In another special teams-heavy session, one major absence stood out.
UCLA football returned for its seventh fall camp practice Saturday morning, once again filling most of the 20-minute period open to the media with special teams work. Starting kicker and punter Nicholas Barr-Mira was banged up and unable to participate, though, shaking up the unit in those early periods.
Barr-Mira was the only new addition to the injured group, but since he had been running as a dual-starter, his loss is a two-for-one. When he was seen jogging on the side during warmups, it appeared he had suffered a lower body injury, possibly to his groin.
The rest of the injured players remained largely the same – linebacker Ale Kaho, offensive tackle Josh Carlin, receiver Bradley Schlom, running back Deshun Murrell, defensive back Croix Stewart, running back Brian Kowall and defensive back Kamari Ramsey.
Notably missing from that group was freshman tight end Carsen Ryan, who was back on the field for drills for the first time since the spring. An injury held him out of the final few weeks of spring camp, and he missed the first full week of fall action as well, but it is unknown if that was due to one prolonged injury or two more minor ones.
Ryan was wearing a compression sleeve on his right leg but moved normally when he was out on the field during his kickoff blocking reps.
Without Barr-Mira, RJ Lopez was the No. 1 kickoff specialist, while Joseph Firebaugh Jr. got second-team reps. Punter Chase Barry got a few reps of his own towards the end of the period as well.
Kazmeir Allen returned to the kick return group after not taking part Friday, and he was backed up by running back Keegan Jones, receiver Kam Brown and receiver Jadyn Marshall. Receiver Ryan Cragun, receiver Logan Loya, receiver Titus Mokiao-Atimalala, running back Christian Grubb, running back Zach Charbonnet and receiver-turned-defensive back DJ Justice took turns as the second man back.
While the offensive drills were once again restricted to the south field, largely out of the media's view, there were some passing drills that were visible.
Quarterbacks Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Ethan Garbers, Justyn Martin and Chase Artopoeus were lined up on the goal line, lofting 30-yard deep balls down the right sideline. Thompson-Robinson and Martin appeared to complete all of their passes, and Martin took most of his reps after Thompson-Robinson and seemed to be purposely copying some of his mechanics.
Garbers had two passes fall incomplete due to drops by Cragun and receiver Matt Sykes, while Artopoeus overthrew his man a couple times.
Artopoeus is in line to be the scout team quarterback once again this season – he may even earn a scholarship by the end of camp, considering he's held that role for four seasons now – while Garbers, Martin and Chase Griffin will be vying for the backup job. Based on what's been on display from the offense so far, Garbers appears to be leading that battle, as he did in 2021.