UCLA football web notebook: Injuries have Bruins looking thin at tight end
While Cory Harkey said he only had a “minor concussion,” and that he would probably be back Tuesday, Joseph Fauria took a small step backward with a groin injury and Morrell Presley is out with a concussion.
The Bruins were left using walk-ons Kevin McDermott and Austin Hill during practice.
Presley, an F-back, had been ticketed for some tight end work, but will now have to go through the concussion protocol. Fauria has been out with a sore groin, but was in pads on Sunday. He was without pads for Monday morning’s workout.
“I got rolled on during a seven-on-seven drill the other day and had a small setback,” Fauria said. “Of course I want to be out there; we’re low on numbers at tight end. I told the coaches to let me go out there today, but they are looking out for my best interests.”
The depth situation at tight end is such that Jayson Allmond was back at the position Monday. Allmond, who came to UCLA as a fullback, had tried tight end but was moved to defensive tackle Sunday, with Coach Rick Neuheisel saying, “We didn’t need to see it anymore.” But Allmond was back with the offense Monday morning.
The news on Harkey, Neuheisel said, was encouraging.
“It’s more precautionary,” Neuheisel said. “We’ll work him out a little bit today and hopefully get him back [Tuesday].”
The eye-catchers Monday morning were quarterback Darius Bell and wide receiver Rickey Marvray.
Bell, a transfer from San Francisco City College, was creative on the offense, using his running ability to improvise.
“He makes plays with his legs, no question,” Neuheisel said.
Marvray has shown quality play during camp, making a handful of acrobatic catches the past two days.
He went high to catch a touchdown pass from Bell during 11-on-11 drills.
Kevin Prince, out with a strained back muscle, ran some and worked on handoffs and pitchouts a little Monday morning.
“Throwing the ball wouldn’t have been good for me [this morning],” Prince said. “I did a little bit more running, getting comfortable with that. I’m 75% right now in terms of getting back to speed.”
Prince is trying to remain patient.
“I’ll throw some on the side this afternoon,” Prince said. “Even if it’s feeling great, they don’t want to push it. If it does feel good today, maybe I’ll do a little more action tomorrow.”
Former UCLA cornerback Alterraun Verner may be off playing for the Tennessee Titans -- he intercepted a pass Saturday night -- but his presence is still felt around the UCLA program.
“He did everything you’re supposed to do to be a player,” cornerback Aaron Hester said. “He took the film room to the field. That’s what I’m doing now.”
Both Hester and cornerback Sheldon Price said they soaked up every lesson from Verner.
“He was the smartest football player I have ever been around,” Price said. “He not only knew his assignment, he knew the whole defense. He would tell us how to watch film. You can watch film and not really get a lot out of it. You have to know how to watch film.”
Are we having fun yet?
Neuheisel barked at players after the morning practice, trying to get more “enthusiasm” from them.
“Someone needs to pick up the enthusiasm,” Neuheisel said. “The effort was fantastic. In terms of having fun, it was more surviving today.”
Strong safety Tony Dye sat out practice with “tightness” in his legs, Neuheisel said. Dalton Hilliard worked with the first-team defense in Dye’s place. … Neuheisel said that safety Stan McKay, who sat out a second day with a concussion, should practice Tuesday. … The catch of the morning was by wide receiver Jerry Johnson, who extended himself to make a diving catch on a deep pass from Bell.
-- Chris Foster
Photo: UCLA tight end Cory Harkey in 2009. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times