Offensive lineman Jeff Baca practiced with the team for the first time since surgery to repair a broken ankle in March. Baca, who sat out last season because of academic suspension, is considered UCLA's top offensive lineman. He worked sparingly with the first team at weak side tackle and coach Rick Neuheisel said Baca may play Saturday against San Jose State. "It’s really a conditioning thing," Neuheisel said. "He has not played football now for a long time. He had a brief fling in spring ball, but that didn’t last long and he didn’t play all last fall, but he’s chomping at the bit to get back in there."
Baca's return would help shore up the loss of center Kai Maiava to suspension for this game. In Maiava's absence, Greg Capella will slide over from guard and start at center. Chris Ward will start at one guard and, if Baca is ready, he'll likely take over at tackle and move Sean Sheller to guard. Albert Cid will play the second guard if Baca is not ready to go.
Linebacker Glenn Love was scheduled to see a doctor Tuesday night to determine the status of his dislocated shoulder. "He's feeling much better. He's chomping at the bit to get in there so we'll see what the doctors say."
North Carolina transfer Brandon Willis, who enrolled in classes Tuesday, rejoined the team and practiced in full pads, getting limited reps with the third string at defensive tackle. He is trying to get a waiver from the NCAA that would make him eligible to play this season, but Neuheisel was unsure how long it would take. "I know that we’re going to try. I know it would be a great thing for Brandon and I think having sat for as long as he sat and really not doing anything wrong on his part, I think it would be a neat thing if the NCAA would allow it to happen, but that’s in somebody else’s hands. Because he doesn’t get the year back, I think it’s the right thing to do but we’ll wait and see what smarter guys than I think."