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Day 5 AM Practice Roundup - Injury Recap, Special Teams, RBs and the Offensive Line

A lengthy recap of this morning's UCLA Football Summer Camp practice in San Bernardino

Stephen Dunn

Another 8:30am practice is in the books, and you can watch Mora on video here.  He seems to be in a good mood (and I would be too if it was "only" 90 degrees in SB.)

The MOST important thing:

Mora jokingly (or maybe not so jokingly) said that he'll consider taking requests for music to be played at practice.  Apparently country is pumped in for Jerry Neuheisel, but he's looking for suggestions - acid rock, classic rock, hair bands, etc.  Tweet your favorite beat writer.  I'm sure they'll appreciate it. A lot.

Here is today's video.  Thank you to Edward Lewis and Bruin Sports Report.

First let's start with the injury updates:

  • OL Poasi Moala, DL Ian Taubler and OL Kevin McReynolds were showing concussion symptoms and they were sent home to Westwood for evaluations.  They will not be allowed to practice until they are cleared, so it is possibly they may miss the rest of camp.
  • Christian Morris was out this morning with flu symptoms.
  • Thomas Duarte will practice this evening, after going through individual workouts this morning.  It was most likely a cramp and not a pull.
  • Eddie Vanderdoes had his back x-rayed yesterday, but he felt better today.  Unsure if he will practice this afternoon.
  • Cassius Marsh knee is sore but he is fine.
  • Jordan Zumwalt was most likely dehydrated and will practice.
Practice this afternoon at 6pm will be in full pads, with live goal line situations and short yardage situations.  Enjoy, those of you attending this afternoon.

Myles Jack and Deon Hollins continue to impress the coaches.  Mora will continue pushing them in practice, but he says they have a tremendous skillset, but they need to get up to speed and see how they will hold up physically.  Jack was placed in dime coverage today, mostly to see how he'd do against the slot receivers.  While he may not be ready to cover the slot receivers, the coaches still want to see how he will handle the assignment, and apparently the coaches like that they are seeing.  Staying on the defensive side, Isaac Savaiinaea continues to impress the coaches, and he may be ahead of Jack at the moment, since he's already spent a year in the system.

Over on the offense, Mora stated that Coach Klemm wanted to name a starting OL soon.  The RG position, if you listen to Mora, sounds like it is Caleb Benenoch's to lose. He's been consistently playing with the first team and Mora praised his football IQ, strength, and understanding the game.  Probably the best thing about the OL, in Mora's view, is that he has noticed them less this year, which is a good thing.

He also touched on Brett Hundley's decision making this year, and they are working on him learning on when to throw the ball away, and working on him remembering to slide.  As for more read-options in the offense this year, Mora wouldn't give anything away and stated it would depend on the game plan.

The RBs is still a battle, but Jordon James is tentatively the #1 back, but with the number of plays the offense runs, they do not want to have to rely on one back, and all the backs - Steven Manfro, Malcolm Jones, Paul Perkins - will get reps when the season gets going.  Jordon James looks bigger than last year, and they are working on him running downhill more than his typical cuts.

Last year we had a terrible punt return game, but we will find a punt returner this year. Mora will lean on Ullbrich, as he hasn't really paid attention to special teams practice today, but Shaq Evans, Ishmael Adams, and Jalen Ortiz were working on punt returns today.

Speaking of Jalen Ortiz, it brought up a discussion on the use of the redshirt.  Mora says he's using the same philosophy he used last year - he doesn't want to burn a redshirt if it isn't necessary, and he wants the kids to get something out of the experience.  If a guy is just going to get five plays a game, it might not be worth it to burn the redshirt.  It will depend on how much of an impact the freshman can make in the game, and we know Mora isn't adverse to playing freshmen.

Enjoy the "mild" weather while you can.  Send in your music requests.