Tuesday, August 9, 2011
UCLA welcomes a pair of new players
By Peter Yoon
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel on Tuesday officially welcomed offensive lineman Albert Cid and defensive back Jamie Graham to the football team after both players cleared the UCLA admissions process and both players participated in practice on the second day of fall camp.
Cid (6-4, 330) is an offensive lineman who played last season at Citrus College and Graham (6-0, 195) played defensive back for three seasons at Vanderbilt.
They are welcome additions for UCLA, which is thin at both offensive line and defensive back.
Graham is more game ready of the two as camp gets underway because he played under defensive coordinator Jamie Bryan, who is close friends with UCLA defensive coordinator Joe Tresey and uses a similar defensive system at Vanderbilt.
"Every call is the exact same," Graham said. "I went in there the first day and I looked at the calls and I was like, 'Oh, OK.' So not much studying going on right now."
Cid has spent the past six weeks finishing up summer school classes so he would meet the UCLA admissions requirements so he acknowledged that he has had much time to get into football shape. He said he 330 pound right now and would like to get down to 315 by the end of camp.
"Right now it’s about getting in shape," he said. "I’ll pick up the playbook quick and then from there they’ll be able to determine how fast I’ll play."
Cid said he played in a zone blocking scheme at Citrus, so that knowledge should help him at UCLA, who also uses zone blocking. Offensive line coach Bob Palcic said Cid is a welcome addition to his thin troops, but won't expect too much too soon.
"We’ve just got to take one step at a time and be patient," Palcic said. "He has the athletic skills and he runs well and he’s strong but there’s a long learning curve that he has to work on."
There is also a spot on the offensive line that is up for grabs. Projected starter Jeff Baca is out for at least the first month of the season as he recovers from a broken ankle and freshman Wade Yandall has been taking reps at that spot, but it appears to be a spot that's till up for grabs.
"My expectations are to get in shape as fast as I can within two or three weeks and from there I’ll know the playbook and then I should be fighting for a starting position," Cid said.
He added that it was "a dream come true" to be at UCLA.
"It’s overwhelming," he said. "I was packing up my stuff I was like ‘I’m going to college. I’m going to be a Division I football player now."