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Spaulding Roundup: Dealing With Adversity

We have some bad news and good news to get you going on this Humpday. We will start with the bad. Another week, another set of injuries at Spaulding Field. Freshman OT Jeff Baca was hurt at practice yesterday:

Tackle Jeff Baca hobbled off the UCLA practice field Tuesday, creating more turmoil for the Bruins' offensive line.

Baca, a freshman who had settled in at left tackle, suffered what was called a strained hamstring during practice. He will be re-evaluated today, but there were concerns among coaches that he tore the left hamstring.

The injury resulted in another shuffling of the offensive line. Micah Kia moved from right tackle to left tackle. Mike Harris worked out with the first team at right tackle.

Well if the coaches are worried, they sure are not showing any sign of panic. Palcic if anything sounded prepared for this setback:

"Even before Baca hurt his hamstring, I was going to give Harris a good look," offensive line coach Bob Palcic said. "He's worked hard. He's been doing a nice job in one-on-one pass protection. I know he's hungry. He's come up to my office and asked to get extra work."

Palcic said he has other options. Right guard Nick Ekbatani can move to right tackle and Scott Glicksberg or Darius Savage can play guard.

Meanwhile, on the defensive side Stokes will have arthroscopic surgery:

Defensive end Reginald Stokes will undergo arthroscopic surgery on Thursday to clean up a frayed piece of meniscus in his left knee and will likely not return until the Nov. 15 game at Washington.

Stokes, a redshirt sophomore, started the past two games in place of Tom Blake, who is out indefinitely with a sports hernia.

Again, the response from CRN is nothing short of Howlendesque:

"No worries," Neuheisel said. "We'll get the next guy ready to go."

CRN also addressed the issue of why Bell is getting reps despite not being 100 percent: 

"He's having a hard time getting away from anybody," Neuheisel said. "Obviously, he's going to take that much more of a pounding, but he still brings a lot to our football team, and his (pass) protection is valuable, and all that kind of stuff. He's still important to us."

Bell was UCLA's leading returning rusher, averaging 5.6 yards per carry before tearing a knee ligament midway through last season. He recovered from that injury, but the ankle sprain continues to limit him.

Bell is UCLA's second-leading rusher (187 yards) despite having more than twice the carries (71 to 32) as leading rusher Derrick Coleman (191 yards). Bell is averaging 2.6 yards per carry heading into Saturday's contest at California, but leads the Bruins with five touchdowns.

"Anybody who watched me play previously knows right now things aren't really going my way," said Bell, who tried to downplay his injury. "Everybody knows I'm not 100 percent. I know I'm not 100 percent, but whatever percent I am, I can help this team in some way, shape

I think there is not much more we can say on this issue at this point. If the brain trust of CRN, Chow, Wayne Moses, and Palcic think Bell helps them with his experience in pass protection, then they deserve the benefit of the doubt given their proven track record in this game (something that was missing from the previous staff). I still hope though we can find a way to increase the reps of Derrick Coleman.

So now that the bad news is out of the way (which coaches are dealing with and not using to make excuses), let’s turn to the good stuff. UCLA football recruiting is on fire. After starting the week with getting a commitment from stud OL Stanley Hasiak, Bruins picked up two more:  Pomona (Calif.) Diamond Ranch cornerback Brandon Sermons and Bloomington (Calif.) fullback Jayson Allmond.

Here is what Sermon’s coach told Dohn re. his commitment to UCLA:

"I played under (UCLA defensive coordinator) DeWayne Walker, and he and Brandon are very similar," said Diamond Ranch coach Roddy Layton of his days with Walker at Mt. SAC. "They're quiet, straight shooters. They're pure work. You want to be there and play for him. He's very quiet, very technical and very hard working, and Brandon's that way."

 And here is Allmond:

"It's getting to the end of my senior season and I talked to a lot of schools, and narrowed it down to three schools, Nevada, UCLA and Fresno State,'' Allmond said. "What got me with UCLA is they made me feel real comfortable when I came to their games, and made me feel like I was part of the family and I wasn't even part of the team yet."

Sermons is listed at 6-1, 180 on’s database. I like the height for a DB. We can always use DBs with some size. As for Allmond (6-0.5, 257) his highlights behind subscription firewall in’s database is pretty mouthwatering. The guy can block and catch. He on paper (in those raw video highlights) sound like a prototype Chow fullback. muircoach has more thoughts on these two in FanPost section. To echo his point no doubt how the coaches have us on the right track. Not bad at all given all the adversity they have had to deal with in always difficult first season in a rebuilding program.