On Gaddy/Bradley

With Washington-based basketball recruiting targets and Bellarmine Prep teammates Abdul Gaddy and Avery Bradley losing earlier than anticipated in an AAU tournament in SoCal, it apparently did UCLA no favors.
I was hearing Gaddy and Bradley were going to stop by campus Friday, the first day players could meet up during unofficial visits, to get a look around campus and talk to the coaching staff.
Instead, the word I received was both were heading home and would not come by campus.

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Neuheisel on scheduling

A number of folks asked me about Rick Neuheisel’s non-conference scheduling philosophy, and recently he talked about it.
With he knowledge of UCLA playing non-conference games against Tennessee, BYU and Fresno State this season, and with Tennessee and Kansas State on the 2009 schedule and Kansas State and Texas on the 2010 schedule, here is what Neuheisel said.
“You should play one marquee non-conference game a year,” Neuheisel said. “One marquee game that you are guaranteed a national audience and give your fans that intersectional game where they go every other year to a big name place and those other two games, you have a great chance to be successful. …What you don’t want to do is put yourself in harm’s way of missing the post season because you over scheduled the non-conference.”
I asked Neuheisel about moving the Tennessee game to the opener and making it so there are seven straight games (Sept. 13-Oct. 25) without a bye, and he said it was worth the reward.
“But I get 12 days between game one and game two, which is where you get your biggest improvement,” he said. “I was going to play Tennessee anyway and now I get a marquee game where they are talking about UCLA for a week on the most watched sports network (ESPN) and we’re getting publicity and if you can answer it with a good performance you can parlay that.”

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More coaching visits

Having the Dallas Cowboys training in Oxnard is giving the UCLA coaching staff something to do. Not only did members of the offensive staff go Monday, but Bruins defensive coordinator DeWayne Walker also went this week to check out the Cowboys and see if there was anything he could incorporate into UCLA’s defense.

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Drew Gordon update

I spoke to UCLA power forward Drew Gordon the other day, and he said his ailing foot was doing fine. He is playing in the men’s gym, but not as much as some of the other players because UCLA wants him to take it easy and not push his foot too hard.
In watching him in the few games I saw, nothing stood out as he just floated up and down the court. He said he anticipates being ready well in advance for practice and isn’t experiencing pain in his foot, which he broke late in his senior season.

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Sheller update

I spoke to injured UCLA offensive tackle Sean Sheller, who is recovering from a torn ACL and a torn MCL, as well as some nasty abrasions to his ankle, as a result of the off-road vehicle accident he had last month, and he said rehab was going well.
Sheller said his goal is to be ready by spring ball, and that he didn’t believe the injuries he sustained were career-threatening.
As for gaining a sixth year of eligibility, that is a decision for the future. He cannot apply for it until after his fifth year, and since he will be a red-shirt sophomore this season, he has plenty of time to decide on a possible sixth year.
One thing working in his favor, though, is he missed practice most of his freshman season because of a knee injury.

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Coaches camping

Members of UCLA’s offensive coaching staff, including offensive coordinator Norm Chow, paid a visit to Dallas Cowboys camp in Oxnard to take in practice, and perhaps learn a thing or two.
Also, UCLA offensive line coach Bob Palcic visited the Houston Texans for the same purpose.

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Bell release

This is a release from UCLA about Kahlil Bell being medically cleared for practice:

UCLA senior tailback Kahlil Bell, the team’s leading rusher in 2007, has been cleared for full practice. UCLA opens Fall camp next Tuesday, August 5.

Bell tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee in the first quarter of the Washington State contest (game number eight) and had surgery a few weeks later. He did not participate in Spring Practice.
Bell rushed for 728 yards in UCLA’s first seven games and had already gained 67 yards on four carries, including a 50-yard touchdown, when he was injured in Pullman, WA. He finished with 795 yards and his average of 99.4 yards would have ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in 2007 (he did not play enough games to qualify for the rnakings).
Redshirt freshman tailback Raymond Carter, who injured his right anterior cruciate ligament on the second day of Fall camp a year ago, was cleared for full practice a few weeks ago.

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The Waiting Game

I ran into former UCLA football players Chris Markey and Kevin Brown on campus this week and both said they are staying in shape and waiting for an NFL team to call.
Brown learned quickly what a meat-market business the NFL is while with the Seattle Seahawks. He was getting ready to head out for his first practice of camp when word came the Seahawks signed draft pick Lawrence Jackson, and Brown was the casualty. He was released before he could get on the practice field.

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