Spring Football Begins On April 3

March 28, 2001

On Tuesday, April 3, UCLA will begin Spring Football Practice at Spaulding Field. The Bruins will have 15 practices, culminating in the annual Spring Scrimmage on April 28. UCLA's practice sessions will usually run from 4:00-6:15 p.m. and are scheduled for April 3, 4, 5, 9, 10, 11, 12, 16, 17, 18, 19, 23, 24, 26, 28 (1:00 - 3:00 p.m.).

UCLA returns 15 starters - seven on offense and eight on defense - plus both kickers from last year's squad. In addition, the Bruins have two new coordinators - running backs coach Kelly Skipper on offense and safeties coach Phil Snow, who spent the last seven years at Arizona State, on defense.

'We're excited about the beginning of Spring Practice,' said head coach Bob Toledo. 'We have an experienced team and the players have worked extremely hard during the off-season conditioning program.

'I'm looking forward to watching our defensive unit during Spring drills. Phil Snow has added some new wrinkles to the defense that I feel our veteran players are going to enjoy. We are going to have an aggressive defense this season.

'Offensively, Kelly Skipper has made some modifications since taking over the coordinator role. We will continue to strive for balance between our running and passing game but we will emphasize certain ascpects of the playbook to take advantage of the talent of our returning players,' Toledo said.

'Some of our objectives during Spring Practice include finding seven new starters, including a second go-to receiver behind Brian Poli-Dixon and a free safety to pair with (strong safety) Marques Anderson as our last line of defense.'

Several Bruins will not be participating in the four-week session. Tailback DeShaun Foster, who rushed for 1,037 yards a year ago, will have surgery on the little finger of his left hand on April 3.

Fullbacks Ed Ieremia-Stansbury (left) and Matt Stanley (right) both had reconstructive shoulder surgery in early January. Linebacker Ryan Nece underwent reconstructive surgery on his left shoulder in early January and arthroscopic surgery for torn labrum in his right shoulder in March. Defensive end Rusty Williams also had reconstructive surgery on his right shoulder in December, prior to the Sun Bowl.

Defensive tackle Sean Phillips is expected to have surgery on his left ankle on Monday, April 2.

Quarterback Cory Paus has recovered from his broken collarbone and has been cleared for full participation. However, he will not have contact during the practices. Middle linebacker Robert Thomas is healing as expected from a mid-foot sprain and small fracture in his left foot but will be limited during Spring drills. Quarterback Ryan McCann, who had in-season surgery on his left shoulder (torn labrum) will participate on a limited basis.

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