What's The Scoop:
Eric Kendricks was coy, quiet and cryptic about his ankle injury. But at the end of day, he was participating fully in UCLA's practice Tuesday morning for the first time all camp, and that's all that matters to the Bruins and head coach Jim Mora.
"This is the most he's done. By far," Mora said after practice. "He did teammwork today, as you guys saw. I don't think he's done any of that. He made a couple plays.
"I think that gives our team a lift. He's a heck of a football player; he's a leader on this team, and just having him out there in the huddle and directing things and then looking like he did is a great thing for us. He feels really good."
Kendricks has been out since mid-spring, when he hurt his ankle in a practice. The junior linebacker then had surgery in late July to fix the issue. He declined to go in detail about the ailment and why he waited so long to have the procedure, but said it was just nagging at him throughout the summer.
"It just wasn't normal. I know how my body feels when it's normal, and it just wasn't right," Kendricks said. "I wanted to be able to play through the season without any interference, and I wanted to be there for my teammates, so I got the surgery."
Kendricks looked fine manning his inside linebacker spot next to Jordan Zumwalt in team drills, and he's expected to participate in Tuesday night's full-pads workout as well.
And that's something he's happy to finally do.
"I feel like I need to catch up," Kendricks said. "But I'll be fine. I'll be all right."
A snippet from practice
-UCLA DL Eddie Vanderdoes made his return to practice as well Tuesday morning, and flashed the same dominant traits he did in his last practice Friday night. He had one play where he blew by Caleb Benenoch for a sack, and then had a few more good runs at UCLA QBs throughout the practice.
-Senior WR Shaquelle Evans had the catch of practice, leaping over Fabian Moreau in 11-on-11 drills to haul in a first down.
-Working at punt returner today were corner Ishmael Adams, receiver Devin Lucien, receiver Shaquelle Evans, receiver Devin Fuller and safety Randall Goforth.
You Should've Seen:
Freshman punter Sean Covington booted two footballs that made the two-dozen-or-so fans and media members in attendance say, "Wow." The first was nuked from around the 20-yard line and landed in the endzone. The second was punted from the 15-yard line and carried into the endzone.
Freshman TE Thomas Duarte had his second straight big practice, catching two touchdowns and a few more first downs in team drills. He sure has the look of a player who's going to be the starting Y next week.
Left tackle Simon Goines. The big OT injured his knee last Thursday, and despite Mora saying he should be back relatively soon, he's now missed five and a half practices and doesn't appear to be ready to come back for Tuesday night's outing either.
Missed Practice / Limited Practice:
DL Ian Taubler (concussion)
OL Kevin McReynolds (concussion)
OL Alex Redmond (concussion)
CB Johnny Johnson (separated shoulder)
OT Simon Goines (knee)
OT Christian Morris (asthma)
Returned to Practice:
DL Eddie Vanderdoes (back)
LB Eric Kendricks (ankle)
DL Kylie Fitts (cramps)
OL Caleb Benenoch (flu)
"It's a fine line you walk between getting the physical contact work you need and trying to keep guys healthy. I think with the lack of our experience and depth, it makes it even more difficult. It's a challenge." -- Mora on the balance between hitting and not hitting in practice.
Freshman DL Eli Ankou