COLLEGE FOOTBALL DAILY REPORT : UCLA : This Kick-Rushing Drill Goes Too Far
The drill was testing outside defenders’ ability to rush during field-goal attempts, so when Andy Colbert flashed in front of holder Kevin Walker, he was doing what he was supposed to do.
Up to a point.
That point was kicker Bjorn Merten’s right leg, which hit Colbert in the helmet Tuesday afternoon. Colbert walked away, but Merten, an All-American as a freshman, suffered a gash that required bandages and ice.
Colbert suffered the wrath of Coach Terry Donahue.
“You’re not supposed to go after the kicker!” he yelled. “Don’t try to ruin our season by going after the kicker!”
Merten made 21 field goals in 26 tries last season, the longest from 47 yards.
Coming back as an All-American adds pressure, Merten said.
“But it’s really no different,” he added. “Everybody puts pressure on a kicker.”
Merten has missed only five times in more than 50 tries in the last 10 days of practice, and has made several from 49 yards. On the play on which Colbert hit him, Merten was successful from 43 yards. He then kicked two more field goals from 43, and missed one.
There was a new kicker at practice Tuesday, Hiaitham Kahwaji, from Israel by way of John Marshall High in Burbank.
Kahwaji says he has kicked field goals of 57 yards in high school practice and has kicked off through the goal post several times. His biggest problem Tuesday was kicking off the ground, rather than a tee, for the first time.
His tardiness in reporting to practice at UCLA can be traced to an ankle injury suffered when he fell over some trash on the steps at John Marshall a few days before graduation.
Tailback Sharmon Shah, running plays despite swelling in a knee, pulled up limping during a drill. . . . Walk-on center Chris Rubio underwent an emergency appendectomy. . . . Because of his history of injuries, wide receiver Bryan Adams has been working out once a day. . . . The Bruins worked out only once Tuesday and will end two-a-day sessions today.