Breaking Down UCLA's Latest Depth-Chart Moves Midway Through Fall Camp

Kyle KensingContributor IAugust 12, 2014

UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley (17) throws behind UCLA offensive tackle Simon Goines (70) who is facing Nebraska defensive end Randy Gregory (44), in the second half of an NCAA college football game in Lincoln, Neb., Saturday, Sept. 14, 2013. UCLA defeated Nebraska 41-21. (AP Photo/Nati Harnik)
Nati Harnik/Associated Press

UCLA fall camp at Cal State San Bernardino is in full swing, and so too are shifts in the Bruins lineup. 

Perhaps the most notable change after the first week of practices is Adarius Pickett's move from defensive back to running back. 

Pickett came in this offseason with 4-star billing at cornerback, but the depth of the UCLA secondary, combined with uncertainty at running back, necessitated the move.

Although touted for his ability on defense, Pickett won't be out of place on offense. His performance at running back last year for El Cerrito High School in El Cerrito, California, included a 251-yard, four-touchdown outing in the California Interscholastic Federation North Coast Section Division III championship, per Stephanie Hammon of the Contra Costa Times   

UCLA's search for backfield reliability is among the more pressing issues facing the Bruins at fall camp, and Jordon James missing repetitions due to an injury won't help.

James was the Bruins' leading rusher through the first month of 2013, going for at least 105 yards in each of the first three games. He's making his return from an ankle injury, but Ryan Kartje of the Orange County Register reports James has missed time due to a hamstring injury. 

James' is just one among numerous injuries vexing the Bruins through the first week of practices. Two in particular have to cause concern for head coach Jim Mora. 

Offensive lineman Jake Brendel left practice Monday with a leg injury, per Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News, just days after it was announced that fellow lineman Simon Goines had ankle surgery, per Wang:

Goines suffered an injury-plagued 2013. His absence, coupled with various other issues along the Bruins' front five, led to UCLA starting three true freshmen. 

The Bruins surrendered 36 sacks a season ago, second most among all Pac-12 teams.

With Goines out, redshirt freshman Conor McDermott has an opportunity to climb up the depth chart—as soon as he recovers from shoulder surgery.  

"We have numbers, but not as much quality as I would like," offensive line coach Adrian Klemm told Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times. "We are definitely getting better, definitely heading in the right direction. We're still developing."

Likewise, first-year defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich is still developing his lineup since taking over for Lou Spanos. 

"His NFL experience, his football experience and his IQ is wearing off on all of us," linebacker Eric Kendricks said of Ulbrich in July at Pac-12 media days. 

Fall camp is Ulbrich's first opportunity to impart his experience on the entire 2014 roster, including newcomers like 4-star linebacker recruit Kenny Young

Young is among those Bruins competing for a spot in a linebacker rotation that replaces 2013 starters Anthony Barr and Jordan Zumwalt. 

The battle to replace Barr at outside linebacker is one of particular interest, with Aaron Wallace, Deon Hollins and Kenny Orjioke all jockeying for the job.

In his Orange County Register notebook, Kartje described Hollins as "nearly unstoppable at times."

That's one position that could be listed in UCLA's Week 1 depth chart with an "OR," denoting a game-time decision for the starting nod.   


Quotes obtained firsthand unless otherwise cited. Statistics compiled via Recruiting rankings and information culled from composite scores.