After some gloomy years that could drive you to drinking, a few brights stars emerge who can really light it up, and quench your thirst for big plays

Cheers!  And Bottoms Up.  But instead of drinking to drown your sorrows, we are now toasting in celebration — Because the Bruins may just score some points this season.

Of course, only an idiot would draw grand conclusions like that from one day of practice.  Tomorrow may look completely different, with today’s stars dropping balls, while today’s strugglers settle down and perform better.  Besides — You never know when you’re looking at a “Practice Stud,” who always excels at Spaulding Field, but can’t seem to duplicate the heroics in the Rose Bowl.

So keep that in mind as you read this:  Ricky Marvray, Anthony Barr, and Randall Carroll are going to make the Bruins’ Offense explosive this year.  Big Plays have been missing for a while, but all Quarterback Kevin Prince has to do is get the ball in the vicinity of Marvray, and Ricky will come down with it.  Or, throw it up high to True Freshman H-Back Barr, and he will snag it.  Or, find Carroll — the fastest guy on the field — because he will probably be open, and he too will make the catch.

It was just one day, but it was a great day.  But not for everyone.  Offensive Lineman Mike Harris broke a team rule and received a one-game suspension.  Also, Linebacker Eric Kendricks might have done something wrong too, because he seemed to be running laps while everyone else was doing drills. I don’t know for sure — It could have been a conditioning thing, not a punitive thing.

Speaking of bad days, but straying way off-topic, trojan Baseball Coach Chad Krueter was axed today, as Pat Haden flexes his power for Lane Kiffin.  The trojans truly sucked under Krueter — the Dodger whose cap got snagged by a fan, causing him to go into the stands and allegedly start to strangle the wrong guy — so Haden might have fired him regardless of needing to send a message to Kiffin.  Either way, the message is sent:  Haden is not afraid to pull the trigger.  Now — Will Haden bring in fellow ex-trojan Mark McGwire?  Big Mac is currently the hitting instructor for the St. Louis Cardinals, but he is also one of the biggest cheats in the History of Baseball, and he apparently intentionally withheld information from Congress.  Is this the type of “character” that Haden is looking for?  Or is Haden even scuzzier than that — Will he go after the Bruins’ ultra-successful, current Coach, John  Savage?  I know that sometimes Assistant Coaches cross Rivalry Lines, like Norm Chow, but Chow had the Tennessee Titans in between.  Savage used to be an Assistant at usc, but even so, going directly from Head Coach of UCLA to Head Coach of usc would be very uncool.

Staying off-topic for a moment — Ex-trojan Brian Cushing LOST his Appeal with the NFL over his failed drug test — because his Invisible Tumor Defense apparently didn’t fool anyone — so now he has created an entirely new Defense:  Overtrained Athlete Syndrome.  His lawyers are claiming that he has a rare condidtion where over-exertion causes female hormones to be created in the male body.  But as Fred Roggin from NBC4-TV points out, that story would be a lot easier to swallow if the other athlete who got caught with the same test results wasn’t Manny Ramirez — a guy who doesn’t know the meaning of over-exertion.

Speaking of over-exertion, but getting back on-topic:  The Practice on Monday was the FIRST of the Fall, and they weren’t even wearing pads, so once again, no conclusions should be drawn from any observations that are made.  That being said, when the Bruins ran running plays, there didn’t seem to be any holes or lanes to run through.  The Offensive Line seemed to make headway later in the Practice, as the Running Backs finally started to see the Defensive Backfield.

Damien Thigpen is trying out Cornerback this week, and Milton Knox transferred out, but newcomers Jordon James and Malcolm Jones showed some moves in their place, behind  Jonathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman.

If there was ANY running room, it was probably for the QB, after faking to the Running Back.  It’s hard to tell for sure, since there were no pads, and the QB’s are off-limits to tacklers anyway, but it looked like the misdirection and fake handoffs were effective, and the QB’s always had a few steps before anyone got close to them.

Kevin Prince and Darius Bell were the most impressive QB’s to me, but there is a lot going on simultaneously, so my observations could easily be skewed.  Maybe I saw Bell’s best plays, and someone else’s one INT.  I can’t stress enough, to take this report with the proverbial grain of salt.  But I like the way Bell moves, and I liked Prince’s demeanor and Leadership qualities.

The Defense looked solid, with the D-backs usually being glued to the Receivers.  That’s why Marvray and Barr made so many highlight-reel catches:  They HAD to, in order to beat the blanket coverage.

Here are 23 photos from Day 1 of Fall Practice (the first photo is reprised from above).  UCLA Football does not allow photography during “11 on 11’s,” so these are all from the drills, and post-practice interviews.  WHY don’t they allow pictures during 11 on 11’s?  Because they are paranoid that someone is going to steal a new Play being installed. Okaaaaaay.  Spying isn’t what put the Bruins in 8th place, but… anything to help the team.  Photos from the sidelines or bleachers wouldn’t show anything to anyone anyway, strategically speaking — Only photos from high in the parking structure would do that, and they don’t police that area at all.  But whatever UCLA Football wants… so I acquiesced.  Enjoy these Drill-only shots.  It was still worth it.