Fred Ulu-Perry hasn’t played center since the eighth grade. So, when he moved to the position at the start of UCLA’s training camp, there were a few struggles.
For instance, the snaps. When fourth-year starter Jake Brendel left Monday night’s practice with an undisclosed injury, the freshman moved up to first string — making it tougher for his quarterback to catch the ball.
“You’re talking about a kid that hasn’t done it before,” said offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. “What we do is unique. Most places, you come in with a base defense for a week and you get to learn things, get through everything in the first day. He’s learning on the run, so we’re kind of going backwards. …
“He’s embraced everything. He’s picked it up, hasn’t complained one bit.”
Klemm also said the Ulu-Perry entered the program much stronger than most true freshman linemen. There’s certainly time for him to develop more; Brendel dressed for practice on Tuesday afternoon, and doesn’t appear to be in danger of missing games.
And while Ulu-Perry will likely also practice at guard, the Hawaiian native has his sights set on becoming Brendel’s successor next season.
“I want to be that guy,” he said. “That’s the bull of the team right there on the offensive side. That’s the leader of the team. That’s like the second quarterback.”