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  • UCLA Football: The Bruin Hustle

    UCLA Tight End Joseph Fauria

    Scott Robinson

    As evidenced by the variance in snaps, the QB position appears to be at the forefront as this spring’s most important decision for Coach Mora. Luckily for the coach, the quarterbacks threw with a little more certainty and confidence today as the separation in the race began to unveil itself.

    Working with the first group, comprised of Kevin Prince, Brett Hundley and Richard Brehaut, the coaching staff continued to impart game-tangible lessons as the practice progressed. In the second group, and showing slightly less accuracy today, were TJ Millweard, Jerry Neuheisel and Mike Fafaul.

    Between the three quarterbacks vying for the starter role, Prince might have shown the best performance of the day. Prince hit Fauria and Shaq Evans in stride on a couple plays—definitely better in timing and shoulder placement than on Tuesday. Hundley showed improvement in the medium to longer passes, with two exceptionally zipped spirals into a slant by Jerry Rice Jr. and post pattern by Jordan James, respectively.

    Richard Brehaut, however, looks like the most well-rounded QB. Not the best spirals, nor necessarily the most accurate but today he seemed to hit the most receivers with catch-able balls.

    Of the RB’s, Dalton Hilliard continues to show incredible accelerating speed and soft hands. Despite having some trouble holding onto the ball again, Hilliard displayed—a number of times—the ability to cradle in a tough pass and turn up-field. Such a play-maker, one that can deliver the after-the-catch yardage, was sorely missing from last year’s offense.

    Between Hilliard, James and Lucien, Mazzone will have quite a few options.

    Tempo, Tempo, Tempo

    The squad looked even faster in practice today, as they continue to learn the expected pace between drills. With what appears to be a greater bang-for-the-buck in this quicker practice regimen, the energy also incidentally continues to rise.

    Another “dust-up,” as Coach Mora puts it, occurred between TE Joseph Fauria and DS Andrew Abbott. After being separated, play continued on; “Dust-ups” should be something interesting to watch in gauging Mora, as he did explain the implications of costing the team…

    After two practices, it’s becoming apparent that this particular set of style, in which virtually no player stands around (even Special Teams), is going to have a significant impact on the overall physical fitness of the group. In other words, these guys are literally running around every minute. They sprint between drills, they sprint between snaps and they sprint between coaches.

    Simultaneously, the tempo has its drawbacks; the first significant spring camp injury occurred when Fauria pulled up lame while running a streak up the middle. His status will need further evaluation, depending on the severity of a hamstring pull.

    On the flip side of injury news, DB Tevin McDonald has looked very impressive in the secondary. At one point in a scrimmage-like drill McDonald’s defense elicited Mora’s specific validation—Mora came running straight over to him, shouting in support, “Good job! Good job!”

    Practice Notes:

    Remember to ask for players or coaches to report on! Tweet us who you'd like us to cover at @BruinsBall!

    Requested Players

    (Thanks for the first request, @BruinsFan818!):

    -Dalton Hilliard: At his size, the speed he carries is uncommon—will definitely be a nice receiver out of the backfield, especially if paired up against a slower LB. Surprisingly quick laterally as well—was able to juke past LB Kendricks on one particular play.

    -Brandon Willis: Looks really big and physical; Played at the NT for a bit with Jones and Marsh on either side. Not as quick but definitely strong—in the bull drill he was a beast.

    -Tevin McDonald: Best performer today of the DB’s. Showed a consistent ability to stay with every receiver—Includes a mental game that puts him in the right spot to defend, almost intuitively. Very quick and with better D-Line play, he should have a great year.

    -Andrew Abbott: Despite being a little smaller, he is a nasty defender. Reminds me of Trey Brown from a few years back; has a knack to get the job done, no matter the cost. Quick feet and can adjust his hips well to the offensive counterpart. A few plays after his dust-up he looked like he roughed up a leg—should be fine, however.

    -Stan McKay: Had a few balls thrown on him that were caught and shouldn’t have been; Although, it looks like he can hit very hard. Will be interested to see him with pads on defending against those same throws that were caught—something tells me they wouldn’t have been.

    -Marcus Rios: Coach Mora at one point called out Rios for lack of hustle. Seemed like a “welcome to college football” kind of message. Rios definitely responded—he sprinted out that play and hustled the remaining time on the field. His frame should allow another 10-15 pounds but his height and speed might vault him towards playing time even being a lightweight.

    -Aaron Hester: Also looks stronger this year; Had a couple nice tipped away passes. His experience will be sorely needed this Fall.

    Follow Spring Practice here on and Twitter: @BruinsBall
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