There is a definite buzz about UCLA's football team for 2007. There was an outstanding crowd on hand to take in Saturday's practice and it wasn't just fans but a good turnout of recruits as well. Obviously Coach Karl Dorrell is pleased with the effort of his team this spring.
There is a lot of work being done and the effort through the process has been outstanding. Yes there is good energy about this UCLA program and the proof is in the pudding.
Three days into the spring and the Bruins have been practicing in front of good crowds and of course outstanding prospects.
In the audience were Fresno (Calif.) Edison standout defensive backs Robert Golden and Brandon Leslie, wide receiver Que Sean Gregory from Venice, Calif., tight end/defensive end Cory Harkey, offensive tackle Kevin Murphy, offensive lineman A.J. Wallerstein and Cal commit Tyler Rigsbee to name a few.
Bruin commits Datone Jones and contingent commit Kemonte Bateman were in house as was future Bruin Brian Price.
Price has been to all three practices thus far.
Back to practice after Saturday's session Dorrell held audience with the media.
Dorrell: "I thought practice went very, very good. When you go three days in a row you are always concerned about the third day particularly when you put the pads on we don't want to take a big setback and we didn't have any big setbacks today in terms of guys who were out here practicing. You already know about Chris Markey in terms of his injury."
What's the report on the MRI?
Dorrell: "The MRI showed that it is a stress fracture just like what we expected. It's not going to require surgery so it is just rest time in the boot and he will be ready to go whenever that time is he gets back healthy.
Is there an estimated time when Chris returns?
Dorrell: "I know it won't be before the rest of this spring. He's going to be a boot for sure at least four weeks.
"It was a good day today. Ben Olson tweaked his hamstring on Friday and he came in and it was still tight so we decided to hold him out so it doesn't get any worse than what it is so hopefully he will be ready to go on Monday."
Because Ben missed one practice does that do anything with his evaluation?
Dorrell: "Not really, we're still young in the installation process. It's day three of installation and there is probably three or four more days of installation so there is a lot more that's going to be out there to execute and get used to. Other things like the scrimmages will mean a lot in terms of evaluation.
When is your first scrimmage?
Dorrell: "We should scrimmage some during the week for situational things, but the big scrimmage we will probably do more next Saturday."
How is Chris Joseph doing at center?
Dorrell: "Chris looks good. He's learning as he goes. He does know that playing guard is a lot easier than playing center. You have to snap and get the calls in and do all those things, but he's the smartest guy on our team, or one of the smartest guys on the team. He shouldn't be a problem, so he's doing very well.
Two years ago you tried Chris at center…
Dorrell: "That was when we didn't know if Mike McCloskey would be available. That is when we decided to move him there a couple of years ago.
Was Chris good at the center position then?
Dorrell: "He was good then, yeah. We felt that he would be just fine for us then, but when we got the clearance for Mike to play, we moved Chris back to guard."
Do you think the kids got a kick out of the crowd?
Dorrell: "I think so we had a good crowd here it was the first day in pads. I think that is always going to be exciting too. It was a combination of those two things. It was good to see the crowd be very supportive and excited about the team.