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First Day ...

Bruins had their first day of practice yesterday and the big news came out of the offensive line. There has been a shift and Dohn has the details:

UCLA offensive line coach Jim Colletto had no idea what his starting unit looked like coming out of spring practice, but the emergence of Noah Sutherland and the health of Chris Joseph shed some light.

The Bruins opened training camp Monday, two weeks after Sutherland was shifted from strong-side tackle to weak-side tackle, and redshirt freshman Aleksey Lanis was moved from strong to weakside.Sutherland is entrenched at weakside tackle, and Lanis leads Brian Abraham in the battle on the strong side.

"It doesn't matter to me, as long as I'm on the field," Lanis said. "And I'm with the ones right now."

Experience was a key factor in the switch. Although Sutherland played defensive line in 2004, he developed on offense and became a starter late last season. He followed that up by winning many of the offseason weight-lifting tests.
Here is Sutherland after Spring Practice in 05:


And reportedly this is how stronger he has gotten over the offseason:
Sutherland, a defensive lineman when a freshman, was moved to offense before the 2005 season and played well in seven games, starting against USC and then in the Sun Bowl victory over Northwestern when the Bruins set a season-high with 310 rushing yards.

He continued to progress through the spring and the summer - "He won the weightlifting championship for us, was the fastest, strongest. That's pretty cool," strong guard Shannon Tevaga said.

And he is looking forward to the challenge of playing in open space more often, where he will be matched up with some of the best pass rushers in the Pac-10.

"The coaches want me to do it and think I can do it. I'm pretty excited about it. You're out there on your own a lot more, but I like that challenge and I'm up to it. I like that they trust me out there to get it done," said Sutherland. He has recorded a bench press of 465 pounds with a squat at 600 pounds and also has run the 40-yard dash in 4.91 seconds.
Well this ought to make Olson, Cowan and all the running backs happy.

No updated depth chart on the website but based on Dohn's report this is what the offensive line depth chart look like today:
78 Aleksey Lanis (6-6, 313, Fr.*) 71 Shannon Tevaga (6-3, 313 Jr.)(12) 54 Robert Chai (6-3, 285, Sr.*)(4) 60 Chris Joseph (6-5, 295, So.) 74 Noah Sutherland (6-5, 305, Jr*)(3)
68 Brian Abraham (6-6, 315, Jr)(9) 75 Nick Ekbatani (6-4, 290, So.) 51 Nathaniel Skaggs (6-4, 305, So.*)(1) 67 P.J. Ervin (6-5, 305, Jr.*) 66 Scott Glicksberg (6-4, 281, So.*)
70 Tony Lee (6-4, 295, So.*) 50 Aaron Meyer (6-2, 295, So.*) 58 Micah Reed (6-4, 303, So.*) 52 Chris Johnson (6-3, 291, So.*)
64 Brian Rubenstein (6-0, 220, Jr*)^ 76 Justin Brown (6-6, 275, Fr.*)

As Colletto noted to Kuwada in the OC Register today - Lanis who is probably the most heralded recruit from the class of 2005 - was switched over to ST so that he can get some help from the TE lining up next to him:

"It's a little bit easier for a young guy like Aleksey, as a freshman, to play with a tight end next to him to start with. That's really the big reason (for the move)," said offensive line coach Jim Colletto, who is taking over for Tom Cable, now with the NFL Atlanta Falcons. "He'll still get stuck out there on an island some, but not quite as often as the other guy."
I am excited to see Lanis. Everyone has been raving about this kid. Our strong side could be imposing now that we have a specimen like Lanis lining up at the same side with Tevaga, the most talented and experienced of all the guys upfront.

It will be interesting how Chai does at C. He started the last 4 games last year after McCloskey went down and did allright. Apparently Skaggs is going to push him pretty hard to get some time with the first team. Also Joseph is just getting healthy recovering from a knee surgery. The kid has had a hard time with nagging injuries since he arrived in Westwood. Hopefully he can stay healthy in 06.

On the other side of the ball new DC Walker is not too concerned about the lack of size in our defense:
First-year defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker, who had worked in the NFL for seven of the last eight years before being hired at UCLA, says he's not worried about the Bruins' lack of overall size on defense.

"Look at Tampa Bay and Indianapolis, they have two defenses that are undersized by NFL standards," Walker said. "But every year they finish in the top 10 in overall defense. It shows that it's more of a scheme thing than talent."
Well we have heard the hype about Bruin playing the Tampa Bay style defense before. Let's hope it's not the same ole preseason hot-air/coachspeak coming out of Walker's which we used to hear from Kerr and other DCs who have tried to install a credible defense since Rocky Long left Westwood.

In other big news of the day Dohn reports that Dorrell will most likely suspend Hale and Ward:
Suspensions anticipated: Dorrell met with the player's leadership council Sunday but held off on announcing discipline for starting linebacker John Hale and reserve defensive tackle Jess Ward, both of whom pled no contest to misdemeanor assault last month.

Both said the pleas were done to avoid extravagant court costs.

Several players said they didn't think Hale and Ward deserved to be suspended for the Sept. 2 opener against Utah, but that may be a moot point. Dorrell's track record is to suspend players for at least a game when involved in an arrest.
Good move on the part of the team and great way to distinguish ourselves from the thugs from crosstown.

For more on first day of practice here is the official site which has 5 min interviews with KD and Kevin Brown. Sounds like Dorrell was impressed with freshmen Terrence Austin, Jake Dean, Chane Moline, Jeremy McGee and Sonny Tevaga. Per Dohn KD reportedly mentioned how Austin looked like a "veteran." Exciting stuff. Sure hope all the hype is justified. We are going to find out in 25 days.