Let's start with an update on who else - Anthony Barr. Barr was at Spaulding this afternoon but didn't partake in practice. Per Jack Wang Barr "wore a jersey, wearing shorts without full pads or cleats,' and "walked to the locker room midway through the session, returning to the field in less than an hour." When asked about Barr Mora just said "he was here" and left it at that.
Some of the highlights from Mora's comments:
- Despite missing few players from practice Mora's disposition was sunny when talking about health about the team. He raved about Sal Alosi, praising the Bruins' S&C coaching for doing an "amazing job" in getting the players "physically prepared" for fall camp. He suggested the guys have been in "better shape" than they have been in any point during the program saying they are "bigger, faster, stronger". Hopefully we will see this improvement translate into results on gamedays.
- Mora was asked about the budding practice rivalry between Shaq Evans and Ishmael Adams. The two have been going at it all camp - which often developed into heated skirmishes. Mora called it "fantastic" saying it's basically just "two really good players competing their tails off." That sounds about right to me. In fact the heated practice reports in recent weeks reminds me a bit of the skirmishes we used to hear about happening at those ultra-competitive practices at Southern Cal during the "glory days" of Cheatey Petey when the Trojans stacked talent all over the field.
- BTW speaking of DBs, Mora raved about converted CB Fabian Moreau - talking up his "athletic arrogance." Jack Wang more on Moreau's development as a defensive player in his second year in the program and how much work he has put into it. Hopefully, he has a great start to the season in a week.
- Mora also had some funny comments about "personalities" about various positions. When Foster asked which was the "dullest" position he said the "running backs," because they get hit "so often." Not surprisingly he called offensive line the "goofiest" and called them "awkward" and "funny." He then shared a story about what a group of Bruin OL were doing before the season opener last year. The story was ... uh ... well why don't you watch the video and tell us what you think.
In other personnel note of the day Chris Foster has a story on Bruin's new long-snapper - a position we haven't really had to think about much in recent years:
[Sophomore Christopher] Longo is trying to fill the void left by Kevin McDermott, who is in the San Francisco 49ers' training camp. McDermott replaced Christian Yount, who spent six seasons as the Bruins' long snapper and recently signed a five-year contract extension with the Cleveland Browns.
Longo is still working to live up to their standards.
"Here's the deal: Longo has never snapped in a game," Mora said. "I guess I need to see him snap in a game and put it on target a few times."
Problems with snaps, and Ka'imi Fairbairn kicks, on Tuesday led Mora to gather the specialists - kickers, snappers and holder - for a post-practice session in which he did all the talking.
"Longo has been pretty darn good," Mora said. "He had a tough night the other night; so did Ka'imi. I just want him to be consistent."
Let's hope Longo has a better start to his UCLA career than Ka'imi did last season. Yikes that was rough last year.
Elsewhere per Jack Wang:
Hip-hop mogul Sean "Diddy" Combs rolled up to Spaulding Field in a black Maybach. His entourage trailed behind in a black Cadillac Escalade. His son, Justin Combs, is a redshirt freshman cornerback.
A father coming by after practice to check in on his son. OMG, that's a shocking development.
And to prepare for UCLA, you have to be UCLA. To that goal, freshman quarterback Mayes will run the scout team offense and for the next nine days be Hundley, the Bruins sophomore quarterback.
Camp concluded Wednesday evening at Mackay Stadium with a 93-play scrimmage that focused on the first-team offense going against the second-team defense and vice versa. First-year coach Brian Polian said after Saturday's scrimmage that Wednesday's would be more of a dress rehearsal, but there was plenty of action, even if Polian wasn't thrilled with the energy level. At least there were no serious injuries to his already banged-up team.
"I thought the energy level was just OK," Polian said. "But to be honest with you, I'm not that surprised by it because this is practice 20-something. This is the end of training camp. We are kind of like a bald tire right now. I thought they tried to push through it.
We will gather more notes on the Wolf Packs as we finally start heading towards our first game week of 2013.