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.