UCLA took to the intramural field this afternoon for their third practice of the fall, and the first featuring shoulder pads (note: this does not mean full pads).
This is my first Spaulding Report, and I’m going to be upfront and not bury the lede, so let’s start by talking about the injury scares. The big one was to Takkarist McKinley, who walked off the field at one point during the 11-on-11 drills holding his shoulder. Thankfully, it does not appear to be a serious injury, as McKinley returned later in the practice to participate in the PAT drills. Coach Bradley was asked about McKinley, and stated:
He had to put up with me getting on him all day. I think he’s ok, you know. [Medical staff] just took a precautionary measure with him, and he may be sore tomorrow but he should be ok.
Tak, for his part, downplayed the injury, remarking that "everyone gets injured, no one is completely healthy during camp."
The other big scare came to Bruins Nation favorite Deon Hollins, who appeared to roll his ankle on a play. The injury appeared minor, as Hollins waved off the medical staff and defensive line coach Angus McClure and continued as a full participant for the rest of practice. Still, ankle injuries can linger, so we at BN hope everything is ok for Hollins. Bradley had this to say about Hollins:
Yeah, he got rolled up on the one...but I think he’ll be fine, he fought through and came back and practiced the rest of the day. Pushed himself hard, which was good to see. When I saw that happen, how it happened both of those guys were on my side over there, and the tackle just kinda rolled him up a little, but it was just rolled on the ankle and on the knee, and he’ll be fine.
As for more general practice notes, the move to pads seemed to have an obvious spark for the defense, and the coaches’ willingness to allow for some tackling led to the defense having its best day of practice so far, flying all around the field and being physical. If I may editorialize for a bit here, with the new offense being implemented, the defense will have to be a strength for the Bruins to realistically compete for the Pac 12, and so far that side of the ball seems to be playing with a chip on its shoulder. Hopefully that plus the move to a 4-3 base, which Bradley has utilized in the past to great effect, will lead to big results.
Rosen looked much better compared to the second day of practice, doing a better job with his throws and accuracy, and seemingly having more time in the pocket to work with today.
And, in a bit of offensive line watch, the current setup with the ones are (left to right): Connor McDermott, Kenny Lacy, Scott Quessenberry, Poasi Moala, and Kolton Miller.
Now on to the interviews! Thanks to Edward Lewis at the Bruins Sports Report for posting all these. Since he ended up as the big topic for all the interviews, let’s start with the returning Eddie Vanderdoes.
EVD talks about his injury suffered during the Virginia game, and how devastating the injury was emotionally. Eddie also states that he likes the change to the 4-3, remarking that it’s the defense he played in high school, and that the change better allows them to utilize Takk and Hollins on the outside.
Takkarist McKinley spoke about how important Eddie’s return is, and how confident he is in the D-Line. McKinley also set some goals for the line for the upcoming season, and honestly I would not be against them.
Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley also discussed Eddie’s return. He also says the biggest focus is on the little details, and getting the fundamentals right. He also mentioned that the coaches are also trying to make sure guys feel comfortable at multiple positions in case the defense gets ravaged by multiple injuries again. That has to be music to many a Bruin ears.
Finally, Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure gave more of a general overview of the defensive line, including talking about the second string and incoming freshman Boss Tagaloa. Interestingly enough, none of the reporters asked Angus about the possible injuries to two of his biggest players.
Once again, thanks to Edward Lewis at Bruins Sports Report for getting these videos up.
The next UCLA practice takes place today at 9:30 AM.