COLLEGE FOOTBALL / DAILY REPORT : UCLA : Intensity Absent in Lax Scrimmage
Eighty plays were scheduled Saturday, with full contact and officials--everything UCLA needed to get an idea of how ready it is to play Tennessee in two weeks.
The answer is: not all that ready, because the 80 were marked down to 77--or 16, depending on who is counting. The first 61 plays did not finish in a tackle, the better to keep Bruins free of injury. The other 16 were run with third- or fourth-stringers. And the scrimmage was run without the first-, second- and third-string tailbacks: in order, Sharmon Shah, Derek Ayers and Daron Washington.
Shah has a swollen knee, Ayers tendinitis in his leg and Washington suffered a concussion in a Wednesday scrimmage.
“I’m bummed because they wouldn’t let any of us with concussions play,” Washington said. “I was going to get some plays at tailback.”
Washington is not pleased about spending most of his time at fullback.
With the regular backs watching, freshman Shaun Williams, who has been force fed into the offense in 24 hours after spending a week learning to play safety, made the most of his chance. He carried 11 times for 47 yards in an unofficial count and was impressive.
“He did a great job, just the way he handled the coaching right up to the snap count,” said Coach Terry Donahue. “Coaches were walking him right up to the play and saying ‘you go right, you go left.’ That’s hard for a guy. A lot of guys come apart in that situation.”
Other scrimmage performers of note: quarterback Wayne Cook completed 11 of 14 passes for 130 yards and a 33-yard touchdown to J.J. Stokes. . . . No. 2 quarterback Ryan Fien was seven for nine for 57 yards and No. 3 Rob Walker was seven for eight for 94 yards, 32 of them coming on a leaping touchdown catch by freshman Jim McElroy. . . . Also impressive was walk-on fullback Greg Ford, from Whittier High and listed at 5 feet 11, 255 pounds, perhaps an inch or two taller than his real height. He carried on several short-yardage plays and made defensive backs cringe at the idea of tackling him in the open field.