Freshman Randall Carroll found an able and willing instructor at UCLA even before classes began.
Carroll, a speedy wide receiver from Los Angeles Cathedral High, sought out Terrence Austin this summer to tap the senior's experience. The tutoring has helped. Carroll is on the verge of securing one of the receiver spots, with the Bruins expected to rotate five at the position.
Austin and Taylor Embree are locks for the position, with Nelson Rosario and Gavin Ketchum expected to be in that mix. Carroll appears to be holding off fellow freshman Ricky Marvray for the final spot.
"He's shown he can play the position a little better than was advertised," wide receivers coach Reggie Moore said. "He has willingness and is eager to learn." So much so that he went to Austin to glean some of his experience.
"I'm not really one to look up to people a lot older than me, I look up to peers," Carroll said. "I had an interest in Terrence because of the way he runs his routes. I called him this summer and got in some extra practice."
The lesson plan being?
"Patience is the main thing," Carroll said. "You got to have patience to run your routes well, which I didn't have at first. I was doing everything like a robot, too textbook. He helped me smooth that out."
As an example, Carroll burned Alterraun Verner, the Bruins' top-flight cornerback, for a touchdown pass during seven-on-seven drills Tuesday.
"Once he gets technique down, and understands defenses a little better, he'll be real dangerous," Austin said.
Carroll is a two-time California state champion at 100 and 200 meters, which has had UCLA defensive backs playing well off him during drills. But it's not only his speed.
"He's got more savvy, more football IQ than I think is normally attributed to track people," Coach Rick Neuheisel said.
Holmes gets a look
With defensive end Reginald Stokes to have arthroscopic surgery on his right knee for torn cartilage, redshirt freshman Damien Holmes has had his workload increased.
Holmes (6 feet 3, 261 pounds) was already ticketed to back up Korey Bosworth at strong-side defensive end, but is now working behind Datone Jones on the weak side. He could pick up a good portion of the playing time set aside for Stokes, who will be sidelined at least half the season.
"With the way offenses move their tight ends around, that doesn't matter as much now," defensive line coach Todd Howard said. "We've been having Damien play both sides.
"He's another year older, he's bigger and he's had a year of development. I told him he has to be a guy for us."
The Bruins went through several sets of grueling drills, including bear walks and rolling on the ground for 50 yards, as punishment for one freshman player missing a meeting.
"I wanted the guys to understand to make the jump we plan to make as a program we cannot let the little things slide," Neuheisel said.
Strong safety Tony Dye sat out the last part of practice after blacking out following a hit on fullback Chane Moline and was to undergo tests for a concussion. . . . Freshman fullback Jayson Allmond, who left practice because of dizziness Monday, and tight end Logan Paulsen (hamstring) returned to practice.