*In the words of Jay-Z, what more can I say? We’re restricted on what we can write. So I posted video with UCLA coach Jim Mora above.
Mora’s opening statement:
“That would be a typical Thursday practice for us in a normal game week. A lot of situational work. We had the officials out here today which was good for us, and I think we were clean on a lot of things. One of the the things we have to be ready to adjust is when we substitute in and out how they stand over the ball with the umpire and how that affects our operation.”
On weather conditions at Rice:
It’s supposed to be a high of 96, a low of 76 and it’s supposed to be 71 percent humidity. There’s a 40 percent chance of rain during the day.
On preparing for playing in rain:
You don’t worry about rain. I grew up in Seattle. That’s the last thing I worry about.
The only injury I can report was the bee sting to my hand. Mega pain, but I’m OK now.
UCLA coach Jim Mora, who hails from the NFL, is starting to crack down on injury reports and such from practice. You can tell it’s game week, eh?
Asked how Brett Hundley is doing, Mora said “fine.”
Asked if he’s decided which coaches will be in the pressbox and which are on the field, he just said “yes.”
It’s the NFL in him.
Players practiced today since UCLA opens the season Thursday at Rice in Houston. So today was like a Tuesday.
Brett Hundley said he’s not nervous yet, but he’s sure he’ll that fire in him come game time on Thursday.
Videos to come.
UCLA true freshman Ellis McCarthy took part in his first real college practice today. To say that was impressive really would be underselling McCarthy, a 6-foot-5, 326-pound behemoth who moved linemen as if they’re toys. Here’s what some had to say about McCarthy’s performance today.
“He’s a big powerful guy. He’s explosive and picked up the defense well. I think there’s a chance that if he progresses this week that he maybe can see a few plays.” — UCLA coach Jim Mora
“He’s got great flexibility for a man his size. He’s got tremendous strength. He uses his hands well and his awareness is very, very high.” — UCLA DL coach Angus McClure
“He’s so quick and so big one would think when they look at his stature that he’s just a two-gapper or power guy but he has some finesse to him. I’ve never seen nothing like it. I was just telling Datone (Jones) he reminds me ofNdamukong Suh.” — UCLA CB Aaron Hester
*The big news from practice today was the return of defensive end Ellis McCarthy. UCLA coach Jim Mora said McCarthy looked good when he returned Wednesday, but none of us on the beat saw him take part in team drills, at least not from our vantage point in the stands. We’ve seen him take part in individual drills, but today was the first time McCarthy really hit the field in 11-on-11s, and he looked good. Scary good. McCarthy is as good as advertised, maybe even better. He is a man among boys, making Owa Odighizuwa and Donovan Carter look small when lining up as the second unit. In his first series, McCarthy and Jeff Baca had a nice matchup that got pretty physical. The defense from the sidelines also was impressed, to say the least. Cassius Marsh and Aaron Hester were among the leaders cheering on McCarthy, who put on some impressive swim and spin moves. He saw a little double-team out there, though that’s nothing new for McCarthy. He also recorded a sack after pummeling two pass blockers during one series. Baca, Brett Downey and Simon Goines were among McCarthy’s fresh meat playing defensive end on the left side. That he’s so effective is a testament to the job that strength and conditioning coach Sal Alosi has done with McCarthy working to get him back in shape after undergoing offseason knee surgery. With more conditioning and the quicker he adapts to the college tempo, McCarthy will be a force to be reckoned with. UCLA defensive line coach Angus McClure (below) talks about McCarthy’s intangibles.
**Linebacker Aaron Porter (sick) and Javon Williams (undisclosed reason) were not at practice. Ian Taubler left in the middle of practice with a right ankle injury.
***Linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich took a few minutes to praise Dalton Hilliard during special team drills. Ulbrich loved Hilliard’s technique, but even more his no-quit attitude. In other special teams news, Eric Kendricks lined up on special teams and returned a punt, but I can’t imagine that’s a serious move they’re considering.
****Randall Goforth made yet another interception at cornerback safety. He switched to safety from corner. The kid’s a stud, plain and simple. Andrew Abbott also recorded an interception off Brett Hundley, who had a quiet day after a strong start.