LOS ANGELES--Instead of leaving some players in San Bernardino a'la the Junction Boys, UCLA came back from their two-week training camp with one extra body.
Jacob Seydel, an offensive lineman transfer from Riverside College, was with the Bruins during practice Saturday when the Bruins returned from Spaulding Field after spending the first two weeks of camp at Cal State San Bernardino.
Seydel, a 6-6, 285 pound sophomore, will be eligible to play this season. He was dressed only in shorts as he goes through the mandatory NCAA acclimatization period, but will compete for playing time during the remainder of camp.
He helps add some depth to an offensive line that was hit hard by injuries during the first two weeks of camp. Jeff Baca and Greg Capella, projected starters, and Alberto Cid, a key reserve, were held out of practice again on Saturday and there is no word on a return date for them. Chris Ward recently took a medical retirement.
"One of the things we talked about all camp is the need to build depth on our offensive line and this was an opportunity to do that so we took advantage of it," coach Jim Mora said. "We have scholarships available and he’s a guy that’s worthy."
Mora said Seydel would compete mostly at guard but may also get some time at tackle.
"He’s athletic, he’s got good size," Mora said. "He’s got good hands, good feet, good toughness. He’s a smart kid."
Mora said Seydel had been recruited to UCLA and has a previous relationship with offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. The Bruins had a couple of scholarships open with the medical retirements of Ward and linebacker Patrick Larimore, so they made the late offer to Seydel.
"I feel like it’s the NFL here," said Mora, former coach of the Seattle Seahawks and Atlanta Falcons. "We’re signing free agents."
This is our turf: Saturday's return to Westwood marked the first practice for the Bruins on their newly-installed field turf. The previous turf had been blamed for several injuries over the years because of it's poor quality, but the new field is top-notch, Mora said.
"It’s soft and it’s flat," Mora said. "There are no undulations in it. It’s beautiful and I think the guys really appreciate it."
The grass field was also replaced, but UCLA did not use it Saturday.
Notes: Cornerback Aaron Hester missed practice because of an illness...safety Dalton Hilliard was not in attendance because of a family issue...Baca, Capella and Cid were all at practice but did not dress.