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UCLA Football Notes: Duarte Poised for a Breakout Season, Goodman’s Strong Spring & Lack of Explosiveness at Tailback

News and notes from UCLA football program as Bruins head into third week of Spring Ball.

Andrew Weber-USA TODAY Sports

Hope everyone had a great weekend. If you missed it our IE Angel went to Westwood on Saturday to take in some practice and he came back with some extensive notes on the team. Bruins will get back at it tonight around 6 pm PST for MNF at Spaulding. Until then here are some tidbits to chew on.

UCLA beat writers Edward Lewis ( and Ryan Kartje (the OC Register) talked amongst themselves after Saturday's practices and shared some interesting macro on spring ball to date. WATCH:

Notes that stood out to me:

  • Ryan Kartje called the WRs one of the strength of the team specifically name-checking Thomas Duarte and Mossi Johnson (which is consistent with IE's notes from Saturday). Duarte according to Kartje may be poised for a "breakout" year while Mossi has been looking good even though his knee is reportedly around "85 percent."
  • Kartje also talked about how far UCLA's secondary has come along compared to last year when it was a big question mark. Good showing by young guys such as Tahaan Goodman, Fabian Moreau have solidified a group that was already anchored by studs such as Randall Goforth, Ishmael Adams, and Anthony Jefferson. Plus we are getting back Marcus Rios (who appears to be making an inspired come back) and getting new talents such as Adarius Pickett into the mix. Now if the light bulb goes on for Priest Willis - watch out.
  • Now Lewis and Kartje didn't just pump sunshine in the video. Lewis talked about how the Bruins may still be missing a home-run threat at TB spot. Perhaps Craig Lee can be that person but we will have to wait till this Fall.
  • Kartje is not all that "impressed" with the play at our OLB position As Kartje mentioned it could because we have been all spoiled by Barr from last two years. Maybe Kenny Orjioke would be the guy and he has had some good practices so far this spring.

Elsewhere - Jack Wang's Sunday notes has some good quotes from incoming freshman OL NaJee Toran, who has been playing with a "mean streak" this spring. While, Chris Foster used this Sunday piece to write about a walk-on Sam Handler's "Fabio-like" hair. Handler got rid of it for a very good reason:

Handler shed the hair for charity this past Christmas, donating it to Locks of Love, a nonprofit organization that provides hairpieces to financially disadvantaged people younger than 21 who had long-term hair loss because of medical treatments.

It's an organization Handler became familiar with through his family.

Kelly Proch, his great aunt, died from breast cancer. Eric Handler, his uncle, is a cancer survivor.

"Breast cancer is something that stuck with me," Sam Handler said. "I became aware of Locks of Love and had a soft spot for it."

Good for him.

Let's end the Monday early AM notes with couple of shots courtesy of @UCLAFootball:

If you are checking out the team at tonight's practice, please feel free to share extended reflections in the fanpost or just fire up your random football thoughts in this thread.