SAN BERNARDINO — Wide receiver Devin Lucien suffered a head injury late in Tuesday’s practice, and was taken to the hospital in an ambulance.
Lucien was carted off into the ambulance with a neck brace to immobilize the area. Coach Jim Mora said the extent of the injury was unknown.
Mora said, from what he’s heard, it looked like the redshirt junior hit his head on the ground. Mora did not know whether or not Lucien lost consciousness, he said.
In the post-practice interview session, Mora looked visibly shaken up, his thoughts with his player.
“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s hard to be ecstatic about anything right now ’cause you know you’re just thinking about Devin Lucien.”
However, Mora did say Lucien was “in very good hands,” as the wideout will be in the care of UCLA physician Dr. John DiFiori.
“John DiFiori is one of the finest physicians in America, and has amazing grasp on head injuries so (Devin) couldn’t be with a better person than Dr. DiFiori,” Mora said.
Dog days of camp
As UCLA concluded its 10th practice of 16 in San Bernardino, things have begun to slow down, with the grind of a long training camp away from Westwood settling in.
In the last few practices, there have been scuffles, bouts of minor injuries and a general aura of fatigue.
Mora has called his guys out for lack of energy and hustle much more in the three practices between Monday and Tuesday than he did during all of last week’s seven sessions combined.
In yesterday evening’s practice, things went so far that a frustrated Mora made his players restart practice, disappointed with his team’s effort in walkthroughs just 15 minutes in.
“We’re getting over the wall,” said sophomore linebacker Deon Hollins, talking about whether his team was hitting a wall at this stage of camp. “It’s been pretty chippy, guys are pretty much running off fumes so we just have to … get past it.”
In particular, the situation has been especially hard for Mora, who’s had to balance the grind on his worn players while still continuing to push them for improvement.
“It’s really hard. … I mean it’s one of the hardest parts of coaching,” he said. “You know where you want to go, and you know what it’s going to take to get there, but you also have to have some empathy for the fact that they’re tired and worn out. They’ve been giving us everything that they have. So you have to find that balance.”
One particularly impressive part of Tuesday’s practice was watching freshman inside linebacker Kenny Young take part in one-on-one drills, where linebackers were pitted against running backs.
Young pummeled running back after running back, showing raw power and speed.
On one play, he stuffed redshirt junior running back Steven Manfro, his legs crumbling beneath him. For good measure, during the tackle, Young surged again, knocking Manfro to the ground.
“Kenny Young is full of energy and he’s extremely excited to play,” said redshirt senior inside linebacker Eric Kendricks. “We’re happy to have him.”
Young took more first team defensive reps Tuesday, and looks to be a strong candidate to start at inside linebacker alongside Kendricks come opening day.
Brendel injury update
Mora said redshirt junior center Jake Brendel, who was injured in yesterday’s practice, was diagnosed with a sprained MCL, which wasn’t serious.
Brendel will likely sit out the next few days, if not the rest of the week.