Spring notes: UCLA offensive line working through numerous injuries


UCLA’s offensive line continues to get dinged up.

Graduate transfer Malcolm Bunche left Wednesday’s morning practice early with an undisclosed injury, giving most of the first-team reps at right tackle to redshirt freshman Kenny Lacy. Starting right guard Alex Redmond has seen increasingly fewer contact reps with his left hand still wrapped in a cast; early enrollee NaJee Toran looks like the clear No. 2 behind him.

Guard John Lopez was also absent from practice, forcing even more juggling through the unit.

“It’s hard, and they’re going to make mistakes,” offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said. “But in the long run, it makes them understand how all five fit together.”

– Mazzone talked a bit about the development of redshirt freshman Asiantii Woulard, who will most likely claim the backup quarterback spot over Jerry Neuheisel by the start of the season. Neuheisel actually looks much more composed and mistake-free than he did even nine months ago, but Woulard’s upside is so much higher.

“He has his flashes, and I wanna choke him,” Mazzone said of Woulard. “Like most of the young quarterbacks that you get.”

Mazzone spoke similarly about running back Craig Lee, who is still learning pass protection schemes after redshirting last season: “He’s learning and he’s asking the right questions.”

– Linebacker Myles Jack missed Wednesday’s morning practice recovering from the removal of his wisdom teeth. Linebackers Zach Whitley (bruise) and Isaako Savaiinaea (shoulder) both returned.

After spotting at outside linebacker for much of the past week, Whitley moved back inside for most of Wednesday and looked much more comfortable. The Bruins ran nickel defense almost exclusively through the light practice, and so didn’t need to start someone outside opposite Kenny Orjioke.

Linebacker Jayon Brown left practice with an undisclosed injury.

– Receiver Eldridge Massington also returned after sitting out Monday night with a “ding” to the head. He dropped a few catchable balls, including one that was intercepted.

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