The hardest week of preseason practice is behind UCLA.
The Bruins are days from their season opener against Nevada.
“It’s easier this week,” Coach Jim Mora said. “You’re actually focused on an opponent.”
Last week was difficult.
“The game is still on the horizon, it hasn’t arrived yet,” Mora said. “They’re tired after two weeks of training camp.”
Running back Jordon James said that last week was “definitely the dog days of camp.”
This week, James said, “everyone is fired up. We’ve been in camp almost four weeks. Everyone is dying to get back on the field to play another team.”
There are new challenges that get players’ attention.
“The defense is looking at plays and routes that are different from what they have seen the last few weeks,” Mora said. “The focus narrows.”
UCLA has only 11 seniors and six juniors who are on scholarship and available for Saturday’s opener, prompting some concern.
“We’re awfully young, so there is some anxiety in that,” Mora said.
Anthony Barr is back
Anthony Barr, UCLA’s All-American linebacker, practiced for the second consecutive day and was allowed to talk to the media for the first time since suffering an undisclosed injury last week.
Barr left practice after taking a hit to the head. He doubled over, as if getting sick, and was escorted out of practice.
“I was fine about three minutes later,” Barr said.
He sat out three days of practice.
Nose tackle Eli Ankou (knee) and tackle Colby Cyburt (foot) left practice early. The injury to Cyburt’s heel is not considered serious. Ankou will undergo an MRI exam to determine the extent of the injury. … Walk-on long snapper Reed Buce rejoined practice after being cleared to participate by the NCAA.