UCLA notes: Graduate transfer Malcolm Bunche moves to starting left tackle

RB Jordon James, right, carries the ball during the UCLA practice at Cal State San Bernardino. Wednesday, August 6, 2014. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Daily Bulletin)"

RB Jordon James, right, carries the ball during the UCLA practice at Cal State San Bernardino. Wednesday, August 6, 2014. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Daily Bulletin)”

» UCLA might have found its new starting left tackle in graduate transfer Malcolm Bunche. Used mostly at guard through spring and the first two days of training camp, the 6-foot-7 lineman moved to the edge on Wednesday with surprisingly good results.

With starting right tackle Conor McDermott (shoulder) held out for the day, sophomore Caleb Benenoch moved from left to right — vacating a spot for Bunche to shift out. Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said he may keep that formation moving forward.

You can read more about the Bruins’ offensive line situation here.

» Tahaan Goodman has been able to carry over the momentum he generated in spring. The sophomore safety just missed out on a highlight, one-handed interception. Quarterback Jerry Neuheisel had thrown a high ball over the middle, but Goodman jumped up and twisted back and got his right hand on it.

» True freshman Kenny Young looks like a solid rotation player at inside linebacker, and shot up the middle to lay a big hit on running back Craig Lee on Wednesday. The play had most of the defense celebrating, but perhaps no one more than Myles Jack.

» Jack was clearly having fun in practice, where he began yapping at quarterback Brett Hundley during some red-zone 11-on-11 situations. A sampling: “Hey, you’re gonna get your running back killed, Brett!” … “Don’t even look this way, Brett! Don’t even look this way!” … “Coach Mazzone can’t help you, Brett!” … “Brett, you’re gonna get both your running backs killed!”

» Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said running backs have been one of the best position groups so far in San Bernardino. Senior Jordon James had arguably the best run of the day, shooting through the middle during 11-on-11s.

Neuheisel also zipped a nice touchdown to true freshman Nathan Starks on another play.

» Justin Combs made a nice play when covering receiver Devin Lucien. Hundley had placed a perfect touchdown chest into Lucien’s chest, but Combs’ kept himself pasted close enough that Lucien couldn’t hold on. The receiver even mentioned the play after practice unprompted.

» Kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn hit all seven of his field goal attempts at the end of practice, but tried all of them from inside the 40-yard line. Fairbairn has usually been pretty steady in practices dating back to last spring, so it’s hard to extrapolate that to what his game performances might look like.

» Some injury updates: True freshman linebacker Cameron Griffin was back at practice after injuring his left elbow on Tuesday, but wore a sling. Offensive guard Alex Redmond left halfway through with what looked like heat exhaustion. Inside receiver Thomas Duarte left with what may have been cramps to his upper leg.

» With Duarte out, outside receiver Jordan Payton got some work inside.

“I’m always nagging about that,” Payton said. “I don’t know if you’ve ever seen TD catch like eight to nine passes in practice, so. It’s just to add, see how its. A couple of guys being down, I know the inside well enough so I just went in there, stepped in there and played the part. It’s definitely fun too.”

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  • VB

    How does the new punter look?

    • Jack Wang

      Honestly, almost like a Sean Covington clone. Same big frame, same big leg.

  • jameskatt

    Looking great. Can’t wait for the first game!