First Day of Fall Camp from San Bernardino ….

I’ll make the introduction quick. I’m Miguel Melendez and I’ll be covering fall camp for the next two weeks for the L.A. Daily News (I covered several UCLA and USC spring practices earlier this year). I was previously the preps editor at the Pasadena Star-News where I covered Dietrich Riley (St. Francis) since his sophomore year and Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia) and Taylor Lagace (Arcadia) since their freshman year. Before that I was a staff writer at The Orange County Register where in addition to covering high schools and pro soccer beat I also did a little backup work for Robert Kuwada on the UCLA beat during the Karl Dorrell era. I’ve freelanced for the Boston Globe, Associated Press and Oakland Tribune, to name a few. Someone mentioned I should post a bio of myself in the comments section so I’ll post a link here and let you read if you’d like to do so. I’m big on Twitter so for those who want to follow me can do so @MelendezSports … Now on to the news ….

*The biggest news out of UCLA’s fall camp opener was that freshman linebacker Jeremy Castro did not report to camp on Friday at Cal State San Bernardino along with the rest of his teammates. UCLA released a statement in the middle of practice saying he “has yet to be declared eligible by the NCAA clearinghouse and as such is not presently at training camp.” The school did not comment any further so there’s no indication whether it’s in regards to grades or paperwork that’s yet to be completed. Castro was a touted linebacker out of Vista Murrieta who initially committed to Oregon before flipping to UCLA. With the Bruins switching to a 3-4 defense, Castro at 6-foot-3, 245-pounds would have provided an impact as a hybrid linebacker/defensive end. We’ll wait and see what turns out.

**The consensus was that today was more about getting acclimated to the new settings and conditions than it was about movement in the depth chart. The weather wasn’t as bad as some predicted it to be today, and there was even a small breeze through the first half of camp. A throng of fans lined up the end zone and watched the offense put some work. Mora was reminded that the weather is expected to shoot north of 100 degrees beginning Monday and was asked if the team would take any extra precaution. Mora said he was in the NFL when Kory Stringer died of a heat stroke during a training session with the Minnesota Vikings, adding that it’s important to be smart about how to push players in such conditions.

Photobucket Pictures, Images and Photos

***Injury updates: Several players were held out of the camp opener. Lineman Colby Cyburt (back), fullback Luke Gane (hernia), receiver Ricky Marvay (back), Ellis McCarthy (knee), Ryan Medina (shoulder), safety Dylan Price (abdominal), Chris Ward (back), tackle Torian White (chest pains), receiver Shaquelle Evans (hyperventilation) and receiver Kenny Walker (fracture). Mora said White will need to be checked out by UCLA doctors before he’s allowed to continue with camp. As for Evans, Mora said he’s unsure if hyperventilation was heat related. Walker either dislocated or fractured his pinky and was then held out. Gane’s limited time is more about getting him in shape than it is about recovering from a hernia injury in spring. Marvay was in practice and limited to non-contact as was Ryan Medina (shoulder). Another unfortunate news came when it was announced that receiver John Young will miss the rest of the season after last week tearing his patellar tendon in what Mora called as a “freak deal.”

****Practice today went almost exactly 2 1/2 hours … There was a funny moment during the start of one-on-one drills. Devin Lucien caught a TD pass and defending was a determined Sheldon Price. The two tangled into the end zone with Price flipping onto an unlucky fan sitting in a lawn chair. He took it like a champ. The funny part is that nobody moved to get out of the way. Almost as if there was an invincible padded wall that would have saved the fans. True UCLA fans taking every bit of physical contact. I wonder if anyone got it on film. … There were two skirmishes during the late part of camp that particularly involved Dalton Hilliard and Malcolm Jones. The two got into when the defense wanted the receivers to stop stiff-arming. The two sides got into it before it was finally broken up, but on the next play, Hilliard was defending with Jones on the sideline. Jones took issue (not sure about what) and the two again had to be separated. Yup, fall camp is officially underway.

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  • localbruin

    Welcome Melendez. You’re manning up, Gold is going home. Good report, thanks. Looking forward to more reports from you.

    I thought they’d be playing on dirt. Surprised to see green grass and clouds. Looks like a country club out there.

  • Anonymous

    Wonder if John Young will ever be healthy. To bad he has been dealing with injuries ever since stepping on campus.

  • Picard

    Wow. Nice to have and actual REPORT of practice to accompany the video interviews. Great first impression! Hope you are Jon’s replacement because you are a breath of fresh air!

  • bruinbiochem06

    Thanks for the excellent report!

  • Coach Thom

    Miguel, you’re obviously very professional, and all Bruin fans welcome you. Don’t be upset or deterred by the bad posts you’ll receive from the Trogan trolls. Looking forward to your next report!

  • BruinFaithful

    Picard and Bruinbiochem:

    Reporting? What reporting? There was a bio, a Castro eligibility report, a weather report, an injury report, there was a story about Price falling on a fan, Hilliard and Jones getting into it on a play, and some videos. You call that reporting? Nothing about the play at key positions, such as OL or QB. That’s some reporting. He talked about everything, but the actual play on the field.

    Jon, we are sorely going to miss you. If this report is any indication of things to come, we are going to desperately miss you. In my opinion, you were easily the best UCLA beat reporter out there. All you people who used to B and moan and give Jon shhhh all the time, congratulations, you’re the reason he left. People like you drove him away and gave him a miserable experience.

  • Coach Thom

    Miguel, you’re obviously very professional, and all Bruin fans welcome you. Don’t be upset or deterred by the bad posts you’ll receive from the Trogan trolls. Looking forward to your next report!

  • Kettle, meet Pot…

    BruinFaithful said:
    “Reporting? What reporting?…That’s some reporting…you’re the reason he left. People like you drove him away and gave him a miserable experience.”

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/sgvfootball Aram

    Since my boy Miggy is holding this down now, I’m gonna ask the question that’s been on my mind for a minute.

    How bad must Hundley be if they haven’t already named him the starter? Think about it, we all know how awful Prince and Brehaut are, so shouldn’t Hundley have already been handed the job simply by default? I have to think that would have been the case if there wasn’t something going on behind the scenes that we don’t know about.

    After what we’ve seen from Prince and Brehaut, you would think the program would immediately be trying to go a different direction. You know what you’re getting in those two, but the alternative (Hundley) must have some sort of defect.

  • localbruin

    Aram, the simple answer to your question can be found in the old saying that the best thing about a freshman quarterback is that he will become sophomore. (=Cade McNown)

  • Anonymous isboundtogettroljans

    Miguel, you’re obviously very professional, and all Bruin fans welcome you. Don’t be upset or deterred by the bad posts you’ll receive from the Trogan trolls. Looking forward to your next report!