Depending on who you ask and how they’re feeling, the Bruins’ week off couldn’t have been better.
The last time we took a look at UCLA football (5-4, 3-3 Pac-12) was Wednesday, and a whole group of players were injured or limited during the session. . The Bruins didn’t have a game on Saturday, so with a little extra time to heal, there was a whole new look Monday morning at Wasserman Football Center.
Coach Chip Kelly said many of his players would have liked to play to make up for the two losses they suffered in the previous two weeks – and forward Qwuantrezz Knight supported that mindset when he spoke with the post-practice media – but the coach is surely happy the week off came when it happened.
Quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson was a full participant on Monday after injuring himself against Oregon on Oct. 23 and missing the Oct. 30 game against Utah. He had his thumb bandaged at first, but lost the wrap and returned to normal in the second training period.
Third-string quarterback Chase Griffin wasn’t a full participant, but he was throwing with a coach on the side of the rest of the drills in his stance group, so there was at least some progress there.
Linebackers Jordan Genmark Heath and Caleb Johnson were both absent or extremely limited last Wednesday, as was right tackle Alec Anderson. While Anderson wasn’t a full participant on Monday, he was at least back on the pitch in uniform, and Genmark Heath and Johnson were deep into linebacking and defensive drills.
Kelly also said ahead of practice that defensive lineman Jay Toia, who was filmed threatening students in an elevator on October 31, would face disciplinary action behind closed doors. This discipline, for the moment, does not appear to involve a suspension, as Toia was again a full participant in training on Monday, as he was on Wednesday.
Players who were seen in the injured area next to the training bikes included the usual suspects – linebacker Kobey Fitzgerald, running back Christian Grubb and defensive lineman Sitiveni Havili-Kaufusi, neither of whom played this season or has a significant track record. snaps in the game.
On the pitch, there seemed to be a lot more energy than there was during the bye, with reinforcements showing up and morale was high.
In the opening kickoff return exercise, running back Deshun Murrell and wide receiver Bradley Schlom were once again the returning scouts. The starters chasing them were loud and rowdy, and striker Martel Irby got the most attention when he shouted in celebration after a rep and jumped onto safety Shemar Martin on the way to the back to the starting point.
Linebacker Damian Sellers still wore his white defensive jersey, unlike the Boy Scout team he had worn over the previous two months, even with Genmark Heath and Johnson back. He looked good in linebacker position drills and was a starter on special teams.
Cornerback Devin Kirkwood looked athletic and basically healthy like never before in the defensive backfield. He almost pulled off a crazy one-handed grip on the blanket, but narrowly dropped it.
The tacky music choices played over the speakers were also back, as Journey’s âDon’t Stop Believin ‘â made its signature comeback on Monday. After that track, there was “Ain’t No Stoppin ‘Us Now” and “Won’t Back Down”.
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