The Bruins made it through another day of double practice sessions on Monday. IE Angel has the recap along with a great set of notes that he took while observing the evening practice session. Definitely take a few minutes for a read through if you have not already done so.
One of the big stories coming out of Bruin camp was the return of the three incoming freshmen who were originally kept from fall camp due to 'not meeting standards'. Jordan Lasley and Dwight Williams were at practice as Chris Foster tweeted last night. They will spend their first 3 days working on conditioning before joining the rest of the team later in the week. Aaron Sharp was delayed in making it per Ryan Kartje and is expected to arrive in time to join Dwight and Jordan today. The players were originally suspended from the team through the season opener at Virginia, but, according to Jack Wang's video below in his post-practice session, Mora mentioned that the coaches began considering shortening that separation in the last couple of days. Wang posted this quote to his InsideUCLA blog:
"It was something I’ve been thinking about for a couple of days," Mora said. "With bodies going down and knowing we could have 105 (on the roster), gave it a lot of thought, talked about it as a staff and felt like it was time to bring them in and let them start competing."
As you can see in the video, Mora noted just how good Eldridge Massington and Kenny Young look for a pair of freshmen; Young in particular was tabbed as not playing (well, practicing at least) like an 18 year old in his first taste of college football after being moved up to practice with the 1st team defense last night. Chris Foster elaborated on the early success of the two freshmen in the LA Times this morning.
Unfortunately not everybody was at their best yesterday. IE Angel noted that the RB's and WR's were lagging during bits of practice, and after Myles Jack was sent back to the dorms early in the AM session, the beat writers observed Craig Lee being dismissed early last night. While talking to the press in the video, Mora noted that the team was not showing the level of commitment early on in the session that he expects of them - or what will be needed to reach their goals this fall.
On the UCLA injury front, in the press session video, Mora confirmed that Zach Whitley did suffer a concussion a few days ago at practice, with his timetable for returning to practice yet to be set. He also said Jake Brendel left practice on a cart after injuring his left knee and, according to Wang, coaches are hoping that he will just need a couple of days off. Jack also reports that Randall Goforth and Marcus Rios both missed portions of practice with minor issues.
In injury news throughout the conference, Oregon was hit with a big blow on Monday, according to an AP report on FoxSports.com, when it was announced that 3-year starting left tackle Tyler Johnstone will be lost for the season due to a torn ACL. Across town, Scott Wolf of Inside USC reported that Southern Cal has also lost defensive end/linebacker Jabari Ruffin to an ACL injury. According to Gary Klein of the LA Times, Ruffin was considered in the hunt for a starting spot and at least a member of a defensive line rotation that has now lost two members to season-ending injuries. This, by the way, was always going to be the main blow of the NCAA's sanctions - not an inability for them to get elite talent, but to be able to stockpile the depth at key positions to allow their team to make it through a full campaign at something close to peak effectiveness.
This morning, Sports Illustrated announced Myles Jack as one of its preseason 1st team All-Americans. While I am not that big on preseason rankings, watch lists or 'awards', they can be beneficial in helping to narrow down players and teams to really pay attention to during the season, but, at the risk of losing sight of those who breakout during the fall (Myles was an exception to this rule last fall), it is great for Myles' excellence to continue to be recognized by the national media.
Saturday will be the team's last day practicing in San Bernardino, and I would like to remind anyone who may be able to make that trip that the team will be holding a fan appreciation day during that final practice. Free food and team posters will be available as well as 2-for-1 ticket sales for the home opener v. Memphis, but the players are not expected to be available for autographs.