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UCLA Football: Jaelan Phillips is Healthy and Ready to Fly Around the Field

The Bruin defender spoke about his scooter accident as well as the new 3-4 defense on Monday.

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Jaelan Phillips, shown here during 2017 Fall Camp, is fully recovered from his two offseason surgeries that were needed after a car hit him on a scooter.
Joe Piechowski

According to Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News, yesterday’s practice was “probably the least eventful day since the first week” as the team was back in just helmets and shorts. Elijah Wade, Colin Samuel, Bo Calvert, Bolu Olorunfunmi, Otito Ogbonnia and Kazmeir Allen were all in yellow, non-contact jerseys while Kyle Philips did individual conditioning on the side but was not in a yellow jersey.

Kenny Churchwell missed a second consecutive practice while Je’Vari Anderson missed his fourth straight day.

Meanwhile, after practice, Jaelan Phillips met with the media for the first time since having two surgeries following an off-season scooter accident. Ben Bolch of the LA Times writes about how the accident wasn’t the result of Phillips being careless:

No, Jaelan Phillips wanted everyone to know, he was not being careless with a scooter when he sustained a wrist injury that forced him to watch spring practice in a yellow jersey.

“Imma clear things up about this ‘scooter accident’ thing,” the UCLA outside linebacker tweeted in April. “I got hit by a car … don’t get it twisted.”

Phillips ended his tweet with an eye-rolling emoji. He could have used the same symbol to summarize his freshman season.

During his interview yesterday, Phillips spoke about what he went through and what it’s like to be back. “It’s incredible being back,” Phillips said. “It was a long process. I was really diligent with getting all the physical therapy and everything I needed, but I’m back, healthy, ready to go. So, it was just a blessing to be back out here.”

Phillips also discussed how he prepared to play in the new 3-4 defense during the off-season when he couldn’t play. “Luckily, I played the 3-4 in high school quite a bit,” he said. “So, really, it wasn’t too much of a transition in terms of like the new playbook and everything, just being in meetings, watching, getting mental reps on the sidelines, mental reps in meetings, everything like that, asking questions...really just being diligent so that I knew when I came back I wouldn’t be behind.”

He continued by talking about what it was like when he was finally able to practice again. “It was fun. Definitely a little bit of a learning gap,” he said. “So, I just had to adjust to it, but I think I adjusted pretty quickly and I’m able to just kind of fly around now.”

“I love to play fast....I‘ve just been waiting my time and now it’s here I’m definitely gonna ball out,” Phillips concluded.

After Sunday’s practice, we heard from Leni Toailoa. Yesterday, his brother Lokeni met with the media.

Of course, he also discussed the loss of Josh Woods. “It hurts I’m not gonna lie,” Toailoa said. “Josh is one of my best friends. We grew up together, went through the recruitment process together, and just coming here and playing together was a dream of ours.”

“Everyone in the inside backer room...we kind of knew we just have to do this season dedicated to Josh. So, we all had to add more.”

Toailoa also spoke about what Tyree Thompson, one of the potential replacements for Woods, is like. “Tyree’s s a funny guy,” he said. “He’s funny, but he’s athletic. He can run. Running has never been an issue for him. He’s a guy that can definitely run sideline to sideline and you won’t have to worry about that part about him.”

Today’s interviews with Jaelan Phillips and Lokeni Toailoa are courtesy of UCLA Athletics.

In addition to yesterday’s player interviews, I found a very interesting interview with new UCLA Football Head Strength and Conditioning Coach Frank Wintrich. In the interview, Wintrich discusses a few aspects of the strength and conditioning program. It also includes a discussion about some of the different aspects of the sports science parts of the strength and conditioning program.

It provides a good glympse into the program that the players have been raving about.

Thanks to the Iron Neck for sharing this video on YouTube.

Finally, this morning, we will conclude with a video of the Bruin quarterbacks throwing to receivers and tight ends from yesterday’s practice because the quarterback battle is still the top position battle on this year’s team. Thanks to Matt Joye from Bruin Report Online for sharing this video.

Go Bruins!!!