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Rich Gets Quick — Richard Brehaut is Money in practice, cashing in repeatedly as his Offense hits paydirt several times

Old Army guys used to sing a song called “You’re In The Army Now” that included the lyrics:  “You’ll never get rich, you sonofabitch, you’re in the Army now.”  And if Richard Brehaut keeps playing like he did on Thursday, his QB competitors may “never get Rich” either.  Brehaut threw 2 “Touchdown” passes and ran for a 3rd during UCLA’s “Red Zone Drill,” in which the Bruin Offense scored 4 TD’s and 2 FG’s, and looked more in sync than it has in a long time.  And Brehaut gets extra credit because the Offense without Brehaut was not nearly as productive.

Brehaut completed 6 of his 7 passes, including a 30-yard TD strike to Nelson Rosario, who made a great one-handed catch.  Brehaut’s other TD pass was a dart over the middle to Tight End Joseph Fauria.  A False Start by Fauria negated the play, but does NOT negate the solid impression made by Brehaut on the day.  Brehaut also tucked the ball and ran for a TD on a misdirection play where almost everyone else on the field was running in the other direction.

Brehaut really celebrated one of his TD passes, apparently because he had just been yelled at for trying to run a play that couldn’t be run out of the formation they were in (I think), so when he subsequently connected for a Touchdown, he ran down to the celebration, and leaped onto the joyous pile.  When he went airborne, I almost had a heart attack.  All I could think of was the Bruin and Angel Baseball players who got injured last year during celebrations.

I actually got to talk to him after practice (thanks to his classy, mature, attractive, and well-grounded Mother).  I shared with him my sincere CONCERN for his health, and he assured me that he is well-aware of the possibility of a celebration mishap, and promised me that he would be careful.  Excellent — Because the way it looks right now, he could very easily be UCLA’s Starting Quarterback this fall.

I also learned that the UCLA QB’s are like a club of their own, and they are extremely supportive of one another.  It is not a vicious, cut-throat competition, and they (and their families) are NOT at all rooting for the others to fail.

During the Red Zone Drill, Brett Hundley went only 4-11, and did not gain his usual rushing yardage.  He says that he is immersing himself in the playbook every day, but that when he approaches the line, he is still not exactly sure how to proceed.  It’s too bad, because his natural talents are very much evident during the other drills.  He hit plenty of down and outs and short passes over the middle, and he also looked good finding gaps to run through.  The Defense isn’t allowed to tackle the QB’s, so the Refs blow the whistles on scrambles, but it looks like Hundley will be very productive with his legs when his time comes.  Fortunately for the Bruins, they have Brehaut to lead them RIGHT NOW, which allows Hundley time to develop methodically, and eventually realize his full potential down the road.

The Offense wasn’t all about the QB.  The Offensive Line looked cohesive, and able to sustain the pocket.  Despite several bad/mishandled snaps, the QB’s usually had time to look at two or three Receivers and get rid of the ball.  The line also opened up some lanes for the Running Backs.  Jonathan Franklin broke through for a Touchdown — and his familiar swagger-celebration — during the Red Zone Drill, and Derrick Coleman, Malcolm Jones, and Jordon James all got into the Defensive Backfield at some point during the practice.  It appears that the Coaching staff wants to get the ball to Jordon James in the flat, to let him unleash his elusiveness.  Anthony Barr also received some time at Running Back, and looked like a natural.  In the Passing game, Receviers Ricky Marvray and Jerry Rice made good catches, with Taylor Embree, Fauria and Rosario also getting targeted a lot.

On the Defensive side of the ball, the hitting is starting to have more of an impact, as it looked like hard hits caused fumbles by James and Fauria.  Also, I believe that I saw early Drill Interceptions by Jordan Zumwalt and Stan McKay.  The Defensive Line didn’t do anything stunning, but they SHOULD get credit for keeping the slippery Hundley under wraps, and for tipping one of his throws at the line of scrimmage.  And also, you need to keep in mind that star defender Tony Dye is still out, nursing a knee injury, and Dalton Hilliard is also still not in action.  Those two MIA’s afford opportunities for some other players to show their stuff, and it looked like Alex Mascarenas (whose Mom was also in attendance and very pleasant to sit with) made the most of it.  Alex, a History major and Brehaut’s roommate, seemed to have a good feel for the game, and could see action as the Nickel Back this season.  Maybe rooming with Brehaut gives him some insight as to where the ball is going to be thrown.

In addition to the Moms of Brehaut, Mascarenas, and Damien Holmes, the practice was also graced by former Bruin Tight End Logan Paulsen, as well as three current members of the Basketball Team:  Jerime Anderson, Joshua Smith, and Anthony Stover.  It’s nice to see the B-Ballers supporting their Brothers-in-Arms on the Football Team.

The Football Coaches had to work hard to keep the players motivated, right from the very start of the practice.  New Defensive Coordinator Joe Tresey is especially vocal, and it was either him or one of his guys who could be heard at the beginning of practice telling the D something like: “You’re tired?!  You’re tired already?  It’s only period number ONE!  In fact, it’s actually period ZERO!!  Period One hasn’t even started yet!  How can you be tired???”

New Offensive Coordinator Mike Johnson and the Offense were further away from the bleachers, so it was hard to tell how vociferous he was, but I did catch him working the RECRUITS, with a big smile, and what LOOKED like a lot of charisma — Definitely an upgrade in that category, over his predecessor.

Here are 24 photos from Thursday’s practice.  I highly recommend that you CLICK on the horizontal photos, because they will show up MUCH larger, filling your whole screen, and that allows you to see much more detail.

"THE RICH GETS RICHER" was published on April 15th, 2011 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, UCLA/usc/Sports Photos.

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