UCLA left tackle Conor McDermott out with knee injury against Cal

UCLA’s starting left tackle Conor McDermott is out with a sprained knee for the Bruins’ 6 p.m. kickoff against Cal.

Head coach Jim Mora had ruled the redshirt junior had been ruled “very questionable” to play earlier this week. McDermott had practiced sparingly leading up to Thursday, leaving each practice early to receive treatment.

Redshirt freshman Kolton Miller is in line for his first career start in McDermott’s stead. Starting right guard Alex Redmond, who suffered a hand injury at Stanford last week, is also ready to play.

Outside linebacker Deon Hollins (knee) was dressed for warm-ups as well, but backup running back Nate Starks (head) was not.

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 “UCLA left tackle Conor McDermott undergoes MRI on knee” »

UCLA camp notes: Running back Soso Jamabo takes Wildcat snaps

» UCLA has a clear-cut No. 1 option in Paul Perkins, who said his goals this season are to be the nation’s top tailback and to win a national championship. That’s allowing the Bruins to give even first-team reps with some of the newer players.

Two days into camp, the main beneficiary has been five-star running back Soso Jamabo. On Tuesday, he not only got a healthy share of time on the first and second string, but even took five or six snaps out of Wildcat.

Perkins generously compared Jamabo’s running style to that of Eric Dickerson on Monday, and offensive lineman Caleb Benenoch followed with some praise of his own: “Soso is just unbelievably talented. … I’m eager to see what he does in pads.”

Jamabo honestly hasn’t quite matched his recruiting hype on the field, but it’s still fairly early in camp and UCLA doesn’t need instant production from him. I wouldn’t be shocked to see him become more of a pass-catcher than a workhorse runner, but offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said he doesn’t foresee any position changes for the 6-foot-3, 210-pound back.

» Chris Clark remains sidelined with mononucleosis, but Mazzone said that won’t affect UCLA’s implementation of a new tight end package. Nate Iese, Thomas Duarte, Colby Cyburt, Tyler Scott are the options there for now, which sounds similar to the rotation UCLA used at Y-receiver.

“We’re kind of going back to the old Joe Fauria days, when we had that big joker,” Mazzone said. “We’re going to be able to put some things in that we haven’t been able to run the last couple of years, because of the lack of a guy at that position.”

Freshman Aaron Sharp also got some first-team reps at Y-receiver. Continue reading “UCLA camp notes: Running back Soso Jamabo takes Wildcat snaps” »

UCLA spring camp notes: Myles Jack practices at kick returner

» Myles Jack worked a bit as a returner on Monday, and yeah — it’d be a ton of fun to watch the linebacker toss his 6-foot-1, 231-pound frame around on special teams in a real game. Don’t hold your breath, though.

“If he’s doing that, he’s just messing around,” said head coach Jim Mora, who expressed surprise that Jack had been returning kicks. “Myles has to be moving out there. So if there’s a drill he’s not involved in, he just goes and gets involved. I didn’t even know he was taking reps back there. He’s not on the depth chart as a kick returner.”

And given UCLA’s depth there, putting Jack at further risk of injury seems foolhardy — no matter how thrilling the potential highlights.

In addition to No. 1 returner Ishmael Adams, the current rotation on kick and punt returns includes safety Jaleel Wadood, receiver Jordan Lasley, receiver Devin Fuller, running back Craig Lee, receiver Kenneth Walker, safety Randall Goforth and receiver Aaron Sharp.

» Not much has changed in the ongoing quarterback race. Josh Rosen, Jerry Neuheisel, Asiantii Woualrd and Mike Fafaul each took a share of reps today, and none of them did anything that seriously upset the perceived pecking order behind center. Continue reading “UCLA spring camp notes: Myles Jack practices at kick returner” »

UCLA spring camp notes: Kolton Miller takes first-string O-line reps

— Offensive lineman Simon Goines was present at today’s practice, but remained on the sideline when UCLA went into 11-on-11 drills, presumably giving him a day of rest given his long history of leg injuries. With Caleb Benenoch taking on a similar workload, first-string reps at right tackle went to redshirt freshman Kolton Miller.

The former four-star recruit had looked good as a backup left tackle through spring, and he continued to hold his own moving up to play with the starters. Former four-star recruit John Lopez, who hasn’t really been in the two-deep, took Miller’s place as the backup left tackle.

— After giving every quarterback a share of first-team reps on Saturday, UCLA has gone back into the two-by-two rotation. Today wasn’t the most enlightening session, as the Bruins mostly eschewed downfield plays for runs and goal-line work. Continue reading “UCLA spring camp notes: Kolton Miller takes first-string O-line reps” »