UCLA football: Quarterback Brett Hundley closer to practicing
The words that UCLA fans have been wanting to hear were shouted by Coach Rick Neuheisel on Monday, “Taylor Embree, get over here and catch some passes from Brett Hundley.”
Hundley, the eagerly anticipated freshman quarterback, threw on the field Saturday morning for the first time since having knee surgery.
“That first pass felt weird,” Hundley said. “But the knee feels great. Hopefully I’ll get a chance to get in there next week.”
The plan is to have a package of plays for Hundley so he could be spotted into games this season, much as Ohio State did with Terrelle Pryor when he was a freshman.
That remains an option, depending on how quickly Hundley can get up to speed.
The two highlight moments of the morning practice both involved quarterback Richard Brehaut, though he was the punch line on one.
After holding onto the ball too long on a pass play, Neuheisel had Brehaut lay on the ground and said, “Come drag him off, ‘throw out your dead. Throw out your dead!’ ”
Bad audible. The line from “Monty Python and the Holy Grail” is “Bring out your dead.” But the point was made.
Brehaut, moments later, flicked the best pass of camp, with the ball traveling about 65 yards in the air into Devin Lucien’s hands.
In two days, Jordon James has put some oomph into the F-back spot.
The team’s only two F-backs, Anthony Barr and Damien Thigpen, are out with hamstring injuries, resulting in James being moved from running back.
“I like the position,” James said. “It gets me in the open field to make plays.”
James was elusive as a runner and also made a handful of receptions Saturday. UCLA F-backs caught only 18 passes last season. James caught four in 11-on-11 drills Monday.
“Jordon James is an electric player, kind of what Damien Thigpen brought to that position,” Neuheisel said. “He is certainly a weapon.”
The one area that Neuheisel said needs improvement is blocking.
“We’re taking baby steps there,” Neuheisel said. “But we haven’t really explored that with him. He will have to do that if he is going to play that position. That’s a big shoulder pad job.”
James said the blocking is “easier than being at running back. You just have to stop block. It’s not a big issue.”
Freshman linebacker Mike Orloff will undergo surgery to repair the meniscus in his left knee. There is also some concern about his anterior cruciate ligament, which Neuheisel said is “loose.”
“We hoped that he could play, but the swelling is such that he will get surgery,” Neuheisel said. “We are going to try to get him 100% by spring ball.”
--Safety Tevin McDonald sat out practice with an ankle injury. Cornerback Jamie Graham sat out with a knee injury.
--Tight end Joseph Fauria, wide receiver Jerry Johnson, linebacker Jared Koster and strong safety Dietrich Riley missed practice with “food poisoning or the flu,” Neuheisel said.
--Pasadena Muir High cornerback Kevon Seymour was at practice. Seymour is the nationally ninth-ranked cornerback by Rivals.com.
--Neuheisel said the Bruins would go through a 20-25-play scrimmage in Monday’s afternoon practice, “just to get a taste.”
Photo: Brett Hundley on campus last winter. Credit: Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times