The UCLA Football team held its first practice of Fall Camp yesterday. Unlike in years past, the team's first practice, and first week of practice, is being held on campus, rather than in San Bernardino.
Overall, Bruin Coach Jim Mora was pleased with the first day of practice, calling it a "very crisp practice" and "much better than the first day of Spring."
He started his comments by offering the condolences of the UCLA Football program to the University of Arizona where offensive lineman Zach Hemilla died in his sleep Sunday night.
Of course, he also mentioned that Cordell Broadus is no longer a part of the team.
Josh Rosen also spoke with the media after practice and he was asked about what he learned after the social media controversies that came up in the past year. He replied by saying that he's learned that he needs to be a little more mature and that he needs to convey his thoughts better. He understands that he's a role model for kids. Rosen said, "I need to convey my message gently but effectively."
The play of the day was made by 294-lb. fullback Ainuu Taua who ran over a defender. Both Mora and Rosen spoke about it. Mora said:
Well, I don't want to see collisions when we don't have pads on and I don't think Ainuu meant to run him over. I think he got on track and maybe he couldn't get off track at 294. I know the team enjoyed it. It's a great learning opportunity for [true freshman] Keyon [Riley]. First of all, Mossi [Johnson] was blocking down the field pretty well, so [Keyon] has to learn how to separate from the block. It showed us Mossi's back with his tenacious self and, then, if you remember, there was a play like that in Spring with Ainuu where he ran over somebody down the field. So, if you keep seeing things like that out of a guy like Ainuu, you go "Maybe, we'll throw him the ball in the flat and let him turn it up and see if a 180-lb. corner wants to tackle a 294 pounder." I'm sure they'll try to take him low. So, he'll have to learn how to hurdle....
Meanwhile, Rosen looked at it more from the big picture. He said:
[Ainuu can do] a lot. We changed up this offense but we've got the pieces to do it and we had some guys in positions that, maybe, they weren't thriving in. So, we moved them around a little bit...Ainuu and Cam....It's awesome because the more physical you are, the more honest the defense line has to be which buys you a little more time. The quarterback's best friend is the running game.
After practice, there were plenty of interviews. Thanks to Edward Lewis from the Bruins Sports Report for posting all of these. First up is Josh Rosen.
Soso Jamabo spoke primary about the difference between last summer and this summer. He discussed the strength and conditioning program Sal Alosi put together and how he feels like he's in great shape after adding almost 15 pounds since last year.
Next up is center Scott Quessenberry. He takes some time to discuss his health, the state of the offensive line and what it's like rooming with Josh Rosen for camp.
Jaleel Wadood spoke about the difference between starting camp in Westwood vs. San Bernardino as well as some of the non-football activities the team is doing. He mentioned that they had watched "Remember the Titans" on Sunday night and would be playing dodgeball later on Monday. He seemed to have some targets in mind for dodgeball.
Eli Ankou spoke about being surprised to see Eddie Vanderdoes back next to him on the defensive line. "It's really good to have him back," Ankou said.
Kenny Young talked about getting into a championship mindset and how he wants the team to take things to the next level. He also discussed changes that were made to the strength and conditioning schedule this summer compared to last summer.
And, finally, we have Coach Jim Mora just to be complete even though we already posted his post-practice presser on the article about Cordell Broadus.
Thanks again to Edward Lewis from the Bruin Sports Report for all of today's videos.
The Bruins' second practice was this morning at 9:30 and we'll have a report from today's practice posted as soon as possible.