» After a brief visit to the hospital on Tuesday night, UCLA receiver Devin Lucien passed his concussion tests on Friday and could return to practice on Monday — albeit in a red non-contact jersey. The redshirt junior had looked like arguably the team’s best receiver through camp before his hitting his head trying to make a catch, matching up with top cornerback Fabian Moreau on most plays.
Linebacker Zach Whitley, who has missed most of training camp in San Bernardino with head injury, returned to practice today for some sideline work. Head coach Jim Mora said the true freshman could potentially be back tonight’s practice, or at least by Monday.
Offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry is out with a “minor” concussion.
Receiver Mossi Johnson took off his red non-contact jersey this morning, while safety Randall Goforth put one on. Both are dealing with minor shoulder injuries.
“As far as comparing injuries to the last two camps, we’re in much better shape than we ever were, so that’s really encouraging,” Mora said.
» The Bruins worked heavily on special teams on Friday, adding a pre-stretch session that lasted about half an hour. Running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu took noticeable command of the unit. Since being hired last December, he has been a vocal presence in practices; at one point this morning, he had the entire team dead silent while he barked instructions.
» UCLA brought in punter Matt Mengel from Long Beach City College to potentially replace all-conference honorable mention Sean Covington, but the newcomer hasn’t locked down a starting job just yet.
Instead, redshirt freshman Adam Searl may have inched ahead. The 6-foot, 180-pound Irvine native has seen his workload increase this week, and was used on all the practice punts Friday morning.
“Adam is a guy that’s very, very improved,” Mora said. “He looks like guy that can actually get it done. Last year, He was inconsistent. His leg wasn’t great. But he’s had a really good offseason, he works hard, and I trust him.”
Sean Flintoft, a walk-on from Loyola High, is also available as both a punter and a kicker.
“It was a real unknown,” Mora said of the punters. “I was very concerned coming into camp, but watching them here for the last week and a half, I feel like we’re going to be in good shape there.”
» Asked about UCLA’s backup quarterback competition, Mora said he was confident in redshirt freshman Asiantii Woulard, sophomore Jerry Neuheisel, and walk-on Mike Fafaul. He did, however, make particular note of Woulard’s progress since arriving as a four-star recruit.
“Last year he came in, and when was doing drills where no one was coming at him, he looked great. Could spin it, and we were all fired up,” Mora said. “But when the chaos started happening around him, it was tough on him. This year, it’s different. And it’s gotten different really in the last few days. he looks so much more comfortable and more in command.”
» UCLA practices will be closed to public after the Bruins leave Cal State San Bernardino. Last chance for fans to watch preseason camp will be Saturday’s “mock game” at 10:45 a.m.