UCLA sophomore safety Dalton Hilliard suffered a concussion in today’s practice. As a precaution, he will be scheduled for xrays of the neck/shoulder area.
* Rick Neuheisel interrupted practice late to bring the team together for a brief pep talk as the beginning of practice lacked a bit of energy. It seemed to work, as the team was much more physical in the last few periods than early on.
* Sophomore quarterback Richard Brehaut continues to progress as the new starter, but the old demons still creep up occasionally. For every pretty deep ball was a confounding pass, either into coverage or forced to a wideout. Timing is improving, though there continue to be some issues.
* Brehaut sat out at the end of practice with cramps and missed the two-minute drill portion, which Darius Bell led with good results. He had a very, very nice pass to Josh Smith deep up the middle.
* UCLA had a scare late in practice as safety Dalton Hilliard crashed into cornerback Aaron Hester on a deep ball, with Hilliard on the ground for a while. UCLA trainers even brought out a stretcher, but Hilliard was able to get up and walk it off, and Neuheisel said after practice that it was just a stinger, and unrelated to his previous shoulder injury.
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The John Wooden den is open in the Hall of Fame. If you never had a chance to visit with Wooden at his Encino condo, and even if you did, this is worth a look. The family donated all of the contents for the room. It’s amazing how quickly UCLA put it together and that everything is as it was in his condo. Here’s the story on the den I wrote about for today’s paper.
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“It’s unfortunate. I decided to make a bad decision – a couple bad decisions – and it’s coming back to bite me. I’m really sorry to my parents. They didn’t raise me that way. It’s not something I’m proud of, but I’m just trying to get this week over with and move on from it. I’ve learned my lesson, and it for sure won’t happen again.”
* Richard Brehaut had a good-but-not-great day as he continues forward as UCLA’s starting quarterback. Brehaut still continues to hold on to the ball a fraction too long, but he moved very well today in and out of the pocket, particularly on a great mid-range throw in which he retreated three steps, felt backside and frontside pressure and calmly stepped up and delivered the pass.
* The bad side, however, came out at times. Brehaut had a mind-boggling interception late in team drills, and it just didn’t even look like there was anyone around. If this was televised, there would’ve been no offensive player in the frame. To his credit, he shook it off and was pretty solid the rest of the day.
* Brehaut’s rapport with Joseph Fauria was evident, as he hit Fauria on a couple of throws outside. All season, I’ve been surprised by the lack of Fauria in the receiving game, particularly given the great relationship he shares with Kevin Prince, as former high school teammates.
* With Sean Sheller suspended against Arizona, Micah Kia is getting the start at left tackle. Kia looked good in the run game during practice but also had some protection issues. He’s a little too bulky at left tackle and while he moves quickly forward, he struggles with quick lateral movement, and Arizona’s two great defensive ends should be troubling.
* With Sheldon Price still out, and likely out against Arizona, Andrew Abbott had two straight pass breakups during 7-on-7s. But with his size, he’s definitely a liability in run defense. He had a couple issues late in practice, but overall, pretty sound.