Glenn Love and Tony Dye compete for UCLA’s strong safety job
Glenn Love practiced yoga. Tony Dye decided to get physical.
Both UCLA players are well aware of what they have needed to do to challenge for the strong safety position.
This is the only spot on the defense that appears to be wide open, with the competition expected to go well into camp. Love, a redshirt sophomore, has had his time limited the first two seasons because of hip and shoulder surgeries. Dye, a true sophomore, spent last season as the team’s nickel back.
“Both have physical toughness,” secondary coach Tim Hundley said. From there, his assessment varies.
Love, at 6 feet 4, has to “continue to work on his ability to play lower. He has a great body and he is learning to play with lower eyes.”
Dye is faster but needs to “work at taking better angles and the awareness how you get on top of routes.”
Love, who has been working with the first team, took a yoga class during the summer, “in a room where it was always 110 degrees,” to improve his flexibility so he could play lower.
The 5-11 Dye worked on his strength because “I don’t have the ideal size for strong safety, and I’m aware of it. Strong safety is a hitting position. I feel I am a hitter. I just have to show that consistently.”
Tight end Ryan Moya sat out practice because of a sore left knee. Results from an MRI exam were negative, according to a UCLA official, who said Moya would return to practice “when the swelling goes down.”
Abele is willing
Freshman Nik Abele spent the first two days of camp as a defensive lineman, then was moved to the offensive line Wednesday.
“Whatever helps the team,” said Abele, who is 6-7 and 275 pounds. He did say he prefers defense because “it’s more intense. You hit a little harder, chase the ball around and don’t have to think that much.”
Coach Rick Neuheisel said he would wait to make a permanent decision.
“We want to get a look at him on both sides of the ball and see where he might impact the depth chart earliest,” Neuheisel said.
Guard Eddie Williams, a 330-pound transfer from Mt. San Antonio College, worked out with the first team Wednesday. It was not an entirely pleasant experience when he lined up against opposite defensive tackle Brian Price, who chewed him up on some plays.
“I think Eddie did fine until he met Brian Price,” Neuheisel said. “Brian Price does that to a lot of guards. But Eddie will respond. He’s a competitive guy. . . . I hope he doesn’t go in the tank. I’m counting on him not to.”
UCLA’s recruiting took a step into 2012, as the Bruins offered a scholarship to Arik Armstead, according to his brother Armond Armstead, a USC defensive lineman.
The unusual twist is Arik Armstead will be a sophomore in high school. The Bruins made their offer Tuesday. Armstead, 6 feet 5 and 246 pounds, attends Elk Grove (Calif.) Pleasant Grove High. He is also considered a basketball prospect, though his brother said he probably will pick one sport to play in college.
Top high school recruits at Wednesday’s practice were Loyola High running backs Anthony Barr and Bronson Green.