Bruin Notes: Datone Jones is Back, and New Transfers are In


Depth. Depth. Depth.

All of a sudden, it seems that UCLA has a lot of it. With players returning from injuries, transfers coming to campus, and a solid nucleus returning, the Bruins have several position battles on their hands. This is great news. For one, it prevents an injury from having a major impact on the team. Secondly, it breeds competition for positions, which raises the level of play. Three new or returning players stood out above all others throughout the first two days.

First, the Bruins welcome back DE Datone Jones(right), who missed last season with a broken foot. Big deal? Consider that despite missing the entire 2010 season, Jones was only one of thirty-five players in the nation to be named to the Ted Hendricks award watch list, which is given annually to the nation’s top defensive end. Even more surprisingly, there are only three Pac-12 players on the list – Jones, and USC’s Wes Horton and Nick Perry. While I am not the biggest fan of lists – especially preseason ones – it nevertheless represents the potential of Jones, which in turn provides the defense with even more promise heading into 2011. If Jones ends up being half as good as the billing, he will provide a vast improvement from 2010 to the unit. On one play today, he was on QB Kevin Prince in what was seemingly a split second. Of course he couldn’t hit him, but if the action were live, a sack or turnover would have been caused.

Additionally, UCLA has welcomed two new transfers over the past two days. The first is Guard Albert Cid, who comes from Citrus College Junior College. He immediately finds himself in the battle for one of the guard positions. Then, there is defensive back Jamie Graham, who is transferring from Vanderbilt. Graham actually graduated from Vanderbilt, but with a new NCAA rule, he is allowed to transfer and enroll in a graduate program without missing a year. He will be starting his first year of master’s work in the school of education. He played defensive back last year, but also played wide receiver, running back, and even took snaps in the wildcat. He is a versatile athlete that can provide immediate impact (he needs to, as he has only one year of eligibility left).

Coach Neuheisel was optimistic again after practice today. He said that it was “another great day,” and that he thought the team “got better.” He was impressed with the defensive line, saying that they “made tremendous strides,” but was less complementary of the offensive protection. He feels that the offensive line still needs to mesh, and more importantly, the running backs need to work on picking up rushers. He also added that more will be known once the pads are on, and they can see which running backs are best in pass protection.

As far as the quarterbacks go, Neuheisel stated that Prince was “a bit rusty,” but added that that was to be expected. He has not made a decision yet on the starter, and will not for a while. Neuheisel was a bit derogatory towards Richard Brehaut in the past, saying that it wasn’t okay that he knew only 80% of the offense. This could be a knock on Brehaut’s dedication, as the junior plays baseball in the Spring. Brehaut has shaken off any and all theories regarding this. Whatever the case is, the UCLA QB position battle continues, and will continue, through the camp.

For up-to-the-minute buzz, follow us on Twitter and join our Facebook Fan Page.