Sophomore receiver Devin Lucien talks about UCLA’s expectations for next season, as well as how much he would like quarterback Brett Hundley to return to school.
In what was easily the best post-practice interview of the week, receiver Devin Lucien talked at length today about playing with “a chip on my shoulder.”
The redshirt sophomore, who won the team’s most improved offensive player award, admitted that he’s often too concerned about how others perceive him as a player.
“I care a lot about what people think because of the person that I am,” he said. “It sucks to say, but I do. I always tell everybody I want to be great, and I’ll do whatever I can to be great.”
The whole interview is worth watching, but highlights include the receivers he compared himself to in high school (2:10 mark), and playing catch with his father at 3 years old (3:45).
The stories in today’s issue of the Los Angeles Daily News:
» My game story, on a dire running back situation paving the way for Myles Jack’s four-touchdown night, the most on the ground for UCLA since Maurice Jones-Drew.
» More on Myles Jack, from columnist Vinny Bonsignore.
» Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott said weeknight games are part of the price of generating national exposure for the conference.
More game notes from UCLA’s 41-31 win over Washington, their eighth straight over the Huskies at the Rose Bowl.
– Your latest dose of Myles Jack hype, this time courtesy of Cassius Marsh and Devin Lucien:
– UCLA allowed Colorado a whopping 26 first downs, seven of which came on penalties. The Buffs’ highest first-down total this season prior to Saturday were their 24 in a season-opening win over Colorado State. Just three of those came on penalties.
The Bruins’ clearly aren’t going to shake their problem with flags. They had 11 for 122 yards, just 17 yards shy of their rushing total. It was the most yards UCLA has lost on penalties since giving away 138 against New Mexico State.
– Speaking of flags, Anthony Barr got a couple of roughing-the-passer penalties late in the game. Quarterback Sefo Liufau even pushed Barr in the chest after the first one. Either way, he looked pretty poised in the pocket for a true freshman.
– Devin Lucien wasn’t exactly happy with the win. The redshirt sophomore wasn’t among the eight receivers who caught a ball Saturday night, his second straight contest going unnoticed on the box score. He has just nine catches on the season, and no more than two in any single game.
He took to Twitter last night to vent: Continue reading
UCLA lost a 6-foot-7 target in tight end Joseph Fauria, but quarterback Brett Hundley shouldn’t have hard time finding capable pass-catchers. Although the Bruins return only one player who caught for more than 300 yards last season, they have a deep, young group with plenty of upside.
Key returners: Shaq Evans enters his senior season as one of the conference’s better receivers. A stable presence for UCLA both as a route-runner and blocker, he should be in line for more red-zone targets in addition to building on his 800-yard junior campaign.
Opposite Evans will be sophomore Jordan Payton, a thick-bodied target who displayed good hands almost every spring practice. Redshirt sophomore Devin Lucien is more physically gifted than Payton, but isn’t as consistent. Continue reading
Cornerback Ishmael Adams was one of UCLA’s week-one stars, but has struggled more recently. Shaq Evans, in particular, seems to have made it his mission to abuse Adams after giving the redshirt freshman an earful of trash talk last week. On Wednesday, Evans’ best play was a tipped pass to himself for a score.
Adams should still be fine, but his lack of size is showing. He has also spent all of spring in a red jersey, but defensive backs coach Demetrice Martin said Adams could play a game now if necessary.
Evans, meanwhile, should figure to be a bigger red-zone target this season. Receivers coach Eric Yarber also said this about the senior: “I need him to be one of the leaders of the team. Even last year, all these young kids looked up to Shaq. If Shaq wasn’t having a good day, it was almost like the whole group wasn’t having a good day.”
» Jordan Payton likely remains ahead of Devin Lucien on the receiver depth chart heading into summer camp. Payton made a nice catch on Wednesday while double-covered by Anthony Jefferson and Dietrich Riley. Riley was consistently beaten in pass coverage, which may or may not be due to injury rust.
» Eldridge Massington is still rehabbing his ACL tear. He had a minor setback last week, but the main obstacle will likely be more mental than physical. Continue reading
Before the start of spring practice, one question mark was the outside linebacker spot opposite All-American Anthony Barr. If UCLA started its season today, that spot would go to redshirt sophomore Aaron Wallace.
“He’s kind of quietly gone about his business,” head coach Jim Mora said. “At this point, he’s solidified his position.”
Wallace is listed at 6-foot-2 and 228 pounds, but looks significantly better than he did in his three-tackle freshman season. He’s also shown a decent ability to drop into pass coverage. Of course, Mora added that the depth chart is still fluid. Incoming four-star freshmen Myles Jack and Deon Hollins could both push for the spot too.
– Reserve quarterbacks T.J. Millweard and Jerry Neuheisel seem to alternate good practices, with the former perhaps having a slight edge at this point in spring. Position coach Taylor Mazzone said he still doesn’t see a frontrunner between those two and walk-on Mike Fafaul. Continue reading
Sophomore wide receiver Jordan Payton, who had 202 yards and a touchdown last season, talks about how the offense changes without tight end Joseph Fauria as a 6-foot-7 red-zone target. He also gave some respect to position coach Eric Yarber for coaching in a wheelchair as he recovers from surgery on his torn quad tendon.
“We were like, man, he’s still coaching and he’s in a wheelchair,” Payton said. “He’s obviously a great competitor and a great coach and a great man. He’ll definitely get through it.”
After missing most of last season with a broken collarbone, wide receiver Devin Lucien is excited to be back on the field. On Thursday, he made sure to inform anyone within earshot — making for one of the day’s more amusing moments.
“Tell them I’m coming for that starting spot!” he yelled to reporters after making a catch over cornerback Fabian Moreau in one-on-one drills.
“I’m telling y’all right now,” he said after another catch. “Y’all better tell somebody!” Continue reading