a coaches clinic with 200 high school and JC coaches out in Westwood. I am sure that helps recruiting. And a quick non-football note on the crowd:
#UCLA bball center Tony Parker is out at football practice watching the team.— Jacob Ruffman (@JacobRuffman) April 6, 2013
We will see if Alford can keep him the program. Moving on.
Top line performers: Mora signed out Brett Hundley, Jordon James and Devin Lucien. Specifically wrt Lucien who has been putting on a show so far, Mora gushed about his "energy" and "passion," saying how he "keeps catching my eye." Lucien had some funny comments after practice the other day. Edward Lewis shared the video:
State of the running game: Mora's comments re. Malcolm Jones and James were noteworthy:
Downhill Jordon? Let's start with James. Mora said James danced a little too much and depended a little too much on his lateral quickness last season but in three practice he is going downhill a little more. I was surprised last year to see how Damien Thigpen had overtaken James. I think James has a little more upside than Thigpen but if he can become as decisive of a runner as Thigpen became last year, it will be good news for our running game.
Malcolm's passion for the game: Re. Jones Mora specifically talked about how Jones main issue right now is that he needs to practice with passion. He suggested that what Jones needs is someone "pissing him off" every day. Moran went on to add that Jones has to learn how to play "angry" with a "chip on his shoulder." Hmm, maybe Lucien should be room-mates with Jones? Also, in terms of technique Mora pointed out that when Jones stays low, he is more effective. His problem is that when he doesn't get down, due to his size he becomes an easier target.
Mora seemed optimistic about Jones and said that he has been at bit of disadvantage because he missed winter workouts but he is doing the best he can. Lastly, Mora suggested that UCLA will be applying for a redshirt season since he just had 6 plays in one game last year. I have always liked this kid so I really hope he gets it together.
Injury updates: Eric Kendrick's injury is nothing more than a "sprain" but Mora is unsure when he will be back. Alberto Cid "took a shot to head" and wasn't feeling "right" so coaches took him out to practice. Simon Goines and Phillip Ruel were also held out. Dietrich Riley has a "slightly separated shoulder" because he got his "arm caught in" during a one-on-one even wearing his "red jersey." Separate shoulder sounds painful but Mora didn't seem worried.
Also, Eric Yarber apparently tore his tendon in his quad. Mora joked about it though saying he gets no sympathy because Yarber often doesn't remember he is 50 and not an 18 year old. I guess it happened during one on one as Yarber was drying to coach during a one-on-one. Hope Coach Yarber is feeling better and out there on the field soon.
If you were out at the practice today make sure to share your notes, color on the day and as always we love pictures from practice.