UCLA had a high energy level for a practice Wednesday and the players set the tone by huddling together in the middle of the field as they would before a game and bouncing up and down singing a song.
The spirited practice also featured a few minor skirmishes as well as a fairly major shoving match between Cassius Marsh and Torian White that resulted in White throwing his helmet to the ground and having to be restrained by teammates.
"Another great practice where we got lots done coaching our tails off, playing hard, people angry, people fighting," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "It’s football and it warms your heart if you’re into that sort of thing and I’m looking forward to a spirited game on Saturday."
A few tidbits:
The quarterback reps again went mostly to Richard Brehaut, though Kevin Prince and Brett Hundley also got a fair share. Hundley seemed a little more involved with the run game, indicating that his package of plays will focus on that part of the offense when and if it is unveiled.
With Brehaut getting the starting nod at Oregon State, he's looking to become more of a leader, but Neuheisel says he wants Brehaut to take one step at a time. "I want him concentrating on doing the little things right in terms of the position," Neuheisel said. "As he does that, his confidence will soar, the team will look to him more and that leadership piece will fall to him naturally."
Kicker Kip Smith dressed but did not participate as he continues to nurse a hip flexor injury. Punter Jeff Locke is in the kicker's role for now. He made two of four field-goal attempts in early practice drills, missing badly for 30 and 35 yards but drilling a 40-yard attempt.
The two-minute drive at the end of practice stalled near midfield, a good sign for the defense because the offense has been scoring touchdowns on a regular basis. Locke attempted a 57-yard field goal but missed. Neuheisel lamented the inconsistency on offense this season. "We make lots of plays that have been on SportsCenter and things like that, we just don’t make them as consistently as the good teams do and that’s what we have to do," he said.
Malcolm Jones, who has only one rushing attempt through the first three games, also was more involved in the offense and Neuheisel said he expected to have Jones more involved on game days going forward. "Given the situations thus far in games he has not gotten as many carries as we would have liked him to have received, but we still have nothing but high regard for Malcolm and his talent and think he can be a huge addition to this team not only this year but in the future," Neuheisel said. "We’re early in the season and there are lots of chances and Malcolm will turn into a very valuable guy here very shortly."
Safety Tony Dye sat out once again as he recovers from "stingers" but all signs are that he will play Saturday at Oregon State.
Cornerback Jamie Graham dressed in shoulder pads and cleats and did some running on the side for the first time since August surgery to repair a torn meniscus, but he said Tuesday that he's two weeks from returning to game action.
Freshman defensive lineman Kevin McReynolds has a concussion and did not suit up for practice as he begins the concussion protocol.
Cornerback Andrew Abbott is still out because of a concussion and says he is definitely out for Saturday and is unsure if he'll even make the trip to Oregon State.