The difference between frustration and blind anger was demonstrated by UCLA defensive tackle Cassius Marsh during spring practice Monday.
Marsh had to be pulled away from tight end Joseph Fauria during tackling drills. He then went back at Fauria and had to be restrained by offensive lineman Stan Hasiak.
After that, Marsh made a beeline for the locker room, throwing his helmet and shoulder pads to the ground while running back Johnathan Franklin tried to keep him from leaving.
A half-hour later, Marsh returned, coaxed back by former UCLA player James Washington.
“The game of football is violent,” Marsh said. “Your emotions get worked up and you make mistakes. That’s what happened. There was a misunderstanding between me and the coach. I apologized to my teammate.”
Marsh said that defensive coordinator Joe Tresey told him, “You’re done for the day, get off the field.” Marsh said he mistook that for being told to leave the practice facility.
Mike Linn, the team’s strength coach, and safety Dalton Hilliard went to the locker room. Hilliard returned minutes later, shaking his head.
“Some people talked to me, calmed me down and made me realize what I had done,” Marsh said. “They put it in perspective for me. I decided to finish practice with the team even if Coach Tresey didn’t want me.”
Marsh said he was angry about being held by offensive players, but “holding is part of the game, whether defensive linemen like it or not. I shouldn’t react that way.”
Fauria said, “Emotions get ahold of you sometimes. It’s how you answer.”
Trifecta for Fauria
Fauria was involved in two other scrapes Tuesday, a shoving match with Eric Kendricks and a brief moment with safety Alex Mascarenas.
Fauria is 6 feet 7. Mascarenas is generously listed at 5-10.
Asked whether he was doing anything to get teammates so riled up, Fauria said, “Maybe. You don’t have microphones out there, do you?”
Fauria, bothered by injuries last season, also had one of his best practice performances since coming to UCLA.
Marsh’s stomp-off came on a day he was relegated to the second team for practice. A few players were shuffled around, including linebacker Jordan Zumwalt.
“When a coach tells you that you’re rolling with the [second team] today, you’re like, ‘Ah, shoot, I better pick it up,’ ” Zumwalt said. “It kind of gets your motor going a little.”
Or, in Marsh’s case, a lot?
“It’s spring ball, and they are looking at everybody,” said Marsh, who was No. 1 on the depth chart entering spring practice.
Still, while saying the depth chart wasn’t “relevant” at this time, Marsh added, “It’s in the back of your mind when you’re moved down.”