The following post was written by UCLA die-hard Spencer Stueve who was at CSU–San Bernardino taking in the sun and some Jim Mora football. Here’s what he saw during the first day of the 2012 UCLA football fall camp.
The sun came up and the footballs came out. Or was it the track spikes? The 2012 UCLA football team is fast. Very fast. The first day of Fall Camp (#CampMora) brought many ups and a few downs as well.
Unlike during the Neuheisel era, the entire team came out early today before practice. During warm-ups, a few random tid bits stood out:
- Warm-ups focused on minor details, which were often ignored in the past. Offensive linemen did a drill where they touched their hand on the ground and then came up from their squat and repeat. This was to work on having a balanced stance. This is important to not tip off the design of the play. If they are “too light” on their hand, it gives away pass. If “too heavy” on their hand, it gives away run. Coach Klemm was very focused on everyone and took the time to individually point out whenever anyone’s stance wasn’t perfect.
- Receivers worked on press release during warm-ups. They released inside and outside. They worked on inside release against an inside shade from the corner and vice versa.
- Running backs, meanwhile, worked on running in a straight line while Coach Broussard tried to punch the ball out.
- Simon Goines is HUGE! He has a better build already than Will Oliver and Torian White. Often times, 300+ pound lineman coming out of high school have a sloppy look. Not with Goines.
- Devin Fuller is small, but has good throwing mechanics when his feet are set. He needs work throwing on the run, though.
- Just before stretching, everyone but the QB’s and OL ran to the far side of the field to work on special teams. After stretching, back to special teams.
- Ellis McCarthy is nursing an injury and will miss the beginning portion of camp, but once he is healthy, beware!! He is bigger than NFL defensive lineman right now.
After special teams, the team broke up into individual drills, with the exception of QB’s and receivers working together running routes. This period started off shaky and the coaches were very unhappy with the effort. Devin Lucien, on two separate occasions, got chewed out by Coach Mazzone and Coach Yarber for jogging after the catch.
Jogging is unacceptable from this coaching staff. Perfection is being demanded. Devin Lucien and the rest of the Bruins responded. The intensity for the remaining two hours was excellent. The coaches are holding everyone accountable, but they are acknowledging the good, as well. Lucien received praise from Coach Yarber during 1 on 1’s for picking up his effort and focus.
While the QB’s and receivers were running routes on air, the rest of the Bruins in individual drills were spread out and difficult to watch. I wasn’t able to see much of the defense throughout practice because they were so far away. What I did see, however, was a slower paced defensive practice. They worked on alignments/responsibilities. The slower paced period included a lot of mental work with everyone getting reps. The most notable freshman size wise was Kenny Orjioke. He is a very big safety, but may eventually grow into an outside linebacker.
After this period, the team came together for Team Run. Without pads, it is hard to judge the performance of the defensive front seven and the offensive line. The defensive line clearly dominated the offensive line, but without pads, they are at a huge advantage.
Kevin Prince got nearly all the reps in this drill, just as he did in warm-ups when walking through plays. Running backs split reps evenly and Jonathan Franklin clearly showed himself superior to the others. He broke off a few long runs that no other running back was able to do. The second most effective running back was Paul Perkins. He stays low in the hole and has a compact, well-built body that compliments his speed very well.
The starting linebackers were Zumwalt, Holmes, Larimore, and Kendricks. In this period, Zumwalt dominated at the line of scrimmage. He has improved his use of hands and separated from blocks well.
Next came a full team period. The first quarterback was Brett Hundley, followed next by Brehaut. Each got 10 reps. After those two, Millweard and Fafaul got 5 each.
Estimated Stats (hard to tell exact yards at the angle I was viewing):
- Richard Brehaut: 3/4, 18 yards
- Brett Hundley: 2/3, 12 yards
- T.J. Millweard: 3/3, 20 yards
- Mark Fafaul: 0/2, 0 yards
- Johnathan Franklin: 2 carries, 10 yards
- Malcolm Jones: 2 carries, 2 yards
- Brett Hundley: 1 carry, 5 yards
- Paul Perkins: 4 carries, 22 yards
- Damien Thigpen: 2 carries, 23 yards
- Fabian Moreau: 2 carries, 5 yards
After the team period, the team once again split up and 1 on 1’s between the WR’s and DB’s ensued. There were 25 passes thrown and it broke down like this:
- Lucien beat Price (touchdown), Manfro beat McDonald, Abbott beat Fauria, Hester beat Johnson, Scott beat Jefferson(touchdown), Bell beat Sermons, Sweet beat Adams, Rice beat Goforth, Handler beat Orjioke, Williams beat Rios(great route), Payton beat Combs, Lagace beat Harris, Sermons beat Eaton, Zumwalt beat Sweet, Hernandez beat Goforth, Manfro beat Troia, Fauria beat McDonald, Hester beat Johnson, Price beat Lucien, Abbott beat Davis(INT), Orjioke beat Bell, Adams beat Sweet, Jefferson beat Scott, Hilliard beat Mazzone, McDonald beat Handler.
- This all equals out to the offense winning the battle 12 times and defense 13. Very competitive. Lots of trash talk. Energy up.
The team then finished with a 7 on 7 period. In this period, Prince and Brehaut both looked sharp. Hundley looked even better. Towards the end, Fuller got a handful of reps and was impressive. Has nice zip on his ball and was decisive. Although practicing exclusively at QB today, do not be surprised to see Fuller move all over on offense as the season goes on. He is too explosive and too good right now to redshirt in 2012.
Be sure to follow Spencer on Twitter: @UCLASpencer44