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UCLA tracks football players' performance during practice

Selected Bruins have had a GPS device attached to them each practice to monitor performance
Freshman linebacker Kenny Young is 'uncommonly committed to being great'

There are probably more than a few college football coaches who would like to hook players up to a global positioning system to track their off-field antics.

UCLA, though, has a GPS hookup for players on the field. It's the latest in the high-tech foray for the football program.

Selected Bruins have had a device attached to them each practice. Their performance is monitored and recorded for future reference.

"It helps monitor the total workout load," said Coach Jim Mora. "It helps us get a feel for peak speed. We can tell if a guy's speed is dropping during practice."

The potential uses are many, Mora said.

"It will have an impact on recovery," he said. "At what point does a guy need a recovery time and when can he go out again? The possibilities are limitless in terms of what you can measure."

The information can help personalize workout plans and alert staff when a player requires a break. Mora said that the training staff was gathering data during training camp.

The Galaxy also uses GPS with players. Mora discussed it with Bruce Arena, the Galaxy's coach, when investigating whether the Bruins could use it.

Arena cautioned Mora to avoid the temptation to record everything.

"He said you got to be careful because you're going to get so much information and so many things," Mora said. "We have to decide what works for us."

Color players intrigued.

"They say it can tell how fast you play," said receiver Devin Lucien.

Asked whether there was a device that could measure how fast he plays, Lucien smiled and said, "I don't know."

Quarterback Jerry Neuheisel knew.

"They attached a sundial to me to measure my speed," Neuheisel said.

Young with heart

What has become clear in recent days is that freshman linebacker Kenny Young is ready to play college football, physically anyway. The rest is coming, and coming fast.

Running backs got a taste of his strength Thursday during a pass protection drill. He devoured one after another.

On Friday, the first day with pads, Young closed holes repeatedly and smothered running backs.

"He has no intentions of redshirting," said defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich. "He has no intentions of sitting behind anybody. He's different that way."

Young showed up from River Ridge, La., where he played at Curtis Christian High, ready to absorb college football. He certainly had the size (6 feet 2, 225 pounds). He also had the drive.

"I anticipated the physical part of him," Ulbrich said. "What I didn't anticipate was that he was going to be in my office every single day this summer, that he was going to wear me out on film, wear me out on the playbook. He's a freshman who is uncommonly committed to being great."

Said Young: "I need to work on the little things. That's why I went to Coach Brick. I have to get everything he knows into my head."

Quick hits

Marcus Rios intercepted two passes Friday, as defensive backs had an impressive day. Freshman safety Jaleel Wadood flashed his speed, scooping up a fumble and racing 40 yards for a touchdown in team drills.

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Tackle Malcolm Bunche watched practice, sitting out because of an undisclosed injury. Thomas Duarte (hamstring), Jordon James (hamstring) and tackle Conor McDermott (shoulder) were also held out.

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Receiver Sam Handler had to be helped off the field after injuring his left leg.

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Center Carl Hulick left practice because of the heat.

Follow Chris Foster on Twitter @cfosterlatimes

Copyright © 2014, Los Angeles Times
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