UCLA: Donovan Carter

UCLA preseason preview: Defensive line

August, 2, 2012
With UCLA training camp set to begin Saturday at Cal State San Bernardino, we're taking a preseason look at the roster and breaking down the Bruins position by position.

We went through the offense first, looking at the quarterbacks, offensive line, receivers and running backs. Special teams came next, and then we started on the defense with the defensive backs and then the linebackers. The final group to get the breakdown treatment in the defensive line.

Left Defensive End
Datone Jones (6-4, 275, Sr.) OR
Owamagbe Odighizuwa (6-3, 270, Jr.)
Sam Tai (6-2, 275, Fr.)

Nose Tackle
Brandon Willis (6-2, 280, So.)
Donovan Carter (6-1, 305, Sr.)
Seali’i Epenesa (6-1, 310, Jr.)
Kevin McReynolds (6-2, 300, Fr.)
Brandon Tuliaupupu (6-1, 315, Fr.)

Right Defensive End
Cassius Marsh (6-3, 275, Jr.) OR
Owamagbe Odighizuwa (6-3, 270, Jr.)
Iuta Tepa (6-2, 255, Jr.)
Wesley Flowers (6-5, 254, So.)

Left Defensive End
Datone Jones (6-4, 275, Sr.)
Owamagbe Odighizuwa (6-3, 270, Jr.)
Sam Tai (6-2, 275, Fr.)

Nose Tackle
Brandon Willis (6-2, 280, So.)
Donovan Carter (6-1, 305, Sr.)
Seali’i Epenesa (6-1, 310, Jr.)
Kevin McReynolds (6-2, 300, Fr.)
Brandon Tuliaupupu (6-1, 315, Fr.)

Right Defensive End
Cassius Marsh (6-3, 275, Jr.)
Ellis McCarthy (6-5, 330, Fr.)
Iuta Tepa (6-2, 255, Jr.)

Nate Chandler, started five games and appeared in 14; Graduated.
Justin Edison, started 12 games at tackle; Graduated.
Damien Holmes, 14-games starter at defensive end; switched to linebacker.
Keenean Graham, key reserve at defensive end; switched to linebacker.

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UCLA Depth chart review: Defensive line

August, 5, 2011
With UCLA preparing to open fall camp on August 8, we will break down the depth charts at each position in order to look at how the Bruins stack up heading into this season. We started with quarterbacks and now switch to the defensive line.

Current depth charts:


Datone Jones (Jr., 6-5, 275)

Owamagbe Odighizuwa (So., 6-4, 266)

Iuta Tepa (So., 6-3, 260)


Cassius Marsh (So., 6-3, 289)

Nate Chandler (Sr., 6-4, 292)

Sam Tai (Fr., 6-4, 251)


Justin Edison (Sr., 6-4, 285)

Donovan Carter (Jr., 6-2, 295)

Seali’i Epenesa (So., 6-2, 308)


Damien Holmes (Jr., 6-3, 270)

Keenan Graham (So., 6-3, 255)

Wesley Flowers (Fr., 6-5, 254)

Derrick Bryant (Fr., 6-3, 251)

This unit is the biggest source of hope for Bruins fans.

A year ago, youth and inexperience led to a defensive line that proved porous against the run and rarely scared quarterbacks with pressure. Now, there are five sophomores in the three-deep who all got significant game experience last year and come into the season well-seasoned and ready to make this unit a strength of the team.

But as exciting as it will be to see Cassius Marsh, Owamagbe Odighizuwa, Seali’i Epenesa, Iuta Tepa and Keenan Graham grow as players, the biggest cause for optimism lies in the return of Datone Jones.

Jones, a 13-game starter as a sophomore in 2009, sat out last season after breaking his foot in fall camp. He had four sacks and 11 tackles for a loss two years ago -- totals that would have led the Bruins last season -- and will prove to be quite a handful for opposing offensive linemen.

If opponents spend too much time worrying about Jones, however, this deep and talented unit will make them pay. Odighizuwa, for instance, had four sacks and 10 tackles for a loss last season despite not having a full-time job. Look for him to get significant minutes this season as the top reserve at both ends and don't be surprised to see him steal a starting role at some point.

Holmes made significant strides in spring practice and emerged at the top of the depth chart because of his improved play. While not as athletic as some of the other ends, he's a steady, smart high-motor guy who gets the job done. Graham and Tepa each showed last season that they can make an impact, so look for them to offer valuable minutes off the bench.

In the middle, Marsh has the perfect combination of size, quickness and toughness to be a major disruptive force. He's a major talent who should break though this season as long as he can keep his head on his shoulders. He has a tendency to lose his cool, but should help fill the void left by David Carter, who was drafted by the Arizona Cardinals.

Nate Chandler is probably the most athletic interior lineman on the team. He's still grasping the nuances of the role after bouncing around from position to position his first three years, but as the season goes on he should snag a starting job. Justin Edison and Donovan Carter bring tons of experience to the front and, while not flashy, they are rock solid performers. Epenesa is the big, strong, hole-clogging body that will serve well against teams trying to run up the middle.

The biggest reason for optimism among the defensive line is its depth. Any player in the two deep could be a starter by the time the season rolls around and there isn't much dropoff three deep at most of the positions. With so many interchangeable parts, defensive coordinator Joe Tresey and defensive line coach Inoke Breckterfield have the luxury of liberal substitutions to keep players fresh for a front line will cause problems for offenses.

That wasn't the case last season when Red Sea-sized holes up front caused UCLA to finish 108th in the nation in rushing defense by giving up 205.5 yards rushing a game, but all signs point to the defensive line being a vastly improved unit this season.

Football: Saturday scrimmage notes

April, 10, 2011
A few tidbits from Saturday afternoon's scrimmage at Spaulding Field:
  • Richard Brehaut was impressive, completing 11 of 21 passes for 146 yards and a touchdown. He started off well before tailing off, but Brehaut was pleased with his overall efficiency. "We had a good day and established what we wanted to," he said. "I like where I'm at."
  • Brett Hundley used his legs well, running for 82 yards on 10 carries, a large chunk of that coming on a 50-yard touchdown scamper. The true freshman made a few mental mistakes, but he didn't seem too concerned about them. "Right now I sort of have to run a lot because my reads aren’t there," Hundley said. "So if I do feel a little pressure in the pocket, I’m taking off. Once I get the reads then all the passes will start coming, but right now, I’m using my legs a lot because all these reads are going so fast and I don’t have it down to 100 percent. In two weeks, I don’t expect to have it. But once I do have it, then the passes will start coming and everything will come together."
  • Starting tackle Sean Sheller sat out practice with a broken right hand. The injury occurred on what he called a freak accident near the end of Thursday's practice. Sheller wore a splint Saturday but will be in a cast Monday and will wear a club protector for the remaining practices. He said he would miss some of the heavy contact periods over the rest of the spring but added that if this were the regular season he wouldn’t miss any time. “It’s something you can play through,” Sheller said.
  • Jordon James and Damien Thigpen had the other rushing touchdowns. Thigpen's nine-yard score earned the loudest roar of the afternoon -- the 5-foot-8 speedster ran to the right, was met by a few defenders near the goal line, reversed his field and soared over the left pylon for the touchdown. Johnathan Franklin had seven yards on five carries; Malcolm Jones had two on three.
  • Ricky Marvray had the only touchdown catch, an 18-yarder from Brehaut. The pocket collapsed, so Brehaut broke to the right and saw Marvray streaking toward the sideline. The ball was under thrown, but Marvray beat out the taller Glenn Love for the jump ball in the end zone. "That whole play was all about trust," Marvray said. "Brehaut knows. I always tell him, 'Just put it up.' I'm going to come down with it, no matter who is around."
  • Place kicker Kip Smith had field goals of 28, 42 and 45 yards and missed one from 48. It was his first live-action of the spring. Smith said he used to practice nothing but 50-yarders to help improve his power, but has since changed his method. "I'm working on my consistency from inside 40," he said.
  • Nate Chandler made the defensive play of the day, blowing up a play in the backfield to cause a Thigpen fumble. Donovan Carter scooped it up and returned it for a score. "We're playing fast," Chandler said. "I feel like I've found my spot on the defense, feel like I can be a leader."

Bruins to go deeper into defensive rotation

September, 6, 2010
Despite the issues among the defensive front seven in UCLA's 31-22 loss to Kansas State, the UCLA depth chart for the Stanford game is not getting any major overhaul. Coach Rick Neuheisel did say, however, that non starters would get more playing time than they did last week.

"I look at the numbers from the first game and a number of guys on our front played an inordinate amount of plays," Neuheisel said. "[Defensive lineman] Justin Edison I’ve been told played more plays in that one game than he had played all season long last year."

UCLA lost the time of possession battle, 35:56-24:04, meaning the Bruins' defense was on the field quite a bit, but since many of the backups are freshmen or sophomores with little or no playing experience, Neuheisel said he was hesitant to substitute.

"In that kind of environment, playing the first game, especially in as a close a game as it turned out to be, it’s hard to put guys in for their first snap," he said. "But we’ve got to find ways to spell guys so they can play 100 miles an hour."

To that end, Neuheisel said some of the younger players would go head-to-head in a 10 or 15-play scrimmage Tuesday in order to see who is ready to play.

Iuta Tepa, Cassius Marsh, Seali'i Epenesa, Keenan Graham, Donovan Carter and Owamagbe Odighizuwa are among the freshman and sophomore defensive linemen who played sparingly or not at all against Kansas State. Freshman linebacker Jordan Zumwalt also did not play.

Spring Practice - Day 13

April, 20, 2010
With just two practices left before UCLA's annual Spring Game, football coach Rick Neuheisel took a situational approach to Tuesday's two-hour session.

He pushed the offense deep into its own territory. Then he did the same to the defense.

There were some mixed results, with both the offense and defense making its share of plays. Here's what Neuheisel had to say following practice:

Some additional news and notes from Tuesday:
  • Quarterback Richard Brehaut threw a pair of red-zone touchdowns, one to tight end Kevin McDermott and the other to F-back Morrell Presley.
  • Brehaut also threw a perfect 40-yard strike to receiver Antwon Moutra down the left sideline. "Maybe one of the best throws I've seen on this practice field," Neuheisel said. "His confidence is coming along, which was one of the main goals of the spring."
  • Running back Derrick Coleman took a draw hand-off from Brehaut, found a crease on the right side of the line, then cut it back to the left and scampered down the sideline before linebacker Glenn Love pushed him out of bounds. After Brehaut's touchdown pass to McDermott, the offense switched directions. Coleman broke another long run, this time for a score.
  • Defensive tackle Donovan Carter recovered a fumble in the end zone for a touchdown after Neuheisel backed up the offense deep in its own territory.
  • Tight end Joseph Fauria (hip flexor) was stung by a bee while standing on the sideline. A group of teammates huddled around him to take a look before he asked a team trainer if she had tweezers. Fauria both laughed and grimaced as the stinger was removed.



B. Hundley392271315522
P. Perkins25115756.39
B. Hundley1596444.110
J. Payton6795414.27
D. Fuller594477.61