Yesterday was the start of two a days for the Bruin football team. The morning session ended up being a somewhat abbreviated session, though, due to the heat and the coaching staff was concerned enough about the heat that they delayed the start of the second session from 5:45 to 6:30.
It turned out to be a good call because the team had a very good evening session. There was one thing seen in practice last night which hasn't been seen much in other practices I've witnessed: yellow penalty flags. Back in Spring Practice, we noticed that, while the team had brought a full set of officials to practice, those officials didn't really seem to do much and they weren't throwing many penalty flags. Last night, there was a noticeable difference.
As the officials were leaving the field, I asked them if they were a Pac-12 crew and one of them responded that they were. I don't know if the Spring crews were Pac-12 crews or not, but the guys last night were clearly in mid-season form when it came to flag-throwing despite it still being mid-August. It was refreshing to see them calling the penalties. Hopefully, the team will learn from the experience of having these guys at camp.
The other thing which was very nice to see at camp last night was the number of blocking drills going on. Coach Polamolu had the running backs doing blocking drills towards the beginning of the session and, later, during 7-on-7s, the offensive and defensive linemen were working on blocking and pass rushing against each other. I believe it was BruinCore who a few weeks back was commenting on what kind of an impact Coach Bradley may have on the offense. I think this type of drill may be one way Bradley is doing just that by drilling his guys on pass rushing, it is bound to make the offensive line more effective when it comes to pass blocking.
Josh Rosen worked mainly with the second team on Saturday night while Mike Fafaul and Jerry Neuheisel got most of the first team reps. But, Rosen did make the most of his time last night by throwing two touchdown passes. As first reported by Jack Wang of InsideSocal.com, another guy who threw a touchdown pass was Defensive lineman Eddie Vanderdoes who threw the pass to Jordan Payton after receiving a handoff. Despite that, don't expect to see Vanderdoes taking snaps as part of the QB rotation.
After last night's practice, QB Coach Taylor Mazzone met with the media and discussed the quarterback battle. Here's a video from Michael Chavez and Ed Lewis from the BruinSportsReport.
Earlier in the day, several players and Coach Mora spoke to the media. Let's hear from Connor McDermott first. McDermott was the offensive player who was involved with Friday's fight with Myles Jack. He discusses the altercation along with the cohesion of the offensive line as well as his thoughts about possibly going pro as an underclassman next Spring.
Next up is Eldridge Massington. Watch as Eldridge discusses staying in touch with Brett Hundley, the battle to replace Brett, and practicing against what he thinks are the best defensive backs in the country. He also talks about "killing all the basketball players" and likens his game to Charles Barkley in the paint.
Sticking with the offensive theme, here is Mossi Johnson. Mossi talks a little about wanting to make plays on kickoff returns and catching balls from different quarterbacks.
The last interview from yesterday is Coach Mora. His post-practice press conference was particularly short. He did discuss the Chris Clark situation, saying that he will be ready to play versus Virginia. "We didn't bring him here to redshirt him. That's for sure," Mora said. He also previewed last night's practice.
Finally, we will close by sharing the Cover Two Recap, featuring Ed Lewis from the Bruin Sports Report and Joey Kaufman from the OC Register, discussing yesterday's morning session. As always, thanks to Ed and Michael for posting all of today's videos and sharing them. You can find more coverage from them at the BruinSportsReport.com.
That will do it for this episode of the Spaulding Report. The players have today off but practice will resume tomorrow with sessions currently scheduled for 8:30am and 5:45pm. Keep in mind that the schedule could be changed due to the impact of weather conditions, as happend yesterday when the evening session was bumped to 6:30pm.