Here we go. The first day of full pads gets started today at 4:30 (till about 6:45). Ben Olson will be in action. He sat out yesterday after going all out for three straight days. Rick Neuheisel decided to sit out his starting quarterback for a day before the team begins its first full pad session this afternoon and get into two-a-days mode starting tomorrow. Chris Foster from the LA Times reports that Neuheisel sat Olson out for a day so that his foot could "calm down":
"The foot was sore," Olson said. "It's no big deal. I had three days of working, a lot more than I had the last couple months. I'm just letting it calm down a little bit. I'll be out here tomorrow."
Olson said the decision was made with Neuheisel, and there were no plans for him to get his foot examined.
"It's a little bone in your foot, but it can cause you a lot of problems," Olson said.
Said Neuheisel: "You want your starter to get every rep he can, but you've got to be wise. He promised us he would be honest and tell us when it was bothersome."
More from Brian Dohn:
Chow said missing one practice was not an issue.
"If we had to play a game, he'd be ready, but this was just precautionary," Chow said. "You need reps, and you have to take as many as you can, but there's no need in risking something more serious."
Olson, wearing shorts, his black No. 7 jersey and a baseball cap, watched junior college transfer Kevin Craft take snaps with the first-team offense, and freshman Kevin Prince take the second-team snaps.
Craft, as he has been in the early stages of training camp, was inconsistent with his accuracy. He also had one play in which he tried to hold a pass, but wound up throwing the football into the ground about 10 feet from where he stood.
Actually according to the LA Times story (linked above) despite dropping couple of balls Craft "finished strong during 11-on-11 drills" and Chow noted how his young QB has made "tremendous improvement" since spring ball:
"He did some nice things and some quite odd things," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said.
"Dropping the football twice," Chow said. "I don't watch the quarterbacks play. I watch them on the tape and watch the receivers live. And twice I saw the ball rolling on the ground. I didn't know what happened.
"I think he has made tremendous improvement from where he was from spring ball. We have to accelerate the process a little bit. We've got a game in three weeks. If the lefty [Olson] goes down, we have to get someone else in there."
Craft said he has a grasp of Chow's offense, but added, "There are some things I need to work on and smooth out. A couple of the throws, getting into checks. I'm definitely more comfortable now than I was in spring."
Said Neuheisel: "Kevin is one of those kids who makes a lot of good plays and then he gets twisted up and reminds you he is real young."
Kevin is not the only new kid who had his share of mistakes. Dohn’s report mentioned the team having some fumble issues during practice:
UCLA fumbled the ball once in Thursday's practice, so ball-security drills were added to Friday's practice.
"There were four drills designed for ball security," Chow said. "We fumbled four times. So much for the ball security drills."
The problems included quarterback exchanges with the running backs, and freshman Derrick Coleman dropping the football while running untouched through a hole in the offensive line.
None of this should be a surprise. We can expect Coleman, Craft, and other freshmen and newcomers in this team to make their share of mistakes at this time of the year. It’s a process and we can’t be alarmed when these mistakes by players who are putting on the UCLA uniform for the first time in their careers show up during the early part of the season. CPBruinFan (who is back from his summer hibernation) at Bruin Roar made this important point in his post re this year’s newcomers:
It's easy to get excited about the new faces, but we also have to take some of these reports with a grain of salt. With the lack of success over the last few seasons, it is natural for us fans to latch onto any new player who is full of talent and promise. All of these kids could turn out to be outstanding players for UCLA, but each one has a long way to go in their careers. They'll make mistakes, drop balls, get burned in coverage, and miss a tackle or two, or ten. They are still young and they still need to develop both physically and mentally. The college game is much faster paced than in high school and the PAC-10 if chocked full of future NFL talent. It won't be an easy season for them, but it does give you a warm fuzzy feeling that the future of UCLA football looks bright.
In other word this all goes back to the idea of patience which we all have been preaching through this off season.
Going back to the notes above, it is interesting to see Prince getting reps with the second team in Olson’s absence. Does this mean he is ahead of Chris Forcier after first few days in camp? If you are out there at Spaulding next few days, might want to keep a close eye on this situation.
Also speaking of moving up the depth chart Dohn noted that "Strong safety Glenn Love worked with the first-team defense after spending the past few days with the second team." So Love and Moore must be locked in an intense competition for that starting spot in Lockett’s absence. I love it.
For more coverage on camp check out Kevin Pearson’s report in the Press Enterprise who reposts that Andy Keane has once again switched from OL to DT (as coaches anticipate that he will better opportunity to get PT in that position because at this snap shot of time UCLA looks a little thin at DT for next year). Keane seems to have a great attitude about it because he is willing to do whatever it takes to "make a contribution" to the team. To me it’s also interesting that coaches are willing to a kid out OL given the depth issues we are all aware of.
Also if you want to get full accounting on nicks and bruises click on any of the link posted above to get a full account. RG Glicksburg is still out due to "flu like symptoms" (whenever I hear that phrase it makes me think Cade’s game against Oregon at the Rose Bowl) and Josh Edwards will be reevaulated on Tuesday (Josh is recovering from a stress fracture).
Enjoy a beautiful Saturday.