In the defensive backfield, Head Coach Rick Neuheisel praised the improved level of play from CBs Aaron Hester and Dalton Hilliard, who is moving from free safety to what CRN labeled “a position of confidence” for the sophomore. FS Alex Mascarenas was also said to be performing well this spring.
LB Glenn Love, who shone at both “Will” and “Sam” (weak and strong outside linebacker), has made an impact in Spring Ball along with Patrick Larimore. During the first week, Larimore was criticized for having his intensity level cranked up to 12 (out of 10), but intensity tends to be a asset for linebackers in search of more playing time. In other words, expect to hear Larimore’s name called more often as 2010 unfolds.
On the defensive line, Nate Chandler has become a feel-good story whom CRN called “a good experiment gone very right at defensive line.” Formerly a reserve tight end, Chandler made the switch to defensive line, and has impressed his coaching staff with both his athleticism as well as his adaptability.
Already a seasoned Bruin, the junior hopes to make an impact in his final season as a lineman sacking the quarterback instead of protecting him.
On the injury front, LB Sean Westgate missed time with a stiff neck, as did CBs Marlon Pollard (with a tight hamstring) and Joseph Fauria (groin issues). On a more serious note, SS Tony Dye underwent tests for an irregular heartbeat, but was expected back by Thursday.
Coach Neuheisel indicated he was underwhelmed with the level of play of WRs Randall Carroll, Jerry Johnson, and Ricky Marvray, and is looking for one of his reserve WRs to step up this spring, especially with all the strategic changes on offense.
Underachieving receivers aside, the switch to the no-huddle Revolver has worked well in practice, and seems to have moved beyond the experimental stages. This exciting decision could change the identity of UCLA Football for years to come, but still requires polishing.