UCLA: Owamagbe Odighizuwa

UCLA spring wrap

May, 2, 2014
May 2
7:30
AM PT
Three things we learned this spring
  1. Raising the (next) Barr: All indications are that Kenny Orjioke probably has the inside track at outside linebacker to replace the departed Anthony Barr. Aaron Wallace (dealing with grade issues) and Deon Hollins are still very much in the mix. Several members of the staff said they were pleased with what they saw from Orjioke -- though it’s worth noting he didn’t play in the spring game for reasons not revealed.
  2. Welcome back, Owa: After missing last season with a hip injury, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa (aka the scourge of spellcheck), returned with a very strong spring session that included a pair of sacks in the spring game. His return bolsters a pass rush that has to replace Barr and Cassius Marsh.
  3. Back depth: The staff has been very pleased with the progress of running back Jordon James. But they feel equally solid about Paul Perkins, Steven Manfro and redshirt freshman Craig Lee. Combined with the scrambling ability of quarterback Brett Hundley, the Bruins should build upon last year’s average of 196.6 yards per game.
Three questions for the fall
  1. Line-up: While the coaching staff feels pretty good about its offensive line, finding the right replacement for Xavier Su'a-Filo is still paramount. They think they might have it in graduate transfer Malcolm Bunche from Miami. But a couple of starting spots should still be up for grabs when the Bruins return for fall camp.
  2. Backup plan: A lot rests on the legs and arm of Hundley – a Heisman trophy candidate and presumptive top 10 pick in 2015. Whether it’s Jerry Neuheisel or Asiantii Woulard backing him up remains to be seen. Neither were particularly sharp in the spring game, with Neuheisel throwing two interceptions and Woulard completing just 4 of 13 passes.
  3. More D-to-O coming? We know about Myles Jack and the impact he made on offense for the Bruins last season. He didn’t get any carries in the spring, though Jim Mora said they’ll likely have some packages for him. Will we see others? Eddie Vanderdoes? Ishmael Adams? Not that they’ll give it away in the spring, but it will be fun to watch this fall to see how many defensive players see offensive time.
Way-too-early prediction: The Bruins will win the Pac-12 South for the third time in four years. With Hundley at the helm and an experienced defense, the Bruins not only have the fewest question marks among their Southern brethren, but they have plenty of talent to match on both sides of the ball. Staying healthy will be key, as will gaining some early momentum with critical conference games against ASU, Utah and Oregon in the first half of the season.

Spring games roundup

April, 28, 2014
Apr 28
9:00
AM PT
Here’s a quick look at some of the highlights of the three spring games in the Pac-12 this past weekend.

California

Quarterback Jared Goff completed 14 of 23 passes for 170 yards and a touchdown as the Bears wrapped their spring session in front of approximately 2,500 fans at Memorial Stadium.

Daniel Lasco and Jeffrey Coprich each made 1-yard touchdown runs and Goff connected with Kenny Lawler on an 8-yard touchdown strike. Lawler finished with four catches for 30 yards and the score. Bryce Treggs had two catches for 47 yards.

Goff said the Bears are looking to move beyond last season’s horrific 1-11 showing, in which they failed to beat an FBS team.

“We’re done with last year,” Goff said. “We’re done with everything that had to do with last year. We’re a brand new team now and we’re ready to go. …

“We’re two or three deep at every [wide receiver] position that I think honestly have NFL potential. I’m just so fortunate to have that receiving corps out there willing to make plays. They all want the ball and they all want to make plays. It’s really, really lucky for me.”

Austin Hinder, who is competing with Kyle Boehm to be Goff’s backup, was 6-of-12 for 46 yards and interception. Boehm was 1-of-2 for three yards.

You can see the full stats here.

UCLA

Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone guided his Blue team to a 28-0 victory over defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich’s White team behind two rushing touchdowns from Jordon James at the StubHub Center in Carson, Calif. Paul Perkins and Steven Manfro also scored rushing touchdowns.

Quarterback Brett Hundley only played in one offensive series and was 4-of-5 for 30 yards. Jerry Neuheisel completed 14 of 22 passes for 180 yards, but threw interceptions to Ishmael Adams and Adarius Pickett. Asiantii Woulard was 4-of-13 for 42 yards and Mike Fafaul was 7-of-16 for 116 yards.

“I like the way they competed,” head coach Jim Mora told the Pac-12 Network. “I like the fact that nobody got seriously injured. I’m sure there’s some nicks. I thought they came out and competed well. I thought we protected the ball fairly well. It’s good to be in a game environment. It will help us going down the road.”

Three defensive players each recorded two sacks -- linemen Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Zach Vinci and linebacker Deon Hollins.

You can see the full stats here.

Washington State

Quarterback Connor Halliday completed 25 of 41 passes for 326 yards and three touchdowns and the Crimson team topped the Gray squad 23-19 in front of 6,233 fans at Joe Albi Stadium in Spokane, Wash.

Vince Mayle caught six balls for 92 yards and a touchdown to lead the Crimson group, while freshman Calvin Green led all players with eight catches for 101 yards.

“Spring went well,” Halliday told the Pac-12 Network. “Spring games are always a little frustrating. We’ve got the team split in half and we have some O-linemen that haven’t played together and the receivers are split in half. We had a real good spring before today. Today was a little sloppy here and there. But it went well.”

DaQuawn Brown hauled in two of the five interceptions. Redshirt freshman Jamal Morrow rushed for 44 yards on five carries and Gerard Wicks added two scores on the ground. Drew Loftus had a pair of touchdown receptions.

You can see the full stats here.

Setting Barr high on defense

September, 5, 2012
9/05/12
9:31
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Anthony Barr hadn't played defense since high school, but he is such a natural at linebacker he can dominate the position with one hand tied behind his back.

Well, maybe not exactly tied behind his back ... but Barr made quite an impression in his defensive debut with his left hand wrapped in a clubbed to protect a broken finger. Barr led the team with six solo tackles and had a sack in UCLA's 49-24 victory over Rice and emerged as the defensive star of the game because of the bone-jarring hits he put on Rice players.

"I felt good out there," Barr said. "I expect great things from myself all the time and it had been a while since I had met those expectations. I’m not saying I met them on Thursday -- I still can improve -- but it was a decent start."

Barr had been a player searching for a position ever since his arrival at UCLA. The Bruins recruited him out of Loyola High in Los Angeles as a remarkable athlete, because that's exactly what he is: 6-foot-4, 235 pounds with quickness and speed. But he didn't quite fit in with the Pistol offense UCLA ran the last two seasons.

The coaches put him at F-back, a cross between running back and tight end, and he developed into one of the best blockers on the team. But it seemed like a waste of his talent, as he had only 12 catches for 82 yards during the last two seasons combined.

He dabbled a bit at running back last year, a position he excelled during high school, but his atypical size for the position wasn't a good fit at the college level.

When coach Jim Mora took over the program, the two discussed a move to linebacker. Barr played a little time at linebacker in high school. But he started there in spring and showed some promise, however an injury kept him out for much of the session so it was largely unknown if he'd fit in. Then a dominant summer training camp earned him the starting job, and his highlight-reel performance last week confirmed the move was a good one.

"Considering he hadn’t played the position in a game … I didn’t know what to expect," Mora said. "I just know he’s athletic and he had a good fall camp. Every day, he’s gotten better and better."

Defensive coordinator Lou Spanos said Barr's work ethic on and off the field has helped make it a seamless transition. Barr is a consummate film junkie, Spanos said, dissecting plays and learning something new every session.

"He really pays attention to details," Spanos said. "He loves the game, he studies and he prepares himself."

On the game field, Barr looked exactly like he did on the practice field, which is something Spanos said you don't always see in guys playing a new position.

"He did a nice job of getting off the line and defeating the first blocker," Spanos said. "He has a lot of range on the field to make plays that are away from him. He’s a high-motor guy, and he takes to coaching."

The club on his hand is smaller this week as the broken finger suffered during training camp begins to heal. It's more of a brace now, and Barr said he hoped to play without it on Saturday against Nebraska. Mora wasn't sure of that would be the case, but he is anticipating a day soon he can see Barr play with full strength in both of his hands.

"Once he gets that club off of his hand, I think he can be dynamite," Mora said.

Other notes:

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UCLA preseason preview: Defensive line

August, 2, 2012
8/02/12
2:30
PM PT
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.

DEPTH CHART AT THE END OF SPRING PRACTICE:
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.)

PROJECTED OPENING-DAY DEPTH CHART:
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.)

KEY LOSSES:
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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It's all academic for 13 Bruins

November, 17, 2011
11/17/11
6:29
PM PT
UCLA running back Malcolm Jones heads a list of 13 Bruins football players who earned Pac-12 all-academic honors, the conference announced Thursday.

Jones, a sophomore with a 3.20 GPA, was named to the first team. F-back Anthony Barr and punter Jeff Locke earned second-team honors. Barr has a 3.14 GPA and Locke, a first-team selection in 2009 and 2010, has a 3.63 GPA.

Ten UCLA players earned honorable mention nods: quarterback Kevin Prince, kicker Tyler Gonzalez, linebackers Sean Westgate, Eric Kendricks, Phil Ruhl, Aramide Olaniyan and Jared Koster, long snapper Kevin McDermott, defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa and offensive lineman Chris Ward.

Practice report: Wednseday quick hits

October, 5, 2011
10/05/11
9:17
PM PT
UCLA's Wednesday practice had to be altered thanks to Mother Nature as the offense and defense took turns playing on the artificial turf portion of Spaulding Field with the grass portion too wet to play on because of heavy rain that fell most of the morning and afternoon.

"The grass field got to a place where we would have ruined it forever if we would have been out there," coach Rick Neuheisel said.

The first-team offense went first with individual drills and then practicing against the scout team. The first-team defense then joined in for a few periods of team drills, seven-on-seven and a two-minute drill. Then the first-team offense left and the defense went into drills and scout-team work.

Neuheisel said it was a minor inconvenience, but that it didn't disrupt the preparation.

"Kids are so adaptable. It’s coaches that cringe over things like this more than the youngsters," Neuheisel said. "We were able to get everybody’s work done."

Neuheisel said he could have had everyone practice at the same time on the turf field, but that would have meant they would have to go sideline to sideline instead of end zone to end zone to fit both units on the field.

It was especially important for the defense to have a full field because Washington State runs a spread offense with four receivers and likes to throw deep.

"With the way Washington State spreads the field and throws the ball downfield, you would have short changed the defense with respect to what they are going to see on the field," Neuheisel said.

A few tidbits:

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UCLA Depth chart review: Defensive line

August, 5, 2011
8/05/11
3:58
PM PT
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:

LEFT END

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

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

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

TACKLE

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

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

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

TACKLE

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

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

Seali’i Epenesa (So., 6-2, 308)

RIGHT END

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.

Kevin Prince cleared for increased activity

April, 7, 2011
4/07/11
9:24
PM PT
UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince, recovering from an October microfracture surgery on his knee, was cleared to participate in seven-on-seven drills for Thursday's spring practice, but coach Rick Neuheisel forgot and didn't put him in.

"I looked at him and said you gotta tell me," Neuheisel said. "You gotta remind me. But we won’t miss that opportunity again."

Prince, who began last season as the starter before the knee injury sidelined him after Week 6, has been doing only simple footwork drills and some light passing drills so far this spring, but he said his doctor and UCLA's trainers had given the OK for him to step up to the seven-on-seven drills. Those entail receivers and running backs running routes against defensive backs and linebackers.

"The only thing I shouldn't be doing is sprinting out and scrambling," Prince said. "I think I can limit myself to not doing that. I'll be able to control myself."

Prince said this is as far as he will be able to progress in spring football. The next step would be to run live plays in the full-team drills, but his doctors won't allow that until fall.

"I’m trying to stay as patient as I can," Prince said. "It’s frustrating, but unfortunately I’ve had the experience of going through this before and I know that being patient is important."

Neuheisel said he would run some seven-on-seven drills Saturday before the team plays a live scrimmage and that Prince would get the majority of the reps in those drills.

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UCLA football team award winners

January, 18, 2011
1/18/11
9:30
PM PT
From a UCLA news release:

Running back Johnathan Franklin, linebacker Akeem Ayers and safety Tony Dye were selected winners of UCLA’s Henry R. “Red” Sanders Award for Most Valuable Player at the Annual UCLA Football Awards Banquet, held Tuesday evening at the Hyatt Century Plaza Hotel.

Franklin became the first Bruin since Chris Markey in 2006 to rush for over 1,000 yards. He finished with 1,127 yards, the highest total by a Bruin since 1997. He ranked fifth in the Pac-10 in rushing and earned second-team All-Pac-10 honors from the league’s coaches.

Ayers, one of the most versatile defensive performers in the country, earned second-team All-America honors from the Walter Camp Football Foundation. On the year, Ayers ranked fourth on the team with 68 tackles, first (tied) with 4.0 sacks, second with 10.0 tackles for loss and second with two interceptions.

Dye led the team with 96 tackles in his 12 games and his average of 8.00 tackles per contest ranked fourth (tied) in the Pac-10. He also led the Bruins and ranked seventh (tied) in the league with 10 passes defended (nine passes broken up and one interception). He earned All-Pac-10 honorable mention from the league’s coaches.

The complete list of winners:
  • Charles Pike Memorial Award for Outstanding Scout Team Player: Offense: running back Jordon James; Defense: linebacker Eric Kendricks; Special Teams: linebacker Aramide Olaniyan
  • Jack. R. Robinson Award for Highest Scholarship of a Senior Player: holder/punter Danny Rees
  • N.N. Sugarman Award for Best Leadership: Offense: center Ryan Taylor; Defense: linebacker Sean Westgate
  • Captain Don Brown Memorial Award for Most Improved Player: Offense: tackle Sean Sheller; Defense: linebacker Patrick Larimore
  • John Boncheff, Jr. Memorial Award for Rookie of the Year: Offense: F-back Anthony Barr; Defense: linebacker Jordan Zumwalt, tackle Cassius Marsh, end Owa Odighizuwa
  • Ed Kezirian “Coach K” Award for Academic and Athletic Excellence: safety Dietrich Riley
  • Tommy Prothro Award for Outstanding Special Teams Player: place kicker Kai Forbath, punter Jeff Locke, running back Derrick Coleman
  • Kenneth S. Washington Award for Outstanding Senior: Offense: tackle Micah Kia; Defense: tackle David Carter
  • George W. Dickerson Award for Outstanding Offensive Player vs. USC: running back Johnathan Franklin
  • Donn Moomaw Award for Outstanding Defensive Player vs. USC: safety Tony Dye
  • Paul I. Wellman Memorial Award for All-Around Excellence: wide receiver Taylor Embree
  • Jerry Long “Heart” Award: offensive guard Darius Savage
  • Special Recognition: linebacker Akeem Ayers, safety Rahim Moore
  • Henry R. “Red” Sanders Award for Most Valuable Player: Offense: running back Johnathan Franklin; Defense: linebacker Akeem Ayers, safety Tony Dye

UCLA practice report: Tuesday quick hits

October, 12, 2010
10/12/10
9:00
PM PT
The Bruins returned to practice for the first time since their lopsided loss at California on Saturday only to deal with the distraction of the suspensions of Josh Smith and Morrell Presley, who will not play when UCLA faces Oregon on Oct. 21 because they violated team rules.

"We’ve had a conversation as a football team about what we think is appropriate behavior and it’s up to each individual to adhere to the behavior and when you cross the line, there are sanctions," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "It’s a teachable moment and we’re going to take advantage of the teachable moment."

A few tidbits from practice:
  • The open competition at quarterback officially began with Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut splitting most of the reps with the first and second teams. Brehaut appeared to take the early lead after Prince had two poorly thrown passes intercepted. Neuheisel said he hoped to have a decision by early next week. "I want consistency," Neuheisel said. "I want leadership. I want management and I want consistency. I don’t think any coach in the country wants anything other than that. Big plays are wonderful, but we need to hit balls that we should hit."
  • Offensive coordinator Norm Chow didn't sound too thrilled about the idea of having an open competition, saying he would rather pick one and stick with him. Prince would be his choice, he said. "Right now if we had to play, I’m sure it would be Kevin Prince," Chow said. "That’s my opinion."
  • Prince said the competition is just part of the job, especially with an offense that has struggled to move the ball through the air. "It’s football. It’s a competitive sport and just that we’re going to have an open competition. That’s fine. Me and Rich have both been there before in competitive spots and that’s what football is all about."
  • Courtney Viney and Andrew Abbott were working with the first team at cornerback, replacing Sheldon Price, who is injured, and Aaron Hester, who played with the second team on Tuesday. "Aaron has had some troubles, but I believe in Aaron Hester and I believe that competition is good for everybody and I think Aaron Hester still has a lot of football ahead of him," Neuheisel said.
  • Price had an MRI exam that revealed a sprained knee. He was on crutches and in a knee brace, but Neuheisel said he wasn't ruled out for the Oregon game. Defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa had an MRI exam on his shoulder and it showed no damage. Odighizuwa practiced with the first team Tuesday.
  • Receiver Nelson Rosario was still in a walking boot to protect his sprained ankle but wasn't on crutches as he had been last week. Rosario missed the game against California, but said he hopes to have the boot off by the end of this week. Neuheisel said Rosario is "working hard" to be ready for the Oregon game.

Anthony Jefferson out for the season

October, 10, 2010
10/10/10
6:38
PM PT
UCLA freshman defensive back Anthony Jefferson is out for the season after suffering a broken foot Saturday in the Bruins' 35-7 loss to California, coach Rick Neuheisel said Sunday.

Jefferson, who will have surgery to repair the Lisfranc fracture, is still eligible for a redshirt because he has played in only three games, which is less than 30% of UCLA's 12-game schedule for the season.

Defensive back Sheldon Price left the Cal game with a sprained knee and will have an MRI exam Monday to determine the extent of the injury. Freshman defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa left the Cal game because of a strained shoulder and will also have an MRI exam Monday to make sure there is no structural damage.

F-back Anthony Barr strained a calf muscle against Cal but is not expected to miss the next game Oct. 21 against Oregon.

UCLA practice report: Tuesday quick hits

October, 5, 2010
10/05/10
11:37
PM PT
UCLA practiced in the rain for much of Tuesday, but it didn't dampen the Bruins' enthusiasm as they went through a spirited and energetic session.

"I was pleased with the practice given the elements," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "I thought the guys were into it, very excited about coming back to work."

A few tidbits from practice:
  • Quarterback Kevin Prince returned and fully participated for the first time since injuring his knee against Texas. He looked good, but acknowledged there is still swelling in the knee. "Once Saturday rolls around, I think I’ll be 100%," he said.
  • Receiver Nelson Rosario was on crutches and Neuheisel said the Bruins' leading receiver is "questionable for the game against California because of what Neuheisel called a "significant sprain" in his ankle suffered Saturday against Washington State. "Nelson’s ankle will probably keep him from the game this week," Neuheisel said. "I’m not ruling him out forever, but we’ll wait and see, but it’ll be hard for him to make it this week."
  • True freshman Owamagbe Odighizuwa has officially been moved to No. 1 on the depth chart at left defensive end. Nate Chandler, who started there the first five games, will move over to tackle and Justin Edison becomes a backup at tackle. Odighizuwa, a prized recruit out of high school, said he has worked hard to earn the starting role. "It’s something I’ve always wanted and was willing to work hard for it," said the 6-foot-4, 240-pound lineman. "This is college football and sometimes it takes time for guys to move up. It’s not that easy to just come in and snatch a spot."
  • Safety Dalton Hilliard did not practice because of a separated shoulder, but Neuheisel said there was a chance he could return to practice this week.
  • F-back Christian Ramirez rejoined the team after missing last week to deal with unspecified personal issues.

UCLA practice report: Thursday quick hits

September, 30, 2010
9/30/10
7:43
PM PT
Coach Rick Neuheisel said he was pleased with Thursday’s practice, calling it “even more crisp than last week on Thursday.”

“But the proof will be in the pudding,” he said. “We’ve got to come out and play with the same energy that we played with the last two weeks and be excited about the chance to play college football regardless of the circumstances.”

A few tidbits from the day:
  • Quarterback Kevin Prince attempted to practice, but appeared to re-aggravate his injured right knee on his first snap and did not participate after that. “Kevin was out there today,” Neuheisel said. “A little sluggish, but we get two more days and we’ll see how he is on Saturday.”
  • Richard Brehaut and Darius Bell split the reps running the first team. Brehaut would be the starter if Prince can’t go. Neuheisel said he was comfortable starting Brehaut because of all the work he got during fall camp, when Prince was injured. “I have full confidence that Richard can do this if need be.”
  • Neuheisel said he had heard reports that Washington State was practicing in full pads Thursday—a sign that the Cougars are taking this game very seriously. “This is a huge game for them so obviously we’ve got to match fire with fire,” he said. “I’m anxious to get that accomplished.”
  • Freshman defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa continued to get reps with the first-team defense, as he has all week, but he is still listed at No. 3 on the depth chart.

UCLA practice report: Tuesday quick hits

September, 28, 2010
9/28/10
8:21
PM PT
UCLA returned to practice for the first time since their 34-12 upset over Texas on Saturday. Coach Rick Neuheisel said he liked the energy of the team, saying that guys showed they had put the big victory behind them and were focused on the next game against Washington State.

A few tidbits from practice:
  • Quarterback Kevin Prince sat out because of an injury to his right knee. He said there is pain and swelling but an MRI exam revealed no structural damage. He is day to day.
  • Backup quarterback Richard Breahut ran most of the first-team drills. He looked a bit rusty in the passing game with a few low throws but also threw some very nice medium-range balls. Darius Bell also got in significant work. He would be the backup if Prince can't go.
  • Center Ryan Taylor, named the Pac-10 offensive player of the week, said he was honored to be recognized, but said he accepted the award on behalf of the entire offensive line. "It obviously means a lot, but I feel like it’s a group award," Taylor said. "They should have given it to the entire line. It’s not just me. All five of us have to play together for us to be successful."
  • Linebacker Akeem Ayers, who bruised his shoulder against Texas, participated fully in practice. There wasn't a lot of hitting, but Ayers didn't seemed slowed by the injury.
  • Owamagbe Odighizuwa got a lot of reps with the first- and second-team defense. The freshman defensive end, a highly-rated recruit out of high school, has played sparingly this season and has one tackle.
  • Linebacker Sean Westgate was named the Pac-10 defensive player of the week after registering 11 tackles and a forced fumble against Texas. not bad for a 5-foot-11, 217 pound junior who said he has been told he was too small to play since "before day one." "If you let it get to you, you’re going to be too small," he said. "You give that up and you’re done. You can’t listen to what people say. I let it fuel me and say, watch, I’ll get it done."

Bruins to go deeper into defensive rotation

September, 6, 2010
9/06/10
7:10
PM PT
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.

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2014 TEAM LEADERS

PASSINGATTCOMPYDSTD
B. Hundley368259301921
RUSHINGCARYDSAVGTD
P. Perkins23013786.07
B. Hundley1485483.78
RECEIVINGRECYDSAVGTD
J. Payton6389614.27
D. Fuller574287.51
TEAMRUSHPASSTOTAL
Offense199.4268.5467.9
TEAMPFPAMARGIN
Scoring32.927.55.4