UCLA: Alex Mascarenas

UCLA makes changes to football roster

July, 5, 2012
7/05/12
5:18
PM PT
UCLA is losing five scholarship players from last year's team and two incoming freshmen will greyshirt to get the Bruins to the NCAA scholarship limit of 85 according to a source in the athletic department.

Safety Alex Mascarenas and offensive lineman Wade Yandall have taken medical retirements, safety Anthony Thompson and linebacker Jared Koster are transferring and defensive lineman Wesley Flowers is leaving because of a coaches decision. Those players are no longer listed on the official UCLA football roster.

In addition, incoming freshmen Lacy Westbrook and Eli Ankou did not enroll in school along with the rest of the freshmen class last week and will greyshirt this season to help the Bruins get the scholarship count down.

UCLA ended spring practice with 69 players on scholarship and expecting 23 incoming scholarship freshmen, which would have put the Bruins at 92 scholarships -- seven over the NCAA limit. With five players leaving the team and two greyshirts, they are at 85 on the nose.

Mascarenas and Yandall have dealt with the effects of concussions over the last year and decided the risk of further damage was too great to continue playing. Yandall was slated to start at guard this season after working his way into the starting lineup last season. He missed the final four games because of a concussion and briefly returned during spring practice, but his symptoms recurred.

Mascarenas started two of the first four games last season before his concussion forced hm to miss the last 10. Both Mascarenas and Yandall are eligible to remain on scholarship at UCLA, though they will not count against the limit because they are medical retirements.

Koster, a junior, had an injury-plagued first two seasons and played primarily on special teams. Thompson, a redshirt freshman, never played in a game for the Bruins. Flowers, a redshirt sophomore, was dismissed from the team in January for disciplinary reasons but was given permission to stay with the team through spring practice.

Westbrook is a 6-foot-4, 300-pound offensive lineman from Dominguez High in Compton and Ankou is a 6-3, 257-pound defensive end/linebacker from Delaware. As greyshirts, they will not enroll at UCLA until after the season and therefore their scholarships don't count on this year's team.

Video: Jim Mora, spring practice No. 14

May, 3, 2012
5/03/12
6:26
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- UCLA coach Jim Mora addressed the media following the Bruins' final spring practice. He addressed Devin Lucien's return to practice after leaving Tuesday on crutches and a few other injury notes. He also talked about the format of Saturday's spring game at the Rose Bowl and reflected on Junior Seau's death and the importance of monitoring head injuries. Patrick Larimore, Malcolm Jones, Wade Yandall and Alex Mascarenas are among the Bruins currently out because of concussions.

After spending a week in a training camp environment, UCLA entered game-planning mode Monday with the first teams facing scout teams as the Bruins prepared to face Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl on Dec. 31 in San Francisco.

And for offensive tackles Mike Harris and Jeff Baca, that meant getting ready for No. 85.

Neither Baca nor Harris could name Illinois defensive end Whitney Mercilus by name, but they had seen enough film on him to know why No. 85 is a consensus All-American and the winner of the Bill Willis Trophy as the nation's top defensive lineman. He leads the nation in sacks with 14.5 and forced fumbles with nine -- one short of the NCAA record.

"Going up against a guy like that you have to bring your A-game," Baca said. "He’s really quick. He’s quick off the ball, he’s got some great moves, great hands, plays with great leverage. He’s an all-around great football player."

Mercilus, a 6-4, 265-pound junior, is the first Fighting Illini defensive player named first-team All-American since Kevin Hardy in 1995. He is tied for fifth in the nation in tackles for loss with 19.5 and is two sacks shy of the Illinois single-season record held by Simeon Rice.

"I’ve had a few weeks to prepare for him so that’s what I’ve been doing, watching films and tendencies," Harris said. "He’s a high-motor guy. If my technique is not right then I won’t be able to get my job done so I have to go in there on every play and make sure my fundamentals and technique are proper so I can try to dominate."

Harris, a senior, said he is relishing the opportunity of going up against a future NFL player so that he can measure his own ability and hopefully improve his stock as he enters the NFL draft season.

"I know this is a very important game for me, especially if I want to continue my career at the next level," Harris said. "I know a lot of scouts are going to be watching this game and I’m excited for the challenge."

Interim coach Mike Johnson said No. 85 has been a major part of the early game planning.

"He’s a big-time player," Johnson said. "He’s one of those guys who has great lateral movement. He’s quick off the ball. It’s a guy that we have to account for, a guy that we have to know where he is at all times."

A few tidbits from practice:
  • Linebacker Patrick Larimore was at practice for the first time since undergoing surgery to repair a torn ligament and bone chips in his right thumb. Larimore did not practice but said he was hopeful to be back by Friday and was probable for the bowl game.
  • Alex Mascarenas needed eight stitches after getting run over on the sidelines when Jordon James and Randall Carroll crashed in to him during a practice drill. Mascarenas, sidelined because of a concussion, was observing from out of bounds when the play came his way. He ended up with two major gashes, one below his eye and one above it. He is not going to play in the bowl game.
  • Linebacker Sean Westgate was not dressed as he continues to recover from a concussion. Johnson said his status for the bowl game was "still up in the air."
  • Safety Tony Dye did not attend practice as he tries to recover from an ankle injury suffered against USC. Johnson said Dye "has a good chance to come back" for the bowl game. Defensive lineman Damien Holmes also missed practice as he attended a personal matter.
  • Grades from the fall quarter are beginning to trickle in and that means the coaching staff is on the lookout for anyone who might be academically ineligible for the bowl game. Johnson said he feared there were one or two guys who might fall into that category. "I think they are still trying to finalize the final list for the guys," Johnson said. "Grades are coming in today, tomorrow. So by the middle of the week I’ll know more about who is going to be here and who are the potential problems. I think there’s one or two guys that may be in question and I’m just waiting to get more information."

Devin Lucien happy with UCLA's direction

December, 17, 2011
12/17/11
2:13
PM PT
There never was a question regarding Devin Lucien's readiness as a true freshman. Those who saw him during fall camp gushed about the potential and raw ability.

But with three seniors and two juniors making up the receiving corps, there was no need to rush the process. Lucien understands that, though he wasn't necessarily thrilled with the decision.

"I hated redshirting," Lucien said. "I hated it with a passion, especially when traveling with the team because you do everything but you don't play."

After Rick Neuheisel was fired, Lucien said he'd reassess his options based on which coach UCLA hired, according to the Orange County Register. Making Lucien's decision easier was coach Jim Mora's hiring of Arizona State receivers coach Steve Broussard, who nearly lured Lucien to Tempe out of high school.

"I'm really excited with the new coaching staff," Lucien said. "I've been able to talk to coach Mora one time and I'm just really excited for next year. I'm hungry as can be and I'm ready to go."

Other news and notes from Saturday’s practice, as the Bruins continued to prepare for the Dec. 31 Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against Illinois:

-- A flock of local recruits unofficially visited campus and met Mora for the first time, attending the latter half of Saturday's practice. The bunch included highly touted defensive tackle Ellis McCarthy (Monrovia), defensive backs Brandon Beaver (Dominguez) and Kevon Seymour (Muir), lineman Jeremy Castro (Vista Murrieta) and offensive linemen Kyle Long (Saddleback College) and Colby Cyburt (Mission Viejo). Linebacker Aaron Porter (La Habra) and lineman Lacy Westbrook, among a group of those already committed to UCLA, also attended.

-- Quarterback Kevin Prince returned to practice after missing Friday's session with a sore knee. "I thought he looked good," interim coach Mike Johnson said. "He came out with good energy and I thought he made the right checks and got the ball out of his hand. I thought the day off was good for him."

-- Johnson, a candidate for the head coaching position at Akron, had no update on his job status, but said he anticipates to make a decision early next week. "There's a couple of things out there that I'm looking at," Johnson added. "Probably sometime next week I'll know."

-- It just keeps getting worse for safety Alex Mascarenas (concussion), who has been out of practice since the middle of November. Mascarenas suffered two cuts above his left eye when Randall Carroll ran into him during an interception return, needing a towel to wipe off the blood. He was taken into the trainer's room.

-- Interim quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo, who will serve as the tight ends coach on Mora's staff, combined both groups for a quick-pass drill early in practice.

-- Safety Dalton Hilliard once again practiced in a red no-contact jersey.

Tuiasosopo gets into groove as new QB coach

December, 13, 2011
12/13/11
2:31
PM PT
Just like at every other practice this season, the UCLA quarterbacks briefly huddled up Tuesday morning while the rest of the team stretched in the background. Then, interim quarterbacks coach Marques Tuiasosopo -- who stepped in when Rick Neuheisel was fired -- joined them.

The huddle disintegrated following a quick chant, and each quarterback broke away with a signature dance that's been fine tuned throughout the year. Tuiasosopo didn't hold back, either.

"I want to give him a seven out of 10," freshman Brett Hundley said of Tuiasosopo's dance moves, "but I'm being pretty nice."

"He's are better than I expected, but he's still sub-par," junior Richard Brehaut said, laughing. "He was a little bit stiff but, other than that, I'll give him an A for effort."

Tuiasosopo, who before the promotion served as an intern, apparently brings a rejuvenated approach to the position. There were limitations, per NCAA rules, on what he could and could not do as an intern. Now there are no restrictions, and Tuiasosopo has embraced the freedom.

"I'm able to be with the quarterbacks in the meeting room, and I can give my 100 percent coaching them," Tuiasosopo said. "I have no stipulations. It's been a great opportunity for me."

The quarterbacks praised the job Neuheisel did as their position coach and haven't noticed major changes between the two. Tuiasosopo, a former second-round draft selection of the Oakland Raiders, was a quarterback at Washington while Neuheisel was head coach of the Huskies.

"Coach Neuheisel, he was the head coach, so he had to be paying attention to other things," redshirt junior Kevin Prince said. "Coach Tui' is focused on us all day. The only thing he cares about is the quarterback position, so he's a lot more attentive to the little things we're doing."

Tuiasosopo, 32, said he knows newly hired coach Jim L. Mora "pretty well" from his time at Washington, and that he "would love to stay" as quarterbacks coach past Dec. 31, when the Bruins take on Illinois in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl in San Francisco.

"We'll have a chance to speak to coach Mora at some point this week and he and the administration will make those decisions," Tuiasosopo said.

Other news and notes from Tuesday’s practice:

• Immediately after the post-practice huddle, players scurried off Spaulding Field for a meeting with Mora. The meeting went on inside the Bud Knapp Football Center for close to 30 minutes.

• Starting middle linebacker Patrick Larimore had surgery on his injured thumb and did not practice. Interim head coach Mike Johnson said Larimore will most likely be outfitted with a cast and should play in the bowl game. "He's not out," Johnson. "I think he's going to come back and try to play. He's questionable right now."

• Junior defensive end Datone Jones threw a punch at offensive lineman Brett Downey. "That's what happens when you run all those plays and have all that testosterone going," Johnson said. "Sometimes you get upset. One guy pulls another guy, but you can't lose your cool. It has to be part of our discipline heading into this game."

• Johnson said he had no update on the possibility of him taking the head coaching position at Akron. "It's the same as yesterday. Nothing has changed," Johnson said.

• Running-game coordinator Jim Mastro, who reportedly has been hired as an assistant at Washington State, was not at practice for the third straight day.

• Sophomore offensive lineman Chris Ward is scheduled to undergo left knee surgery and is out indefinitely. Safety Dalton Hilliard wore a red no-contact jersey, while Tony Dye, Sean Westgate and Alex Mascarenas did not dress.

• Brehaut made the two best throws of the two-hour session, hitting Shaquelle Evans on a skinny post for a long touchdown and, a few minutes later, lofting a soft fade pass to Derrick Coleman down the sideline.

UCLA injury report vs Colorado

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
6:54
PM PT
UCLA safety Alex Mascarenas sat out of practice Thursday after feeling dizziness following Wednesday's practice and is listed as out for the Colorado game.

Mascarenas has been missed the last six weeks because of a concussion. He returned to practice this week and worked out Tuesday and Wednesday, but had a setback.

The complete official injury report:

Richard Brehaut, QB (ankle), Probable

Derrick Coleman, RB (hip), Probable

Tony Dye, S (neck), Probable

Alex Mascarenas, S (concussion), Out

Dietrich Riley, S (neck), Out

Chris Ward, OL, (knee), Out

Jordan Zumwalt, LB (hip), Questionable.

Out – player definitely will not play

Doubtful – at least 75% chance player will not play

Questionable – 50-50 chance player will not play

Probable – virtual certainty player will be available for the game

Tony Dye optimistic for return this week

November, 15, 2011
11/15/11
8:33
PM PT
Tony Dye was happy just to have a numbered jersey again.

The senior safety, out since Sept. 17 because of a lingering neck issue, shed the red no-contact jersey Tuesday and said he felt great. Dye was scheduled to see a doctor to "revisit things," but indicated that he plans on taking the field Saturday in UCLA's home finale against Colorado.

"I've always wanted to come back, especially since we have a real shot at the Pac-12 championship," Dye said. "I really want to be a part of it."

Dye added that he and his family had discussions about the possibility of taking a medical redshirt and returning next year for a fifth season. But rest helped the numbness wear off to the point where he feels comfortable enough to play.

"I'm a competitor and I really want to be a part of this opportunity I have right now," Dye said. "Coming back [next year] would have been an amazing thing but I want to spend the time I have with them right now and try to get this W."

Coach Rick Neuheisel said he did not get a bad update on Dye, though he didn't necessarily keep an eye on him during practice. Neuheisel will gauge Dye's readiness by looking at the film.

Dye had started 28 consecutive games prior to the injury.

Other news and notes from Tuesday's practice:

-- Quarterback Richard Brehaut (leg), listed as probable on the team's injury report, received second-team reps and ran sprints toward the end of practice. "There's some pain but it's nothing that I can't get through if need be," Brehaut said. Aside from the minor pain, Brehaut said it was the best he's felt since he got hurt Oct. 8 in a win against Washington State. "There's still a little bit of rust on my timing of some routes that I've got to improve," Brehaut said.

-- Running back Derrick Coleman, who sat out most of the second half against Utah with a hip injury, practiced fully.

-- Freshman cornerback Anthony Jefferson, who underwent back surgery in the summer, has received clearance for full contact but Neuheisel said he wasn't sure if Jefferson is ready to play.

-- Sophomore safety Alex Mascarenas (concussion) went through drills in the red no-contact jersey.

-- Senior receiver Josh Smith, who played at Colorado for two years before transferring to UCLA in 2009, said he might feel emotional when he lines up against his former team on Saturday. "There's definitely going to be some emotional ties because a lot of those guys were like family to me. Me personally I still remember the fight song, so it's going to be weird. ... But we're going to be yelling the UCLA song loud and proud all day. There will be guys on the other side who I'm familiar with and I can't wait to get a shot at them because it's all love." Senior center Kai Maiava transferred to UCLA from Colorado in 2008.
UCLA safety Dietrich Riley is listed as questionable for Saturday's game against Arizona State after getting carted off the field an hospitalized over the weekend following a scary collision against California.

Riley was back with the team for meetings and film sessions Sunday and coach Rick Neuheisel said he "looked absolutely fine."

The complete injury report:

David Allen, LB (knee), Questionable

Richard Brehaut, QB (ankle), Out

Tony Dye, S (neck), Out

Jared Koster, LB (neck), Out

Jeff Locke, P (shoulder), Probable

Alex Mascarenas, S (head), Out

Dietrich Riley, S (neck), Questionable

Kip Smith, K (leg), Out

Iuta Tepa, DL (back), Questionable

Chris Ward, OL, (knee), Questionable

Out – player definitely will not play

Doubtful – at least 75% chance player will not play

Questionable – 50-50 chance player will not play

Probable – virtual certainty player will be available for the game

UCLA injury report vs Arizona

October, 18, 2011
10/18/11
7:38
PM PT
UCLA's official injury report for Oct. 20 at Arizona:



David Allen, LB (right knee) Doubtful

Anthony Barr, FB (right knee) Out

Richard Brehaut, QB (left ankle) Out

Tony Dye, S (neck) Out

Jamie Graham, CB (left knee) Out

Alex Mascarenas, S (head) Out

Sheldon Price, CB (right knee) Probable

Kip Smith, K (right quad) Questionable

Out – player definitely will not play

Doubtful – at least 75% chance player will not play

Questionable – 50-50 chance player will not play

Probable – virtual certainty player will be available for the game

Practice report: Sunday quick hits

October, 16, 2011
10/16/11
8:18
PM PT
Because of a Thursday night game this week at Arizona, UCLA's practice schedule has been moved up two days and the Bruins held a Sunday evening practice.

The Bruins usually take Sunday and Monday off, but the scheduling for Thursday night's ESPN game throws a bit of a wrench into game planning week. Monday's practice will take place at 6 p.m. accommodate the players who have classes on Monday afternoons.

"It’s always a little bit of a change from your normal routine and routine is everything in football, but I’m hopeful that our hunger to play well in this kind of setting will offset that," coach Rick Neuheisel said.

Despite the departure, the practice seemed to have the same energy level as a normal day at Spaulding Field and Neuheisel came away from the session happy.

"A very crisp practice," Neuheisel said. "I was pleased with the tempo, I was pleased with the way the kids are into it as well they should be. It’s exciting around here. We’ve got a big game on national television and if we can keep this thing rolling and play well this weekend, we can be in the thick of things so we’re excited about the opportunity."

A few tidbits:
  • Some of UCLA's injured players began trickling back. Cornerback Sheldon Price was pretty much full speed as he makes his way back from a sprained knee. Receiver Nelson Rosario was back from a sprained foot that kept him out of practice last week and receiver Shaquelle Evans was in a red no-contact jersey as he completes the school's concussion protocol. Offensive lineman Albert Cid, held out after feeling shortness of breath last week, was also back.
  • Safety Tony Dye, still fighting through a nerve issue in his neck, was dressed and in a red no-contact jersey but did not participate in any drills. Safety Alex Mascarenas (concussion) did not dress.
  • Receiver Randall Carroll again came to practice with two jerseys and did some work at cornerback with the first-team defense against the scout offense. He switched back to the offense when the first team offense went up against the first team defense.
  • The first incarnation of the two-minute drill didn't last very long because on the first play, quarterback Kevin Prince hit Evans on a short crossing route and Evans turned up the left sideline and outraced safety Tevin McDonald to the end zone for an 80-yard score. They reset and Prince connected with Cory Harkey for a gain of about 35 yards. After two more short gains, Tyler Gonzalez drilled a 32-yard field goal.

Practice report: Thursday quick hits

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
9:48
PM PT
UCLA finished it's bye week practice slate with another day in full pads that was capped with a live scrimmage between the scout teams.

Coach Rick Neuheisel said he was satisfied with what the team accomplished during the off week and got a good vibe from the team after sitting on last week's comeback victory over Washington State.

"I thought it was a really good week in terms of fundamentally, in terms of getting guys healthy and getting guys to look toward the future of the second half with the right mindset with respect to what is going to be required for us to compete the way we need to and be successful," Neuheisel said.

A few tidbits:
  • Brett Hundley ran the two-minute drill at the end of practice and completed seven of nine passes, including a touchdown to Corey Harkey on the final play. He appeared calm for someone running the drill for the first time and his passes were on the money for the most part. His two incomplete passes were a drop by Josh Smith and a spike to kill the clock. "What I know about Brett Hundley is that it’s not too big for him," Neuheisel said. "I don’t think the stage will--he’ll get out there and there will be some butterflies and there will be some plays that won’t go exactly as planned but I think he’ll respond and he’ll play really well if called upon."
  • Receiver Randall Carroll was getting some work with the defensive backs during seven-on-seven drills, going so far as to change jerseys into a the defensive blue rather than the offense's white. Carroll, who played defensive back in high school and was recruited as a defensive back to USC, said he's getting ready in case of an emergency because the Bruins have some injury issues in the defensive backfield. "I always wanted to try and play both, " Carroll said. "There is a chance I could play in the dime package. So I’m just getting more work as the days go on and then next year hopefully it’ll expand to more playing full time on both sides."
  • With some injury concerns on the offensive line, Wade Yandall got many of the reps first team reps and at strong side guard this week. Yandall, a redshirt freshman, has yet to play in a game, but could be called upon soon. "Hopefully this week has made an impression on the coaches and I can just be consistent and doing what I’m asked to do and hopefully I get to play next week," Yandall said. "A lot of times, I’ll show flashes of doing good things, but at the same time I’m not consistent with it. I've got to step up to that." Yandall had some opportunities during training camp, but that lack of consistency kept him from cracking the lineup. Neuheisel said he's getting closer. "It’s amazing when you give guys a chance to get up there with the first team again, how they respond after being away," Neuheisel said.
  • Kicker Tyler Gonzalez wasn't needed in the two-minute drill because the offense scored a touchdown, but he looked very good during warmups and the kicking drills at the start of practice. He made four of four attempts, including one from 50 yards.
  • Offensive lineman Albert Cid did not dress for practice for the second consecutive day. Cid left the field Tuesday complaining of a shortness of breath and is being held out for precautionary reasons.
  • Cornerback Sheldon Price, out the last two weeks with a sprained knee, was still wearing a brace and was in shorts and shoulder pads, but was more active in his work on the side. He was running forward and backward and also making some cuts.
  • Receiver Nelson Rosario (sprained foot) did not dress for practice but did some light running on the side. Receiver Shaquelle Evans (concussion), safeties Tony Dye (neck) and Alex Mascarenas (concussion) also did not dress for practice.
  • The defense dominated the live scout team scrimmage, with linebacker Aaron Wallace particularly impressive. Wallace had a couple of virtual sacks and at least two other tackles for a loss. Defensive end Sam Tai also had a few nice plays and defensive tackle Brandon Willis was a run-stuffing machine in the middle. Safety Anthony Thompson had an interception. The offense completed two long passes: One from Christoph Bono to Logan Sweet for a touchdown and another from Darius Bell to Jery Rice, Jr. Still, the defense dominated most of the scrimmage. "Looked like defense had their way today," Neuheisel said. "We didn’t do a very good job of pass blocking so I’d give the nod to the defense."

Practice report: Wednesday quick hits

October, 12, 2011
10/12/11
8:11
PM PT
UCLA practiced through an unusually hot afternoon in Westwood, going in full pads for the second practice of the bye week.

The Bruins will practice again Thursday and then take Friday and Saturday off before beginning game-week preparations for Arizona on Sunday. UCLA plays in Tucson on Thursday, Oct. 20, so the game week gets moved up a couple of days.

"I thought our guys pushed through and we got a lot accomplished," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "I think we’ll feel real good about it when we look at the film. We’ll try to get one more of those tomorrow and then give them a couple of days off, get their legs back and away we go on Sunday."

Neuheisel said he and the coaching staff would spend the weekend recruiting.

"We'll try to get out and about to all the local hotshots and make sure they know the Bruins are alive and well and engaging all the top student athletes in the area," Neuheisel said. "It’s a busy time, an important time and I think an exciting time as well, so looking forward to it."

A few tidbits:
  • Brett Hundley got a little more time in the passing game but seems to have a tendency to lock on to his primary receiver. Neuheisel said that's normal for freshmen. "I think all young quarterbacks do," Neuheisel said. "You have an idea of what a pass play is supposed to look like and you go to where it normally goes. When that breaks down, the question is how quickly do you move on? But everybody starts that way. But I think he’s moving quickly through that. Is he ready to do that with everything we have in our offense? I don’t think so, but still I’m pleased with his progress."
  • Neuheisel is not pleased with the way Hundley is carrying the ball when he runs, however. For the second consecutive day, Neuheisel made Hundley do pushups because he didn't ave the ball tucked close to his body when scrambling away from pressure. "I just want him to understand that he’s playing at a different level and there are going to be strong guys trying to grab that ball and it’s important that he secure it," Neuheisel said.
  • Offensive lineman Albert Cid did not dress for practice. Cid left the practice field with shortness of breath Tuesday and it's thought that and an illness is the cause, so he was held out for precautionary reasons.
  • Offensive lineman Chris Ward went back to full speed after missing the last week because of a shoulder injury. He was playing mostly with the No. 2 offensive line, but got some reps at No. 1 guard as well.
  • Linebacker Glenn Love was participating in team drills for the first time since pulling a hamstring two weeks ago.
  • The receiving corps is still a little thin with Nelson Rosario again sitting out because of a sprained foot and Shaquelle Evans not dressed because of concussion symptoms. Jerry Johnson's on-again, off-again practice routine continued and he sat out.
  • Cornerback Sheldon Price dressed in shorts and shoulder pads only and did some light work on the side. Safeties Tony Dye (neck) and Alex Mascarenas (concussion) also remained out.
  • Defensive lineman Justin Edison was out of his red no-contact jersey, an indication that he has cleared the concussion protocol.

Practice report: Tuesday quick hits

October, 11, 2011
10/11/11
9:18
PM PT
UCLA began its bye week with a light practice in shorts and shoulder pads with position groups spending more time than normal doing individual drills and shorter periods of team vs. team drills.

It's all part of the plan, coach Rick Neuheisel said, to use this week as a mini training camp and sharpen the fundamentals.

"It was a good day of work considering what the week needs to be, which is a return to basics, a return to fundamental play," Neuheisel said. "Just making sure that we have the inventory offensively and defensively and in special teams to be able to compete and compete successfully in the second half of the season starting in Tucson."

A few tidbits:
  • Brett Hundley got extensive work with the first-team offense, part of the plan to get him ready to play if necessary. Hundley, a true freshman, is now No. 2 on the quarterback depth chart but has yet to play in a game. "There are a number of players that are going to get crash courses, if you will, to make sure that they are ready for the second half of our season," Neuheisel said. "Brett Hundley would be a guy in that category."
  • Richard Brehaut attended practice on crutches and in a boot-type cast. Neuheisel said Brehaut's broken fibula was a "clean break" and that he wouldn't be surprised to see Breahut back at the short end of his three-to-six-week prognosis. "There is every reason to think that he can make it back," Neuheisel said. "Knowing his history of healing quickly, I wouldn’t be surprised to see him back before too long."
  • Receiver Nelson Rosario, not listed on UCLA's official injury report, did not dress for practice because of a sprained foot. He said the injury occurred on his second-quarter catch Saturday night against Washington State, a 41-yard reception that set up UCLA's first touchdown, and that he was able to play through it the rest of the game. "My foot is sore and stuff like that, but I’ll be all right," said Rosario, who finished with three catches for 120 yards. "It kind of got landed on on the first catch that I had. It’s not something too serious to be worried about. I’ll be fine."
  • Receiver Shaquelle Evans also did not dress for practice because of concussion-like symptoms. He took a knee to the head during his game-winning touchdown reception Saturday night. "The safety tried to jump over me and caught his knee on the side of my helmet," Evans said. "It knocked me out. My body was limp for a minute. They say I have a concussion. I've been taking tests every day."
  • Safety Tony Dye did not dress for practice again as he continues to try to recover from a nerve issue in his neck. Neuheisel hinted that if things do not clear up soon, Dye, who played the first three games but has missed the last three, could be headed for a redshirt season. "We’re trying to just rest him up and see if whatever is ailing him can subside," Neuheisel said. "Ultimately we’ll make a decision next week as to where he is and where his future is with respect to this season."
  • Cornerback Sheldon Price, who has missed the last two games because of a sprained MCL, was not dressed for practice, but did some light running on the side despite wearing a large brace. Cornerback Anthony Jefferson suited up for the first time this season and did some light individual drills. Safety Alex Mascarenas (concussion) did not dress for practice. Defensive lineman Justin Edison (concussion) was back in practice wearing a no-contact red jersey after sitting out last week. Running back Johnathan Franklin (shoulder) also wore a non-contact red jersey but was not limited during the light practice.

What to watch: Washington St. at UCLA

October, 7, 2011
10/07/11
7:38
AM PT
1. ROCK LOBSTER
Washington State quarterback Marshall Lobbestael, nicknamed "The Lobster," has passed for 1,335 yards and 13 touchdowns and has the Cougars ranked No. 4 in the nation in passing offense at 379 yards a game. One of the best ways to disrupt that would be to get some serious pressure on him. Lobbestael is a senior, but he doesn't have a ton of game experience and can be rattled. The problem is, UCLA has only three sacks this season--fewer than all but three teams in the country. The Bruins may have to blitz more in order to create problems for the Cougars. Washington State is giving up 2.5 sacks per game, so the Lobster can be had.

WSUUCLA2. LAST LINE OF DEFENSE
UCLA's secondary will be stretch to its limits by Washington State's spread offense, which uses four receivers in its base package. The Bruins are thin back there with cornerback Sheldon Price out for the second consecutive game with a knee injury, safety Alex Mascarenas sidelined with a concussion and safety Tony Dye limited by a neck injury. They will get Vanderbilt transfer Jamie Graham more involved, which is good because the Bruins will need all the bodies they can muster. Expect to see a lot of nickel packages and even some dime against a Cougars' receiving corps that feature three receivers with 19 or more catches and five with 100 or more yards receiving. Leader Marquess Wilson is fourth in the nation with 137.5 yards per game.

3. POUND THE ROCK
It's no secret that the Bruins will try to establish the run game as they do every game, even more so against a Washington State team that gave up 437 yards rushing against the Bruins last season. Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman each had career bests in rushing last year against the Cougars, Franklin with 216 yards and Coleman with 185. It was the only time in UCLA history two backs had 180 or more yards in the same game. It won't be easy to repeat such success, but Washington State is inexperienced along the defensive line, so the Pistol's zone reads could give the Cougars problems. Of note, however, is that former UCLA defensive line coach Todd Howard is now at Washington State so he might have some helpful hints on stopping UCLA.

4. GET AN EDGE
The Cougars are sure to remember that thrashing they took on the ground last year and will surely try to prevent a repeat by stacking the box with eight and nine players. That will open up things on the outside and it might behoove UCLA to throw some quick outs, screen passes and swing passes to playmakers such as Jordon James, Josh Smith, Shaquelle Evans and Randall Carroll in the flats. Another weapon the Bruins can use is size. Receivers Nelson Rosario (6-5) and Taylor Embree (6-3) and tight end Joe Fauria (6-8) will tower over the Washington State defensive backs. Cougars Strong safety Deone Buchannon is the tallest at 6-1 and the other secondary players are 5-10 or 5-11, so fade routes and seam routes could be quite effective.

5. THIRD DOWN IS THE CHARM
Opponents have been shredding the UCLA defense on third down to the tune of a 54.79 percent conversion rate. that ranks No. 119 out of 120 FBS teams in the nation. It doesn't matter if it's third and one or third and 12, the Bruins have found a way to allow most opponents to convert. That number is a whopping 64.29 percent in UCLA's three losses this season. It drops to 41.93 in the Bruins' two victories, a number that would rank 75th in the nation if it were their season percentage. Washington State enters the game converting 46 percent of its third downs, which is a respectable 35th in the country, so the Bruins are going to have to hunker down on defense, stop some third down plays, stall some drives and get off the field.

Injury report: Price, Mascarenas, Edison out

October, 6, 2011
10/06/11
7:28
PM PT
Cornerback Sheldon Price (knee), safety Alex Mascarenas (concussion), defensive lineman Justin Edison (concussion) and F-back Anthony Barr (knee) will sit out of UCLA's game against Washington State on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl, according the the team's official injury report.

All four have started for the Bruins this season, but none has practiced this week. Barr had surgery last week to repair cartilage in his meniscus and will miss at least three weeks.

Price was injured two weeks ago against Oregon State and missed the game last week against Stanford. Mascarenas suffered a concussion -- his second this season -- during practice last week and also missed the Stanford game. He hasn't practiced since. Edison suffered a concussion in the Stanford game and was held out of practice all week.

Kicker Kip Smith (hip flexor) and offensive lineman Chris Ward (shoulder) are listed as doubtful for Saturday's game and are also unlikely to play.

Linebacker David Allen (knee) was on crutches Tuesday, but dressed for practice Wednesday and was full speed on Thursday. Allen, who plays mostly on special teams, is listed as questionable for Saturday.

Safety Tony Dye (neck), who has missed the last two games, practiced in a red no-contact jersey for the second consecutive day and is listed as questionable for the game. Linebacker Glenn Love (hamstring) did some running on the side, but has not practiced this week and is listed as questionable. Safety Dalton Hilliard (shoulder) and linebacker Sean Westgate (hand) are listed as probable. Both have fully practiced all week, though Westgate is wearing a club to protect his hand.

The Bruins have a bye week next week and don't play again until Oct. 20 at Arizona, so coach Rick Neuheisel is hopeful that the majority of his injured players will have plenty of time to heal. He said Price and Ward, in particular, should be ready to go by then.

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2013 TEAM LEADERS

PASSINGATTCOMPYDSTD
B. Hundley369248307124
RUSHINGCARYDSAVGTD
B. Hundley1607484.711
P. Perkins1345734.36
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTD
S. Evans4770915.19
D. Fuller4347111.04
TEAMRUSHPASSTOTAL
Offense196.6251.6448.2
TEAMPFPAMARGIN
Scoring36.524.112.4