UCLA defensive backs focused on developing depth during spring

Safety Jaleel Wadood is part of UCLA's deep secondary that was one of the best in the conference in 2015. (MICAH ESCAMILLA — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Safety Jaleel Wadood is part of UCLA’s deep secondary that was one of the best in the conference in 2015. (MICAH ESCAMILLA — STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER)

Despite losing cornerback Fabian Moreau early in the season due to a lisfranc injury, UCLA had one of the best pass defenses in the conference last year.

The Bruins led the conference in passing yards allowed per game (203.2) and held opposing quarterbacks to a 113.4 passer efficiency rating, which also was tops in the Pac-12. Here’s more on how UCLA stacked up against the other pass defenses in the Pac-12:

It could be much of the same good news for UCLA as every defensive back who started a game last season is returning. Moreau and John Johnson are both coming off injuries and are not expected to participate in any drills during spring practice. While the team waits for its “wounded warriors” to return, defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin said the focus will be on building depth and position flexibility during spring.

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UCLA left tackle Conor McDermott undergoes MRI on knee

UPDATE: McDermott’s MRI showed no ligament damage.

UCLA left tackle Conor McDermott was scheduled to undergo an MRI on his knee Tuesday evening, but the injury is not expected to be serious.

“He has no swelling,” said head coach Jim Mora. “He really has very little pain. He felt a tiny little pop, so we just wanted to get it checked out. … He’s got no instability. Nothing like that.”

McDermott went down during Monday night’s practice, but walked off the field without a significant limp. Jake Brendel and Alex Redmond were the other offensive linemen who were also left practice on Monday, but Mora said there are no injuries or issues concerning the latter. Brendel is day-to-day with a calf injury. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Adarius Pickett talks about switch to running back

True freshman Adarius Pickett switched from cornerback to become UCLA’s newest running back. What makes him different from the rest of the Bruin backfield?

“I like to run inside the tackles,” he said. “That’s where I find I’m best at. I know a lot of our running backs like running outside.”

Full story here.

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What did we learn about UCLA in San Bernardino?

Eddie Vanderdoes knows how to make an exit. (@puntingiswinning)

Eddie Vanderdoes knows how to make an exit. (@puntingiswinning)

UCLA escaped the Inland Empire relatively unscathed. Most of its starters are healthy, as are the team’s myriad rotation players. The most notable players sidelined — center Jake Brendel (MCL) and receiver Devin Lucien (head) — are both expected to return soon.

Without a major shakeup anywhere on the depth chart, what did the Bruins learn from their annual two-week training camp at Cal State San Bernardino?

The defense will survive its losses Continue reading

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