After taking Friday off, the Bruins returned to the practice field on Saturday afternoon with a couple of special guests watching from the sideline.
Former Bruin and current Jacksonville Jaguars tailback Maurice Jones-Drew attended practice along with former Oregon and current Cleveland Browns safety T.J. Ward. Both are graduates of Concord De La Salle High School.
As well as having been a high-school teammate, T.J. Ward is MJD's cousin. Glad to see Maurice back in Westwood, and having family tagging along with him.
Before jumping into practice, a couple of updates on injured Bruins. As previously reported, offensive lineman Jeff Baca fractued his left ankle during Thursday's practice. Baca underwent surgery on the ankle that night, and is hoped that he will be able to participate in August's preseason camp.
"If we can get him full-speed in September, that would be terrific," Neuheisel said.
As gbruin wrote last month in our spring practice preview, Baca was expected to retake the starting role at left tackle that he held in 2008 and 2009, before sitting out last season. While the news that he may be sufficiently healed to be able to take part in late-summer activities, the news remains a blow to an already shallow unit. Additionally, F-Back Damien Thigpen tweaked his hamstring in practice, and may miss some practice time.
Kevin Prince continues to rehab following his Fall knee surgery, participating in individual drills during practices and is hopeful that he will be able to take part in more extensive drills before the end of practice season.
... He continued participating in a series of individual drills Saturday, UCLA’s first in pads. He had his knee examined in the morning and was told there is a chance he could partake in 7-on-7 drills next week.
Prince said he would be satisfied with any time before the end of camp.
Saturday saw the next step in the coaching staff's practice plans, the first day that the Bruins dressed in full pads and the first full-contact session of the Spring. UCLA posted a video clip of yesterday's drills on the youtube channel, which is embedded at the top of this post. A few notes on the session...Brett Hundley has been spending many late nights over the past weeks with his playbook, and relished the opportunity to put his increasing understanding into action in the first day of 'real' practice - along with a strong showing by Richard Brehaut.
Hundley showed good touch, excellent scrambling ability and surprising poise while sharing reps with junior Richard Brehaut, who started the final six games last year after Kevin Prince went down with a knee injury.
Brehaut looked sharp too, and with UCLA coming off a 4-8 season and Prince not expected to recover until the end of the summer, all three are competing for the starting job.
"Brett makes a lot of plays, both with his feet and his arm," head coach Rick Neuheisel said.
While the two Quarterbacks made a good showing, the rest of the offfense also picked up their game after previous practices that, according to OC Mike Johnson were not run at an acceptable pace.
"The other day was just not acceptable," he said. "It was way below the standards and the expectations that we want to accomplish, and I think [Saturday] we responded."
Coach Neuheisel also noted the increased effort and intensity exhibited on Saturday.
"I was very pleased, and I thought the tempo was up, which was good," he said. "The kids were excited to be out there, and I like the coaching staff. It wasn't perfect, but I'm pleased with the start overall, and I'm pleased with where we are"
The Daily News report includes further highlights from the session, including some physical plays by Joe Fauria and Malcolm Jones. Following today's off day, the team returns to Spaulding Field for their next practice session on Monday afternoon.