Tight end spot gets real thin at UCLA
UCLA tight end Cory Harkey left the practice field Sunday with what were called “concussive symptoms,” exposing one of the Bruins’ thinnest positions.
Harkey was injured late in practice, leaving walk-on Kevin McDermott as the only available tight end. Joseph Fauria is still sidelined because of a hamstring injury.
Coach Rick Neuheisel said that “even if it is a concussion, hopefully we’ll get Cory back before too long.” But, Neuheisel said, “It does show our vulnerability there.”
The Bruins were so deep at tight end last winter that Nate Chandler was moved to the defensive line. But incoming freshman John Young needed shoulder surgery and former fullback Jayson Allmond’s move to tight end didn’t work out.
Fauria remains day to day but has not practiced in the last three days.
Neuheisel said the “Pistol” offense can work “without a tight end.” Offensive coordinator Norm Chow said the tight end will be necessary this season.
“I have never been without a tight end,” Chow said. “I think you can be without a tight end and run intermittent stuff that I call fillers, where you catch people off guard. To be able to run the football, you got to have a tight end.
“That’s the problem with the run-and-shoot guys. Everything is so spread out, but when it’s third and one at the six, you’ve got to run the football and it’s hard.”
Chow said F-back Morrell Presley will get some time at tight end in the next few practices.
Allmond moves again
Allmond arrived at UCLA as a fullback but has made the rounds the last few months. He was moved to the defense Sunday.
“Tight end was not working out; we didn’t need to see it anymore,” Neuheisel said. “We’ll see how he does at D-line. He has the size and athleticism. … But it is a different mind-set.”
Allmond, a 6-foot, 260-pound redshirt freshman, was obsolete where he was recruited to play after the Bruins switched to the “Pistol” offense, which does not have a fullback.
“My first thought was, ‘Where am I going to go?’” Allmond said. “They moved me to F-back, then running back, then tight end. My mind is in different places. But I will do whatever I have to do to get on the field.”
Allmond, a linebacker in high school, is light for a defensive tackle, but said his quickness might offset the weight issue.
Quarterback Kevin Prince, out because of a strained back muscle, threw before practice Sunday. But he is unlikely to rejoin practice Monday, as Neuheisel was hoping.
“We’re talking baby steps right now,” Prince said. “I threw a little bit in training room today to see what it feels like. I think we’re going to do the same thing tomorrow.
“I’m not throwing extremely hard at this point, just tossing 10-yard throws. You could tell if I was trying slinging hard it would be pretty painful.”
Strong safety Stan McKay suffered a concussion during Saturday’s scrimmage. … Tackle Cassius Marsh left practice because of a slight groin pull.