Depth chart released

UCLA released a “tentative” depth chart today. Here’s an update on some of the interesting position battles.

*The strong guard spot lists Chris Ward or Albert Cid.

*Cory Harkey remains ahead of Joseph Fauria at tight end.

*The wide receiver position opposite Rosario lists Shaq Evans or Randall Carroll.

*Cassisus Marsh is ahead of Nate Chandler at right defensive tackle.

*Glenn Love beat out Jordan Zumwalt at sam linebacker.

*Dalton Hilliard beat out Dietrich Riley at strong safety.

“He was just really consistent,” Neuheisel said of Hilliard. “I think coach Tresey has shared with all of those kids that they’re all going to play. This competition doesn’t need to stop just because we’re going to play a game.”

*Jeff Locke is listed to kickoff, punt and hold with the place kicking spot listing all three candidates.

*Josh Smith is your kickoff return man while Taylor Embree is slotted to handle punt returns.

I asked special teams coach Angus McClure if Embree is the “safe” choice for returning punts.

“A lot of people are running what you call a shield punt in college football,” McClure said. “A shield punt is spreading everybody out and they don’t block. They release the guys downfield. You need a guy that’s sure handed because the coverage team is there much quicker than the traditional punt. You need a guy that has sure hands that can catch the ball in traffic. You don’t have more time to gather yourself anymore, the shield punt has changed a lot.”

Asked if Jordan James or Shaq Evans have sure enough hands, McClure said he expects two out of those three (James, Evans, Embree) to see action returning punts.

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  • Hadenough

    Neuheisel, you are a loser. U had 3 weeks to find a PR and u settle on Embree when he just came back from injury. I hope u get canned. Play not lose, typical. Just don’t embarass ur alma mater. Just resign already.

  • DS

    Absolutely surprised that Hilliard would win the job over Riley.. I am definitely a fan of Dalton’s but Dietrich is an absolute GAMER!! But I suppose coaches know better than I.. Or.. Will see..

  • http://paulm Ley

    Hadenough needs a glass with that WINE.We dont want you on that bandwagon you’ll probably jump on when they finishy 8-4 and go to a bowl game!!! GO BRUINS.

  • GG57

    Jon, does this shield punt strategy improve the opportunity to block punts?

  • BruinFaithful

    I AGREE!!!! No freaken way Embree should be fielding punts. These morons learn NOTHING!!!! Angus McClure as Special Teams Coach is a JOKE!!!! Our special teams are going to be woeful.

    Additionally, has Glenn Love EVER beaten anybody at any position? I don’t care if Zumwalt missed time because of his concussion. He is obviously the better player. He should be starting.

    Same with Hilliard. NO WAY he should be starting over Riley. Wait until he gets run over again, first series.

  • Semi-Pro

    GG, Whatever increase in the chances of blocking punts is mitigated by an increased ability to run a fake punt. If you have 10 defenders coming after the ball, the punter just has to lob it over their heads to one of his guys easily convert. The idea is analogous to blitzing. If you blitz too much, it’s easier to get burned.

  • Semi-Pro

    Hey Faithful,

    On what evidence are you basing your statements? Or are you just ranting?

    Have you been to every practice? Have you analyzed the film of every practice? Have you been grading out every player the last 5 weeks?

  • BruinFaithful

    Semi-Pro:

    Actually, yes, I have been to SEVERAL practices this Fall. Including several scrimmages. How many have you been to?

    However, Embree HARDLY practiced all Fall. Certainly not nearly enough, to be able to make any conclusion. So, please explain to me what McClure is seeing.

    And I saw enough of those practices and last years games to reach my conclusion.

    But, the proof is in the pudding. Come back here after the first game, this year, and their careers and tell me who the better players are.

  • GG57

    Semi-Pro, thanks, that makes sense. Now if we rush only Datone they’ll have to tie up most of their team to prevent the punt block and we’ll have ten players left to manage the coverage and return. This is sounding pretty good.

  • Semi-Pro

    Faithful,

    I’m not saying I disagree with your opinions of those players. I’m merely suggesting that the coaching staff knows more than both of us about the abilities of their players, and is also privy to the schemes and scenarios they will use against Houston.

    Remember, Houston will throw the ball 80-90% of the time. Having Glenn Love (a former DB) out there over Zumwalt makes sense to me.

    Same with Riley. Riley is a MUCH better run-supporting safety than Hilliard, no doubt, and comes up to make the big hit. But maybe they’re seeing more out of Hilliard’s pass coverage.

    And come on, do you really think Zumwalt and Riley still won’t see significant snaps???

  • bruinbiochem06

    “McClure said he expects two out of those three (James, Evans, Embree) to see action returning punts.”

    Ok, I’ll take James and Evans!

    All kidding aside, I’m starting to feel it is more important to secure the catch, with minimal yard gained, rather than risk a turnover in bad field position.

    UCLA 40
    Houston 17

  • BruinFaithful

    NO TO MENTION, it is Tuesday of game week, and Neu has STILL NOT named a starter or starters at QB.

    GUESS WHAT???? EVERY other major program in USA has already picked their starter. I guess Neu knows something all those other guys don’t.

    Quote from OC Register:

    “I’ve got great competition going. I’ve got exactly what I want. I hoped that I could drag it out, that there would be competition and both would respond. And it’s worked out exactly as I had hoped.”

    http://ucla.ocregister.com/2011/08/29/ucla-football-qb-decision-in-the-next-48-hours/35979/?utm_source=bleacherreport.com&utm_medium=referral

    I guess we’ll see how well it’s worked come Saturday.

    I had already decided to support Neu all season, but he sure is making it difficult.

  • BruinTran

    Actually, Ohio State just made their decision on the starter as well.

    Faithful and Semi-Pro, you both bring up some good points.

    Regardless of who is right, we have to put some trust in CRN. If you want CRN to cook, you should let him buy the ingredients. CRN wants to win as badly as everyone here and hopefully is game planning accordingly.

  • Anonymous

    BruinFaithful is a joke.

    I’m glad you’ve been to several scrimmages. If that’s the case I’m sure you were paying close attention when Coleman had the truck of the last 4 weeks on Riley? But you’re right. Let’s worry about Dalton getting run over. Not seeing I agree with the decision, but not the best argument.

    And what is McClure seeing? You don’t need 10+ years coaching experience (which unlike you, he has) to see that nobody else can catch punts as well as Taylor. James and Randall particularly. And Embree definitely showed last year that he won’t muff the catch, even if his returns are unexciting.

    Seriously though, calm down. Better yet, take your trash to BruinsNation. They’ll eat you up over there. Not that I don’t enjoy reading the 10% of your posts that aren’t, “I hate everything they suck you suck everyone but me is wrong I’ve watched sports for twenty years I know better then people who do this for a living the sky is falling blah blah blah,” but I think you might mesh better with the other irrational yelling over there.

  • Chris

    Bruin Faithful:

    Nick Saban, head coach of Alabama, the number 2 team in the country, still hasn’t selected a starting QB, and says he doesn’t intend to until after Week 1.

    This isn’t that uncommon. It’s just a difference in philosophy, not worse or better

  • Anonymous

    Love it. Coaches aren’t naming some of the obvious choices (Riley, Zumwalt) to be starters to keep the competition going. Guys like Hilliard and Love will scratch and claw to keep starting while Riley and Zumwalt will turn it up to get their jobs back

  • BRUtus

    Coleman RUINED Riley over and over again in that scrimmage.

    I think we’re lucky to have Dye, Hilliard, and Riley at S — and I think all will play. However, after also attending several practices and scrimmages, I also think Hilliard and Dye should be the starters — and not Riley.

  • 909Bruin

    everyone brings up good points but what i think you guys are forgetting is that CCB is gone and CJT wants a super FAST attacking D. Maybe Love and Hilliard are faster than Zumweezy and Rileezy?? Playing against UH, we are going to have to cover, cover, COVER, the whole field… Houston will line up their RB’s as WR’s often so tell me would you feel comfortalbe with Zumwalt vs. a RB in coverage?? Everyone is on D going to play significant snaps, (due to the heat and down&distance situations) so lets just support and cheer on whoever is in the game at that time instead of always bashing the coaches decisions…. maybe Zumweezy and Rileezy will play more against Texas and Stanford because they WANT to establish a power run game??
    Last year i HATED Embree back returning punts, but i dont think he lost one punt back there so looking back i guess thats a good thing and i’m okay with him back there again unless he starts to muff punts…we will be about to move the ball better this year so who cares if he averages 1.7 yds a return? LOL… besides, how many punts are actually returned for TD’s??? i’m sure the % is very low… As long as we have 2 burners returning KO’s then i’m good with the special teams.
    anyways, thats my 2cents, GO BRUINS!!!

  • http://corinnem Ley

    Hadenough and Bruinfaithfull sound like pop warner football … want -a- be high school coaches!!!

  • Semi-Pro

    Another thing about the QB situation: Keep in mind that UCLA hasn’t had a starting QB who didn’t suffer a significant, if not season-ending, injury in YEARS! When was the last time a starting UCLA QB made it through a full year?? Certainly not recently. I think that given recent history it’s incredibly prudent of Coach RN to have 2 guys game-ready.

    If you name one QB “the guy” and give him all the 1st team reps, and he goes down…the drop off will be huge. I can’t blame Neuheisel for being cautious, especially with our injury history at QB.

  • Stan

    Sorry guys or gals. I agree with the above posts concerning Embree at punt returner. This should be a position for a gamebreaker. This team needs great field position and special teams to score pts or get this offense in a position to do so. As we have seen the last few years, this offense can’t sustain long drives and score pts. The Bruins need every opportunity to score and busting a punt return can be a huge momentum swing! Having a guy back there to fair catch the ball shows no attributes of being aggressive. Also, not having a gamebreaker throws no fear into the defense, who will most likely send 11 guys into block our punts. Lets put some kind of fear into the opposing teams! Lets also hope that CRN sees an agressive improvement in this area soon.

  • BruinFaithful

    Chris:

    1.) Saban has won 2 National Championships at two different schools and has numerous other accolades. I would certainly give Nick Saban the benefit of the doubt here. CRN has yet to earn that trust. Unless you consider a 5 win average earning that trust.

    2.) Alabama opens the season against virtual DII Team Kent State, as a 37 point favorite. I don’t think it will matter much if Simms or the “Water Boy” start at QB.

    3.) You are wrong. Saban has decided on his QB options. He is going to play both QB’s and make a decision based on their performance in the game. This will be the equivalent of a live game scrimmage. With Penn State the following week, this make a LOT of sense for him. We do not have that luxury. Neu hasn’t even decided on one or two QB’s yet. If we were playing San Jose State, or if he wants to employ a 2 QB live tryout strategy against SJ State, fine. But again, we ARE not going to play SJ State until NEXT week.

    http://content.usatoday.com/communities/campusrivalry/post/2011/08/alabama-quarterback-nick-saban-aj-mccarron-phillip-sims/1

    Additionally, Houston’s DC has ALREADY vowed to load the box against us and dare us to throw. So, whoever is in there, better be able to get the ball to the receivers.

    Oh, did I forget to mentions what ALL the players would prefer? Oh, did I forget to mention that ALL the WR’s would prefer to have one QB and mentioned timing issues as an obstacle in the passing game, having to adjust to different releases and such.

    But, what do I know? I must be deaf and blind. I guess I need 1.25 million dollars and a HC title to know what I am talking about and win 5 games a year average.

  • GlendoraBruin

    I say we give the coaching staff at least 1 game before we start second guessing their choices. Let’s all hope that we are vastly improved and our kids are ready to play fast and downhill with confidence, enthusiasm and a chip on their shoulder with something to prove. Cause we definitely do!! Go Bruins!!

  • BRUtus

    I agree with BruinFaithful on the fact that the WR’s prefer to have one QB. The fact is, Brehaut throws a much more catchable ball. Is he the better QB for UCLA though / the guy that is going help us win the most games? I can’t make that decsion and defer to the coaches on that. If Prince is our QB — the receivers need to start getting acclimated to Prince’s ball.

  • PUSC 3

    I’d rather see no punt returner back there, if it’s Embree.