Wilton Speight makes a practice cameo, but his status remains unknown for UCLA’s game at Oklahoma

UCLA quarterback Wilton Speight throws downfield against Cincinnati at the Rose Bowl in Pasadena on Saturday, Sept. 1, 2018.
(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

Wilton Speight gripped a football in his right hand and made an underhanded flip to Dorian Thompson-Robinson, simulating a snap.

That was about the extent of Speight’s participation Monday during the 20-minute portion of UCLA’s practice that was open to reporters. Two days after he departed the Bruins’ 26-17 loss to Cincinnati before halftime with a back injury, the graduate transfer quarterback appeared limited in his involvement other than offering encouragement.

UCLA Coach Chip Kelly said Speight’s injury was “nothing serious” but was unsure of his status for the Bruins’ game at No. 7 Oklahoma on Saturday. Kelly doesn’t have a rule that players must practice before playing but noted the obvious benefits of their participation.


“I don’t think anybody’s going to be successful if they don’t have a week of practice and understand the game plan,” Kelly said. “If that was the case, then no one should practice.”

Thompson-Robinson replaced Speight against the Bearcats and would be the presumed starter against the Sooners if Speight is unable to play. Kelly said he was pleased with Thompson-Robinson’s demeanor in his first college game as a true freshman.

“Nothing was too big for him,” Kelly said. “When you talk to him after a series, he knew why [something happened], what the breakdown was or what the issue was on that play. He has a really good understanding of what we’re doing.”

Thompson-Robinson completed 15 of 25 passes for 117 yards but was sacked four times, lost a fumble and misfired on a fourth-down pass in the game’s final minutes. He was his own harshest critic afterward.

“It needs work, definitely,” Thompson-Robinson said after the game of his performance.