The UCLA football team resumed spring practice this week and there have already been some considerable changes to the roster, one that includes the loss of senior leader Keisean Lucier-South.
The UCLA football team was back at it this week as they resumed spring practice. Though there has not been a lot to write about as far as scheme and gameplay, there have been plenty in regards to personnel.
The biggest development is that senior OLB Keisean Lucier-South will not be with the team for the rest of spring. Head coach Chip Kelly said that he will be spending that time focusing on his academics. When asked if Lucier-South was still enrolled, Kelly said he did not know, but added that he should be back with the team by the beginning of summer.
This is not promising as KLS is arguably the best defender and pass rusher on the team. Though the Bruins have pretty good numbers among the LBs heading into next season, this also affects depth in regards to talent and experience. The Bruins have depth, but more than half are under classmen.
UCLA’s defense was already having issues with the pass rush and now have to look for yet another option on the edge. Odua Isibor and Elijah Wade have been solid options, so hopefully the are able speed up their development.
Hopefully, this is just a snag with Lucier-South and we can see him later in the year as Kelly stated.
Other News and Notes
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Demetric Felton, who is listed as a wide receiver, has been getting a lot of reps running the ball. Though he is not completely working with the running backs, Kelly has realized his potential as a ball carrier. Expect to see Felton lining up in the slot and in the backfield this fall.
With the news that KLS is out for the foreseeable future, the Bruins caught a break and gained another linebacker as the “Pain Train” John Ward has enrolled early and joined the team for the second part of spring practice. Ward was mostly getting up to speed this week as he was working next to OLB coach Jason Kaufusi. When he did participate in individual drills it was with the DE/OLBs, so it looks like he might be molded into a pass rusher.
Freshman QB Chase Griffin, who enrolled early but did not throw a single pass in the first two weeks of spring practice due to a wrist injury, was finally throwing the rock around. Though Griffin was mostly working in individual drills, it is good to see last year’s Texas State Player of the Year full participating in practice. This is also good as walk-on QB Josiah Norwood has moved over to the receiver spot. Currently, Dorian Thompson-Robinson is QB1 with Austin Burton, who continues to improve, as his backup.
The following players are still in yellow/non-contact jerseys: DB Kenny Churchwell, WR Ethan Fernea, OL Mohamed Khalil, WR Dymond Lee, DB William Nimmo, and LB Josh Woods.
Another Bruin joined the yellow jersey club this week as WR Michael Ezeike was apparently injured in Tuesday’s practice.
UCLA resumes practice on Saturday at Spaulding Field. The UCLA Spring Game will be on Saturday, April 20 at 11 a.m. at Drake Stadium on the campus of UCLA.