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Spaulding Roundup: Simulated Plays, Real Effort

Some notes following the UCLA Football spring practice from Monday afternoon.

Stephen Dunn

Good morning everyone. I hope none of you got a case of the Mondays yesterday, but if you did I'm sure BN proved to be a quick cure.

Before getting into the notes on yesterday's practice, I just wanted to share a nice article about Brett Hundley (which at this point is becoming redundant...every article about Brett can be nothing but nice!). Kevin Gemmell had some good tidbits about the phenom Bruin QB, and a couple of things stand out:

Below the shoulder pads, however, the evidence of hardcore training is far more empirical. Hundley has packed on about 17 pounds of muscle. He started his redshirt freshman season at 210 pounds and now checks in at a thick, yet lean, 227.

Can you say Sal Alosi? That's impressive. I loved this as well:

Head coach Jim Mora happened to run into Hundley during the Bruins spring break a few weeks back. Hundley had just gotten done with a lifting session. But before that, he was running stairs on his own in Santa Monica. The exchange went something like this.

Mora: "You going to relax this afternoon?"

Hundley: "Nope. Me and some of the guys are going to get ready to throw."

That's the kind of answer that gets coaches all giddy.

No, not the part about getting ready to throw on his own time, that's to be expected for a starting QB at UCLA. But the part about the stairs in Santa Monica! Those were awesome! Next for you Brett: run the "wall" at the end of Stone Canyon Drive. Then we'll talk.

Anyway, here is Coach Mora talking to the press after practice yesterday (sorry, can't find an embeddable video...again). A few things to note:

Monday's practice featured a lot of red zone work, and a couple of instances of simulating the start of a game. It seems there was quite a bit of situational practice, which is a good sign at this stage of spring camp.

  • Mora was pleased with the attitude and effort. Yes, we always seem to hear this from coaches, but for me it's a little more credible lately
  • The Devon Fuller package was brought up again, and it sounds like the coaches really are trying to make that a viable part of the playbook rather than a gimmick. They will expand on it though the practice featured some bad snaps.
  • As we saw a couple of times in the past season, the playbook will also feature some defensive guys on offense for a few plays here and there. I think that's a great way to keep the players excited and the opponent off-balanced.

Mora fielded some questions about a few players in particular:

  • - Tuiapupu and Epenesa have been competing very hard for the nose tackle position and essentially rotating evenly. Mora thinks those guys provide "silent production", essentially taking on double and triple teams and allowing linebackers to get freed up. Given our defensive scheme this is a great sign.
  • - At the OLB spot, it sounds like Aaron Wallace has quietly solidified his position opposite Anthony Barr, making plays and being quite effective.
  • - WR Kenny Walker is still learning how to run routes and utilize his great speed more effectively by varying it to confuse the defense.

On the injury front, Kylie Fitts and Willie Green could be back by the end of the week. It's tough for Fitts who enrolled early, but he still benefits from sitting in the meetings.

Go Bruins!