After Sunday's scrimmage, the Bruins returned to the practice field yesterday afternoon for their final 'real' practice of the Spring (Thursday's session will be non-contact and closed to the public). Seems like the team did well in their final full practice, with a bit of aggression between the players - but self-controlled. While the Defense was particularly 'fired up' for the practice, the offense had its share of standouts on Thursday:
* A really productive day for both Morrell Presley and Anthony Barr, and with their respective skill sets, UCLA would be nuts not to use them often. Say you have 70 offensive plays - between Presley, Barr, Cory Harkey and Joseph Fauria, they should see the ball 15 times. I know that's combining the F-back and tight end positions...but don't they basically do that anyway?
* Barr had a couple moves in heavy traffic that I haven't seen from him, and he seems to be building confidence.
Insomniac also noted Presley and Barr, as well as Malcolm Jones as having looked very good at practice in his fanpost describing he and Tyler's visit to Spaulding. While the skill players were having a day of it, the (injury ravaged) O-line struggle, with the center-QB exchange issues that were mentioned in an earlier practice post still evident.
We were really having trouble getting a good snap from the center to the QB in pistol. A lot of plays were dead before they started because of bad snaps. Hopefully, this was just an aberration.
Gold also noted the problems befalling the line, particularly in the 2-minute drills run at the end of practice. Keep in mind that we are currently missing a majority of the projected starters, but still certainly something to keep an eye on for any of you attending Saturday's Spring game.
Of course, there is more injury news arising from this practice. Wade Yandall suffered a concussion during practice, and will sit out of the Spring game, stretching the squad's offensive line depth ever thinner. In mixed O-Line injury news, some mixed news from the LA TImes and Daily News regarding one player's health status: The LAT claims that Kai Maiava is expected to participate in the Spring Game after missing recent practices due to an ankle injury, while Gold and the Daily News saying that Maiava is questionable. The Daily News also adds that Sean Sheller, Damien Thigpen and John Young will not play on Saturday, and that Tony Dye may see limited action.
Jon Gold has been posting portions of a Q&A with our new Coordinators, Mike Johnson and Joe Tresey on his Daily News blog. Part one is here, and a second entry is here. Gold also wrote a bit about the special teams, particularly the transition to a new special teams coach, and a new placekicker in his Football notebook.
This is actually a few days old, but I don't recall sharing this before - Tony Dye has been named to the Lott Trophy preseason watch list. The award, given by Ronnie Lott's IMPACT foundation, honors the nations top defensive player.
According to the LA Times, one of Neuheisel's recruiting targets, Oaks Christian CB Ishmael Adams was at Tuesday's practice.
Thursday's practice is closed to the public; the final chance to see the players in action this spring will be at the Spring Game - 5pm Saturday @ Drake Stadium.