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Spaulding Roundup: UCLA Football Day 5; Practice notes and a Bunche of news

The Bruins were back at Spaulding in pads this morning

The Bruins are still looking for another LB to line up inside with Eric Kendricks
The Bruins are still looking for another LB to line up inside with Eric Kendricks
Stephen Dunn

UCLA held practice #5 at Spaulding this morning and the Bruins were in pads again.

Jack Wang at InsideUCLA shared some notes from this morning's practice.  Many thanks to Wang for the news.

  • ILB Isaako Savaiinaea left practice with his left arm in a sling.  There was no report on the type or severity of the injury.  The ILB position has been a bit thin at Eric Kendricks works himself back from his end of season injuries, so there should be some good opportunities for some of the second and third stringers, including Jayon Brown and Ryan Hofmeister, to get some reps.  I expect that would include early enrollee Zach Whitley, though Wang notes he has been getting playing time at OLB behind Kenny Orjioke and is having early bumps in the road.
  • Caleb Benenoch continues to impress at the left tackle spot this spring, and he looked to be in great shape during a recent interview with Ralph Irvin. That makes the OL look like (from L-R) Benenoch, Malcolm Bunche, Jake Brendel, Alex Redmond, and Simon Goines, though we know that those spots can change on any given day.  Scott Quessenberry will probably get back to his natural spot at center as Brendel's backup as well as back up either guard spot.
  • Wang also tweeted that Nate Iese has settled into the fullback position, but that the coaches are including the FB spot in the passing game more this spring.  That helps open up options for the offense and it will be a good chance for Iese to get the ball in his hands some.  He didn't figure to get a lot of time as a running back, so this may be a good move for him, as well as another example of the coaches moving players to best utilize their skill sets. Coach Polamalu seems to be molding Iese after Jacksonville Jaguars star FB Greg Jones.  Ralph Irvin did a great video interview with Iese that you can see here via the official site.

We also got our first good up close introduction to the newest Bruin, OL Malcolm Bunche.  Not surprising for a college graduate and one who chose UCLA so he could continue his graduate education, he is very thoughtful and well spoken.  The transfer from Miami talked with reporters after practice on a number of topics.  He said he left Miami because he felt it was "time for a change" and he thought he deserved more playing time last season.  He notes there were a number of schools that were interested in him but he selected UCLA due to Coach Klemm and Coach Mora and "moral values", in addition to great personalities on the team and a "winning mentality".  He said he was willing to play wherever Coach Klemm asked him, and he appears to be settling in to the left guard position nicely.  Bunche also said that he received a 4th round draft grade from NFL scouts at at the end of last season, but he feels with another year he can get both a higher draft grade as well as his graduate degree.

Sounds like a Bruin.

You can see the whole interview here, courtesy of Ed Lewis at Bruin Sports Report.

video from BSR TV via YouTube.

Andy Holzman from The Los Angeles Daily News put together a nice photo collection from this morning's practice here.

We'll continue to update our UCLA Spring Football stream as more news and notes comes out, so stay tuned.  The Bruins next practice is Thursday afternoon at 4:30 pm.  That practice is free and open to all.  The Bruins will also practice on Saturday but that session will be closed to the public.