UCLA Football: Week 2 Fall Practice Stock Report
Jim Mora and the UCLA Bruins are wrapping up the two-week fall camp period in San Bernardino. Due to injury concerns, younger players are going to be thrust into significant roles.
As is the case with the majority of teams nationally, fall practice has been a mixed bag of sorts.
Here's a progress report of the second week of fall practice for the UCLA football team.
Stock Up: The Two Devins
Both Devin Fuller and Devin Lucien have stood out this week. If the duo can continue performing at this level, opposing Pac-12 defenses will be in a world of hurt.
According to Mora, via the Los Angeles Times, Lucien "[seemingly] every day goes up and makes an exciting, unbelievable, acrobatic catch."
Lucien's leaping ability makes him very dangerous on any jump ball attempt. More often than not, he'll be the one coming down with the catch.
After practice Thursday, Mora was very complimentary of Fuller.
The former quarterback from New Jersey has been running routes "that are much better." Fuller's body control was also lauded, as was his "body control while running his routes."
Lastly, Mora mentioned Fuller's athleticism and how he "makes everything look effortless."
There's no doubt that Fuller has sublime quickness off of the line of scrimmage. In the slot, he should be an absolute terror for defensive backs to match up with.
Fuller, Lucien, Shaq Evans and Jordan Payton figure to make up one of the most potent receiving quartets in the conference.
Stock Down: Eddie Vanderdoes
Eddie Vanderdoes' collegiate career hasn't exactly gotten off to a great start.
He's been plagued with a sore back throughout camp. While he's done some non-contact individual drills, he hasn't really been able to participate in team drills.
With projected starting defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa out for the season, Vanderdoes was expected to compete for a starting spot. The inability to practice could really stunt his development leading up to the beginning of the season.
Mora echoes those sentiments in a report from Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times. The head coach mentions that, "you can't replace the reps that he's missing right now... We need him to contribute. He's capable of contributing if he gets practice time."
Stock Up: Keenan Graham
With Vanderdoes nursing a back injury, senior defensive end Keenan Graham looks poised to capitalize on the opportunity.
Formerly a linebacker, the Las Vegas native has made the transition over to end in order to compensate for depth issues at the position. Graham has played with tons of energy throughout camp.
Per Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News, Mora mentioned that Graham has been "a bright spot" during camp, and that Graham "plays with really good pad level, great leverage. He gets under guys."
Graham senses this might be his last shot at making a name for himself at UCLA. He mentions in a piece by Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times that, "I've just got to keep coming to work. I want a role."
He's currently battling Brandon Willis for the starting spot. Once Vanderdoes gets healthy, he'll also figure into the competiton.
Stock Down: Injuries to the Offensive Line
The concussion bug has plagued the roster throughout this week.
According to the Los Angeles Daily News, seven players have missed time due to concussion-like symptoms. Five of the seven (Ben Wysocki, Kevin McReynolds, Alex Redmond, Poasi Moala and John Lopez) are offensive linemen.
In addition, Simon Goines left practice Thursday with a hyperextended knee. The Daily Bruin reported that the injury doesn't appear to be serious. Mora was interviewed after the practice, and said that an MRI wasn't needed.
Losing Goines for an extended period of time would be a big blow. The depth behind the starting unit is shallow and inexperienced, to say the least.
Redshirt freshman Connor McDermott took over in Goines' absence.
Stock Up: The Young Defenders
Four freshmen defensive players have flashed this week.
Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News reported Thursday that Jayon Brown has impressed Mora with his transition from linebacker to safety. Mora also mentioned that Brown would likely start at nickelback if the season started today.
Wang also reported Mora's admiration for freshman corner Priest Willis. Mora said that Willis is "a friggin' picture-perfect, beautiful corner."
Willis' development will be huge for the Bruins. With a thin secondary, he's more than likely going to see lots of play time right off the bat.
As for the linebackers, both Myles Jack and Isaac Savaiinaea have done quite well.
Mora mentioned in this report from Edward Lewis of BruinSportsReport that Savaiinaea "does not conduct himself like a freshman." He also mentioned that Savaiinaea "doesn't seem overwhelmed by this level of play."
Mora has been raving about Jack's ability to cover receivers in space. In particular, Mora remarked that Jack's athleticism "is unbelievable."
He also said that "[Jack] has great change of direction. Amazing quickness. You'll continue to see us put him down there and cover wideouts."
Stock Down: The Backup Quarterbacks
The backup quarterback to Brett Hundley is a mystery up to this point.
Freshman Asiantii Woulard is by far the most talented option behind Hundley. Woulard has impressed throughout fall camp, displaying all of the tools to become Hundley's eventual successor.
For as talented as Woulard is, he's still relatively raw as a quarterback. Taking a redshirt year would probably be the best thing for his overall development.
Other options that exist include Jerry Neuheisel and T.J. Millweard. Of the two, Millweard is bigger and stronger.
Right now, it's anyone's guess as to who will be Plan B behind Hundley.
According to offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone, per the Los Angeles Times, he's "looking for consistency... The one who can start maintaining his focus through the whole course of practice will take the lead."
Mazzone also mentions that "[he] feels good about one of them after one practice, then he doesn't do too good the next practice and someone else flashes."
It's imperative that UCLA finds a credible option to play if Hundley gets injured. Fortunately for the Bruins, two weeks exist before the season opener against Nevada.
Stock Up: Brett Hundley
Brett Hundley is seemingly taking the next step in becoming one of the elite quarterbacks in the entire nation.
Sports Illustrated recently released a profile on Hundley's development as a player. Coaches and teammates alike all spoke about Hundley's drive to truly become great. Aside from his ability on the gridiron, Hundley has also seemingly taken on a leadership role for the team.
During the post-practice media session on Thursday, Mora remarked that "Hundley has been great, he's had a great camp so far. He's making progress every day and I'm excited about the direction he's headed in."
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