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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Jim Mora: UCLA is ‘no closer’ to finding a starting quarterback

Don’t expect UCLA to find a starting quarterback anytime soon.

“We are no closer,” head coach Jim Mora said Tuesday evening. “There’s nothing on the horizon in regards to a quarterback decision. I’m waiting to see somebody win the job. And nobody’s won it yet.”

More than halfway through preseason training camp, the Bruins have continued to rotate true freshman Josh Rosen and redshirt juniors Jerry Neuheisel and Mike Fafaul — declining to cut it down to even a two-man competition.

According to Mora, the quarterbacks are being constantly graded on various factors 24 hours a day. He would not say who was currently grading ahead, but insisted that the competition remains very close. Continue reading

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UCLA freshman Fred Ulu-Perry sees future at center

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.”

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UCLA camp notes: Three offensive linemen go down during practice

» UCLA lost three starting offensive linemen on Monday night when center Jake Brendel, right guard Alex Redmond and left tackle Conor McDermott all left the field with undisclosed injuries. None of them appeared to be limping significantly, and Brendel was smiling and laughing after the end of practice.

While the Bruins’ have improved depth on the offensive line this year, even the loss of one starter for an extended period of time could have a significant effect on the ceiling of this offense.

» Josh Rosen has not looked as consistently good as he did in spring, and the three-man quarterback competition has not been particularly compelling for the last few practices. Still, he is the one player that has the ability to make a truly head-turning play. On Monday night, those included a beautiful deep ball that went over right over Kenny Walker’s shoulder but off his hands, and a long touchdown pass to Nate Starks.

Rosen is slated to make his first media appearance this camp tomorrow afternoon.

» Hands down the most impressive play of the night belonged to Octavius Spencer. The freshman defensive back ran across the field and made a leaping interception to nab Mike Fafaul’s pass — one he held on too even as the receiver took out his legs mid-air.

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