With their third practice day in the books, the Bruins now begin to gear up for this afternoon's fourth practice of fall camp in San Bernardino, with today being the first day the guys put on pads and got a little contact. Overall, the offensive coaching staff seemed pretty pleased with today's efforts, with OL coach Adrian Klemm giving Miami transfer Malcolm Bunche very high-marks:
But after declaring on Wednesday that he’d "found our left tackle" in Bunche, he has the luxury of two capable backup tackles in McDermott and Goines, the latter of which was a starter in each of the last two seasons.
Having an identified starter in a key OL position, with capable depth behind him is a luxury that Bruin fans could only dream of a few years ago as the Bruins put out an OL held together by duct tape and a few prayers. Klemm spoke with the media at some length about the offensive line, Redmond's injury, some of the depth and flexibility he has thanks to guys like Scott Quessenberry, and some other OL related issues (thanks to Ryan Kartje at the Orange County Register for posting the video online):
The good vibes weren't just limited to the offensive line, with the wide receivers corps having a solid day, with the exception of TE/Y Thomas Duarte - who is widely expected to build on a solid freshman campaign last year (16 receptions, 214 yards, 3 TD - as a true freshman) and who was called a "great weapon in the red zone" - going down with what appears to a minor injury, causing him to limp out of practice. As Kartje noted in the Orange County Register:
- Outside receiver Jordan Payton slid inside to the Y receiver spot during 7-on-7 scrimmages, and it’s possible he could see some time there this season.
- Freshman wideout Alex Van Dyke definitely looks the part of tall, strong, dominant receiver, and he's earned the praise of quite a few of his wideout counterparts. Payton called him "a freak". Eldridge Massington called him "a young Randy Moss". UCLA's coaches have been a little more controlled in their hyping of the freshman -- he's also been somewhat inconsistent, as expected -- but it's clear that they're happy with what they've seen so far.
- Speaking of Massington, he and Hundley really showed their connection on the field on Wednesday, hooking up on several nice throw-and-catches. I'm curious to see how their relationship might play out in deciding who in the receiving corps sees more balls from Hundley. An interesting possibility: Payton moves inside to the Y on some downs and Massington takes his spot on the outside, giving UCLA a four-wideout set of Massington, Payton, Devin Fuller, and Devin Lucien. Not too shabby.
But one of the main highlights for WR coach Eric Yarber was Devin Lucien stepping in as an upperclassmen leader and mentor to the younger receivers, something that made Yarber visibly pleased during his talk with the media today:
Hopefully this is the year that Lucien really steps up his game - the Bruins have been lacking a truly explosive playmaker in the WR corps for a long time and if either Lucien or Devin Fuller step up this year, it could allow Hundley to just completely destroy a lot of offensive passing records this season.
Now, if you've been unable to take in practice or keep a close eye on how things have been developing, you need to check out this excellent recap of our third day of practice by Ed Lewis and Ryan Kartje in their Cover Two recap, thankfully available for free at the Orange County Register (huge props to Ed and Ryan):
Really great recap by two of the best guys covering UCLA football. If you haven't done so already, you really should check out Ed Lewis' work at Bruin Sports Report - just like the excellent work done by our friends at BRO, Ed's work at BSR is really killing it and is worth the cost of a subscription.
Finally, getting back to practice, the Daily News posted a photo gallery of some shots from yesterday's practice session, which you can check out here, with plenty of shots featuring our QBs and their new yellow practice jerseys, since well, "TAKE OFF THAT RED SHIRT!"
Really exciting stuff so far for our Bruins and so far, this has all the makings of a very fun and very special year for UCLA football. The Bruins will get their fourth fall camp practice underway at Cal State San Bernardino this afternoon at 3 p.m. PST, so stay tuned for that and fire away in the thread with your notes, takes, and opinions on how the Bruins are shaping up in the San Bernardino sun.