UCLA football training camp day 10: Defense stays flexible

Defensive lineman Rick Wade rushes against Poasi Moala in a 2016 practice. (Photo by Brad Graverson/The Daily Breeze/SCNG)

For UCLA’s defense, excellence at one position isn’t quite enough. UCLA position coaches preach versatility at every level, ensuring that the Bruins can mold themselves to face any offense or stay afloat despite injuries.

“You need to look at it as a scheme instead of just a position,” defensive lineman Rick Wade said.

More on UCLA’s versatility on defense

Video interview with defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin

Notes and observations for the Day 10:

  • Time: 2 hours, 20 minutes
  • Attire: Soft shoulder pads, shorts
  • Friday’s practice was I think the shortest of camp so far and without full pads, there was less contact than in previous days. The team is likely preparing for Saturday’s Fan Appreciation Day, which starts at 3:15 p.m.
  • The offense tied the score in the offense vs. defense competition by winning the red zone lockout period. During four drives, the offense scored two touchdowns and two field goals.
    • Both field goals came from the first team. Josh Rosen went to Christian Pabico on first down, but Darnay Holmes came up with the breakup. Really good coverage on second down allowed Jaelan Phillips and Jacob Tuioti-Mariner to get to to Rosen for a sack on second down, nearly pushing the offense out of field-goal range. To get some of the yardage back, Rosen threw a 10-yard pass to Darren Andrews, which turned what would have been a 50-yard field goal into a 40-yarder for J.J. Molson, who connected. Rosen threw a nice pass to Pabico during the second drive with Pabico catching it against Nate Meadors, but they had to settle for a 32-yard field goal from Molson in the end.
      • The Pabico vs. Holmes matchup is a serious battle every day. Since that first day when Holmes locked the walk-on down, Pabico has come back really strong against both Holmes and Meadors.
    • Devon Modster was sharp in his drive. He connected with Alex Van Dyke and Theo Howard once each and twice with Jimmy Jaggers with Jaggers catching the touchdown pass against Mique Juarez.
    • Austin Burton threw a great 20-yard touchdown pass to Van Dyke on the No. 3 offense’s drive. It seems that about once every practice or so, Burton will uncork a beautiful deep ball that really makes you take notice. He’s had a good camp.
  • Osa Odighizuwa, who has been playing extremely well against the No. 2 line, got a promotion to the starting group in the third team period. He took Matt Dickerson‘s role inside and held his own, but since the first team was on the far field, it was hard to tell exactly what was going on in the trenches.
  • The starting offensive line tried a new combination on the right side. Michael Alves, who had been the No. 2 left guard, was promoted to the No. 1 right guard and Andre James slid to right tackle, where he played last year after Kolton Miller‘s injury. The rest of the line stayed the same (LT Miller, LG Najee Toran and C Scott Quessenberry). It was hard to see how the new combination performed specifically though because they were on the far field as well.
    • With limited contact, Sunny Odogwu was able to participate in some team periods, working with the No. 2 offense mostly. He hadn’t done much in the previous days with the team in pads.
  • The most interesting play of the day came during a hurry-up seven-on-seven period when Bolu Olorunfunmi dropped a screen pass (that part is not interesting because he has struggled catching the ball all camp) and it looked like the ball bounced off his foot and went up in the air. Jaleel Wadood came crashing in, grabbed the ball, and ran it back for an 8-yard touchdown.
    • Rosen, Modster and Matt Lynch each threw a touchdown pass during the seven-on-seven period. Modster found Jordan Lasley for a 2-yard score. Rosen threw another perfect 25-yard pass to Andrews against Adarius Pickett, and Lynch connected with Jaggers for a 5-yard score.
      • Rosen was especially sharp on his scoring drive. Before the touchdown, Rosen threaded the ball to Andrews between Wadood and Octavius Spencer and on the very next throw found Pabico, who did well to secure the ball and stay in bounds near the sideline.
      • Modster had a good connection with Jordan Wilson during the period, including a 30-yard pass down the middle. On fourth-and-goal from the 4, Modster tried to find Wilson again, but Juarez came up with the pass breakup. It was one of the few times Juarez won that matchup in pass coverage, but it was was clutch as it saved the touchdown.
    • Burton threw an interception on his drive as Jay Shaw continued his recent surge and jumped the route to come up with the pick.
  • Pickett grabbed his first interception of training camp, winning the battle against Damian Alloway in one-on-ones. Pickett has been extremely quiet during this camp after he dominated spring practices.
  • Spencer also got an interception in one-on-ones going against Stephen Johnson III. 
  • Lynch threw two nice 30-yard passes in one-on-ones, first to Andrews and then to Van Dyke.
  • Alloway was the first in line to return kickoffs from Molson. Lasley and Andrews were the next ones.
  • Injury notes:
    • Bikes: Audie Omotosho, Poasi Moala, Colin Samuel
      • Brandon Stephens appeared on the field for the first time since Aug. 7, but was limited to sprints and individual conditioning on the sideline.
    • Back and participating: Nate Starks, Toran, Breland Brandt
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