Week one of UCLA fall camp is in the books and the first week went as expected. Some injuries, some players struggling with the San Bernardino heat and a lot of players making names for themselves. With that, lets take a look at a quick week one recap of the 2014 UCLA Bruins fall camp.
First, a quick recap of the injuries sustained so far. Two players, LB Cameron Griffin and OT Simon Goines, had surgeries and will miss some time. Griffin hurt his shoulder and will have surgery to repair a separated shoulder, but there is no timetable for his return. Goines had surgery to repair his anklebone spurs and is expected back for the third game of the season. Another serious injury was a torn ACL for WR Sam Handler on Friday when he landed awkwardly on his leg at Friday’s practice.
Freshman LB Zach Whitley has been seen wearing a neck brace and there is no timetable for his return. TE/WR Thomas Duarte will be out a few more days while dealing with a hamstring issue and RB Jordon James should be returning Monday from his hamstring problems. The most recent injury is an undisclosed injury sustained Saturday to DE Owamagbe Odighizuwa. Owa missed the night session of Saturday practice and there has been no word on what the injury is.
The biggest story out of camp so far has to be how well the defense is performing. They are flying everywhere on the field and gang tackling every single play. The linebackers and secondary have been especially impressive during week one of camp. There is more than just Eric Kendricks and Myles Jack in linebacker group. Deon Hollins and Aaron Wallace have been having a nice camp and been getting first and second team reps over Kenny Orjioke. At ILB Isaako Savaiinaea has had a nice camp so far, but the breakout player of camp so far is ILB Kenny Young. Young has been turning heads out on the field and might have the edge in starting next to Kendricks.
The secondary was expected to be strong before camp started, but I don’t think anyone expected the unit to have as much depth as they do have. There are a legit eight guys who deserve playing time and the depth has caused a four star recruit to move to the offensive side of the ball. Freshman Adarius Pickett is the newest member of the RB crew and has vowed to be the starter before he leaves Westwood. As for the standout stars in the secondary, Fabian Moreau is even more elite than people expected and DB Tahaan Goodman has been another player vying for playing time in the loaded secondary.
All in all, the defense is really making the offense work so far during camp, which is a big positive for Bruin fans. The offense will be battle tested in camp and be ready for the tough defenses they face throughout the season. Speaking of the offense, the running backs have an edge to them this year and seem to be more physical. Nate Iese has been receiving a more extensive role and has been really impressive so far this camp. Steve Manfro and Paul Perkins have also had solid camps thus far. Another breakout player has been redshirt freshman WR Eldridge Massington. He has been catching everything that has come his way and has made some very impressive catches also. It has been kind of quiet on the offensive side of the ball, with the defense stealing the show, but expect the offense to be more of a factor in week two.
Some other news that came out during camp was the news that DE Kylie Fitts would be transferring from the program due to personal reasons. He tweeted that this was a personal decision and has nothing to do with playing time. In a non-football activity related camp move, the red QB jerseys are now gone and were replaced by yellow. Something that should have happened a while ago has finally happened and now Bruin fans can rejoice in not having to look at any red jerseys on the practice field.
All in all, week one was pretty solid and the Bruins need to continue to build off this week and bring it the remaining weeks. Here is to another great week of Bruin football and, hopefully, an injury free week. Be sure to check Go Joe Bruin everyday for your training camp recaps.