Thursday, July 12, 2007

7-7 Drills

Ed Note: This is posted with permission from DeaconBlue at BruinGold.

Given the choice between being a responsible citizen, keeping an important social obligation, or busting on out to Spaulding Field to attend the first 7 on 7 workout yesterday afternoon, I did what any red-blooded Arroyo Pyscho would do & played hooky from real life.

My answering machine was SMOKING when I got home, but I ignored it & hunkered down to clack out a practice report. Don't expect a whole lotta X's & O's. Rather, consider this a whistle wetter, a few lightweight observations on a few hours spent catching up with old buds & digging some pigskin slinging around Spaudling Field.

Since I rarely begin a practice report without some allusion to prevailing atmospheric conditions, I should mention that competition vs the Oilers of West LA College commenced under pearly skies. Immediately upon discreetly plunking open my notebook & jotting down a few stray notes, a HUGE shadow suddenly loomed over me, which looked suspiciously like a suspicious Chris Horton when I gazed up. Indeed the senior safety perfectly played the role of both senior leader & enforcer, by making damn sure I wasn't one of those internet geeks. Once I assured him I knew the right people, who knew the right people, he released his hand from my throat & told his teammates to give me my pants back.

While I'm sure the usual suspects are wondering whether Ben Olson or Patrick Cowan looked better, I couldn't honestly tell you. Nor do I care at this point. Both had their moments, hitting some nice medium & deep balls. I can't say that Chris Forcier throws the prettiest spiral I've ever seen. But he's a very cool kid, seems comfortable out there & is accurate despite, (wth all due respect), the wobbling delivery, today anyway. It's never wise to judge anybody on one day's efforts. I'm guessing he was a little tight at his first official gig as Bruin & over gripping the stone.

But speaking of athletic QBs, I can say that Osaar Rasshan will make one KICKASS WR. Dude has prototype size, nice jets, fluid moves & a surprisingly fine set of paws. Other players confirmed he has been snagging stone VERY WELL all summer. When I asked him if he had any experience playing WR, he mentioned that he played WR as a frosh on the varsity at Garey HS in Pomona. As for any hard feelings about making the switch to WR, he was all about helping UCLA football. Speaking of which, he got open often, didn't drop a ball thrown his way & made some nice snags with decent technique, (hands fully extended), while showing the usual freakish athleticism.

Another lesser known, ex HS QB, who has made a few position switches in the past few years also caught my eye on numerous occasions today. True story time... A few years ago I met a young man, at a UCLA camp who was DESPERATE to see his nephew (or was it stepson?) get a shot at playing for UCLA. He actually handed me a highlight video & asked me to do ANYTHING I could to get it to the coaches. I managed to get his video seen by the right people, but it produced no offer.

Me, I was impressed with the prospects extremely quick feet & learned that he ran the fastest shuttle time at the Stanford Nike Camp. He played QB at Redondo Union High School by default, simply because he was the best athlete on his team. But it seemed that his Division 1 future lay at DB. Long story long, UCLA didn't offer, but Idaho did. So he ended up committing to the Vandals.

Well recently he transferred to UCLA as a walk on. I PROMISE, before camp is over you will definitely her a little bit about a smallish, white WR at practice, just flat out JUKING the shorts off of one DB after another & making circus catches with his 40 some inch vertical leap & say WHO THE HELL WAS THAT???? It will be walk on WR Chris Meadows, #30. Think Andrew Baumgartner with considerably more raw talent.

It's always tough to tell too much from any one practice, let alone an informal short & T shirt 7 on 7 type dealio vs a local JC squad, albeit vs one of my alma maters WLACC. But FWIW, (to this longtime practice regular), it is obvious that UCLA's overall talent level is picking up considrably. As is the confidence level & focus of the team.

These Bruins clearly have A BLAST hanging out together, talk a ton of smack & get along famously. But on the business side of the deal, there is no shortage of fire in the belly. It's AWESOME to see Trey Brown, Chris Horton, Moochie, Rodney Van, Alteran Verner & other elders schooling talented youngsters like Courtney Viney, who is smallish, but stout & VERY MUCH a cling on type DB & PLAYA. Generally the team elders were all taking the cubs under their wings & dispensing high caliber Div 1 wisdom. As for any proverbial corners turned, I'm perfectly comfortable to let the upcoming Pac 10 season determine that.

All in all, it was fantastic to be around UCLA football, rap with a few players & kick it with a select few friends, who know & love the game. I can tell you that every player I spoke to is confident about the coming season & itching to get cracking in August. I spoke with several players, including one young man, I've always enjoyed. Being an offbeat breed of cat myself, I appreciate the quirkiness of kickers like Aaron Perez. He has always been bright, engaging & forthright with me. He mentioned that he knows all about BRO & the rest of the cyber sites, but no longer surfs the net, because its easy for all the crapola folks say to get into your head.

Perhaps I shouldn't have told him about the C+ grade some internet guru gave Perez on the upcoming year. But when I did, he shrugged, smiled & said wihtout hesitation: "I'm confident." You know what... So am I. I don't care what any of y'all say. Despite a few question marks, I feel GOOD about the upcoming season. Stay tuned for further observations on all thangs Bruinesque. I hope this little ditty finds you all well. Me, I can't wait for the first CRACK of pads come Fall to reverberate in Beautiful Downtown Bruinville...

Be Cool, Keep Da Faith & Rock On...


DEJA said...

Thanks for creating such a cool blog and being kind enough to post my thoughts. I'll definitely visit your site again and pass the word along to other Arroyo Psychos. Keep up the good work.

We have all enjoyed rapping all thangs Brruinesque before...



Anonymous said...

Love the optimism without the spin. I'm excited about the upcoming season too! Can't wait for the season opener! And the first home game!

Anonymous said...

"without the spin"

Interesting conclusion...