* When I forget to write about intensity, as has been asked about recently, it’s because nothing sticks out. It’s neither good nor bad. Today…was great. One of the louder practices in recent memory, and that stems from a really good scout team look. Because of the rain, UCLA pretty much split the artificial turf into two fields, and maybe all of the commotion led to the intensity. But overall, very good practice.
* Junior defensive end Datone Jones, who broke his foot on the second day of fall camp, appears to be about a week away from having the walking boot removed, whereupon he can begin light jogging.
* Junior linebacker Steve Sloan missed practice with a sore right knee and had an MRI, the results of which will be discussed Wednesday night with his doctors. Rick Neuheisel doesn’t expect anything serious.
* Quarterback Nick Crissman has a torn labrum, the same injury that sidelined him in 2008, and he’s likely shelved for the year. Tough break for a good kid.
* Sophomore safety Dalton Hilliard, who sprained his shoulder against Washington State, missed his second straight day of practice and is doubtful for the Cal matchup.
* Courtney Viney had a great practice, picking off three passes and coming up with a really nice pass break-up in the end zone. Viney, don’t forget, started in Week 2 last season after Aaron Hester went down before being suspended for a violation of team rules and losing his starting spot.
* Ricky Marvray just continues to impress me, with both the way he fights to get open and fights for the ball in the air. Tremendous job of finding seams in the defense, but more importantly, he makes the difficult catch. He had a really nice catch on a deep ball from Prince on the sidelines and and another nice grab in traffic later in practice.
* I have to imagine Joseph Fauria is getting frustrated by his role, because his best strength is masked in the Pistol offense. He is a true red-zone threat, but with the way the offense has run the ball, you just have to stick with that. He had a couple catches on 7-on-7, and I think they’ll start to feature him more.
* Some good one-on-one matchups on the line during individual work. Cassius Marsh used a nice move to beat Chris Ward, Brett Downey was able to shield Damien Holmes from the backfield, Stan Hasiak got good leverage on Owa Odighizuwa and David Carter won a really physical battle with Kody Innes. Good things in store for the UCLA offensive and defensive lines, in my book.
* A couple people asked me if Owa was going to get the starting nod after working with the ones last week, and I kind of brushed them off. His ascension to the first unit really has been that sudden. Still, given Akeem Ayers’ hybrid position, Owa is not getting a true “start.” Essentially, if UCLA continues to run the nickel package as often as it has, Ayers really counts as a defensive end. But Owa will definitely get more and more time, and it’s deserved. Kid is a freak of nature.