Spaulding Roundup: Malcolm Bunche’s First Practice; Massington Emerging in the Red Zone & Other UCLA Notes

Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sport

News and notes from UCLA’s spring football practice.

Bruins just wrapped up practice under the lights at Spaulding. The big news was Miami transfer Malcolm Bunche got in his first practice as a Bruin and UCLA coaches didn't waste any time in getting him reps. From the OC Register:

The staff wasted no time in getting him involved, throwing him into the fire at left guard on the first-team offensive line. He'll likely stay at that spot moving forward, with last year's fill-in starter, Scott Quessenberry, moving to the second team. [...]

Bunche was certainly gassed after his first set of reps. But otherwise, he showed some promise early on, handling nose tackle Kenny Clark and defensive end Ellis McCarthy on a few occasions.

Mora seemed to be pretty pleased with what he saw from Bunche. Interestingly Mora is already projecting Bunche to be a "mentor" for some of our younger guys.  Here were Coach Mora's comments:

Tracy Pierson from BruinReportOnline.com was kind enough to transcribe the entire presser (which you can check out here as it is not behind paid firewall). I thought the exchanges re. Eldridge Massington and Zach Whitley stood out:

On Eldridge Massington:

Particularly when we get in tight in the red zone. He's a big body for Brett to throw to. Two days ago, Brett threw a ball that Eldridge looked covered, and Brett threw it over the DBs head to Eldridge and came over and said 'he's a nice big target.' Then you saw it in the red zone. He uses his body well. He has enough push off to create separation. He's just going to get better and better. The thing with Eldridge is he was limited in the spring, and the fall and in the season, he was running scout team so he was never running our plays with our offense. You're just going to see him get better because he works at it. You see him take on Myles in the first part. It was funny and great and shows you the mindset of Eldridge, in our meeting we're talking about our Pride Alley, the Oklahoma drill, and I said who wants to go first and Eldridge goes. So I said, call it out, who do you want, and Eldridge says 'Myles'. I told him I'll have lifeline over here to have ready. He did well, he's tough and aggressive. I like his attitude. He loves to compete.

On Zach Whitley playing outside linebacker:

Yeah we moved him around a little bit. We're going to do some experimenting there and try to find the right person to play opposite Myles. Zach's got length, really long arms, he can separate. There is competition there. I don't want anyone to assume they have the job. So Kenny, Deon and Zach, and anyone else who shows up, there is going to be strong competition there. We want the best four guys there. From a mental standpoint, he's a little behind, he doesn't know the ins and the outs quite. From a physical standpoint, the first day he was good, the second two days, he fell off a bit. He came back today, he was strong. I think he's the kid that the more we go on, the stronger he's going to get. I don't think he's a typical freshman that falls off. This is a determined kid. You've seen him. He's bound and determined to win and be an impact player.

Good stuff from BRO. There are more extensive BRO notes from practice here (behind subscription firewall).

From the Twitterverse here are some musings (in less than 140 characters) from beat-reporters worth noting from Monday night:

BTW ICYMI x-rays on Ben Wysocki were "negative" as his injury has been described by UCLA as a "moderate ankle sprain." Mora didn't have an update on time-table for his return. There is no need for him to rush him back (and an injured player should never rush back in any event) as Bruins have decent depth (knock on wood) at OL.

GO BRUINS.

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