From UCLA media relations:
UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel announded today that four players have been suspended from the team due to a violation of team rules and will miss this Saturday’s game against Kansas State.
Sophomore cornerback Courtney Viney, freshman running back Milton Knox and freshman wide receivers Morrell Presley and Randall Carroll will sit out the Kansas State game. The players will participate in team practices during the suspension.
“When you are a member of a team, you have a special commitment to the entities that make up that unit and to those that you represent,” said coach Neuheisel. “When someone falls short in that regard, there have to be consequences, and then, we move on.”
On his thoughts, post-scrimmage:
“It was a good scrimmage; when you get to play 60 plays and you’re eight days away from a game, and you get to thud with tired legs, it is good. I saw what I needed to see. I think the guys realized we’re not game-ready yet. I think that’s a call to arms over the weekend while they get a little rest.
“I like where we are.”
On what he wanted to see from the scrimmage:
“With so many young players, it’s about how to go inside and come back out and be ready to play. Again, we started slow as an offense. We have to learn that you don’t get a feel-out practice in games. Guys now have more of an understanding.”
On the running the first-team offense against the second-team defense and vice versa:
“We tried to get some looks we may see. It was some portion of game planning. We didn’t want our first defense not running their defense.”
On Damien Thigpen and Morrell Presley impressing him the most:
“He’s proved he’s an exciting football player. We’ll find ways to get him into the game plan. And Morrell Presley did some good things.”
On Kevin Prince’s performance:
“There were a couple balls I think he could’ve let go if. His anticipation skills I still thing can grow. But I thought he managed the game well. I was disappointed that he tried to force that screen and had that turnover.”
With two-a-days over, here’s a brief rundown on how many of the injured stand. Some on crutches.
Micah Kia, torn ACL, out for season
Nick Ekbatani, sprained knee ligament, 4-6 weeks
Keenan Graham, broken jaw (suffered in scrimmage), no timetable
Christian Ramirez, high ankle sprain (scrimmage), no timetable
Morrell Presley, sore quad, should return soon
Kai Forbath, sore leg, back tomorrow
Some good, some bad.
Working with both the first and third teams, freshman tight end Morrell Presley (Carson High) was one of the surprises of Day 1. While there are plenty of tight end options, Presley appeared to be in the mix to at least see some time, based on three or four nice catches from Kevin Prince.
Presley had one particularly impressive grab near the end of practice, leaping to catch a ball before falling out of bounds, right over the outstretched arms of a leaping Kyle Bosworth.
Presley, on his status with the team:
In some parts of the program, I’m really not even considered a freshman,” Presley said. “They don’t treat me like one. They’ve thrown me in with the older dudes. I eat with the older dudes. I even grew up with a couple of them, went to middle school with them.”
On his chances to get some playing time:
“Everything is about competition out here,” Presley said. “It doesn’t matter how young you are. You can run a 4.2, be the fastest dude on the team, and still if you can’t routes or have an understanding of the routes, you’re not going to play.”
Kevin Prince, on Presley:
“He’s a great athlete, and he’s starting to learn everything,” Prince said. “He was here in the spring with us, but he’s still learning every day. He’s doing well, and I think he’ll be able to contribute in the fall. I hope so – he’s a great athlete.”
Practice is wrapping up, but I’ll be bringing you some player comments shortly.
Things were pretty breezy out there, but a couple players raised some eyebrows, including a freshman whom I spoke with. Players mentioned that the practice definitely took on a serious tone as the day wore on, with coach Rick Neuheisel staying on top of guys.
Stay tuned for one-on-one quotes, including Logan Paulsen, Alterraun Verner and Kevin Prince.