Outside linebacker Keisean Lucier-South, UCLA’s leader in sacks last year, is not expected to participate in any training camp practices due to academic issues, but the redshirt senior returned to the field Wednesday on the sideline.
Lucier-South, who missed half of the spring practices due to academic issues, was part coach, part cheerleader for the outside linebackers during practice Wednesday. Dressed in UCLA sweats, he offered advice and encouragement during individual drills. It was the first time since March he was seen on the field at an official team practice.
When asked of the former five-star prospect at Pac-12 media day, head coach Chip Kelly said the team is “hoping (to get Lucier-South back) after Game 3.” If the pass-rushing specialist sticks to the timeline, he would return in time for UCLA’s conference opener Sept. 21 at Washington State.
Lucier-South’s loss hampers a defense that tied for last in the Pac-12 in sacks with 15 last year. He had team-highs in sacks (4.0) and tackles for loss (11.5) last season.
Back in action
Linebacker Josh Woods and defensive back Kenny Churchwell III returned to full participation in practice after suffering season-ending knee injuries during training camp last year.
Woods, who has not played in a game since 2017 when he suffered a shoulder injury in October, is listed at 6-foot-2, 240 pounds, five pounds heavier than he was last year. With the sleeves of his white practice jersey rolled up, Woods flaunted muscular arms and ran through drills with outside linebackers while wearing a knee brace on his right leg.
When asked at Pac-12 media day of how Woods looked after recovering from multiple torn ligaments in his knee, linebacker Krys Barnes smiled.
“He looks like himself,” Barnes said.
Receiver Theo Howard was limited in a yellow noncontact jersey with a cast covering the lower part of his right arm and wrist. The senior is UCLA’s leading returning receiver with 51 catches, 677 yards and four touchdowns last season.
Fellow receiver Dymond Lee, who was sidelined with an ankle injury during spring camp, was also in a yellow noncontact jersey Wednesday.