From unavailable to available.
UCLA got the status update it wanted regarding its top two offensive players Monday, quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson and running back Zach Charbonnet returning to practice after being sidelined against Alabama State.
A tipoff came when both players wore helmet cameras during the stretching portion of practice, suggesting they wouldn’t just provide footage of themselves standing around.
Once stretches were complete, Thompson-Robinson jogged to the far side of the field and flung a 10-yard pass. He later rolled out and threw longer passes, showing no limitations. He had departed early in the second quarter Saturday after suffering an apparent ankle injury while on the run.
Charbonnet, who was held out of the Alabama State game for unspecified reasons, juked a graduate assistant holding a large blue pad near a simulated line of scrimmage before sprinting about 20 yards and catching a pass. He also appeared to move fluidly during handoff drills.
Coach Chip Kelly would not address the specifics of either player’s situation after UCLA’s 45-7 victory over the Hornets, saying only that both players were “unavailable.” His sidestepping led to speculation that both players might have been held out given the Bruins’ likelihood of prevailing against an overmatched Football Championship Subdivision opponent.
Kelly said Monday that 88 players participated in the game, including walk-ons and third- and fourth-stringers. UCLA (2-0) won so handily that backup quarterbacks Ethan Garbers, Chase Griffin and Chase Artopoeus all played after Thompson-Robinson’s departure.
In a nearly flawless performance, Thompson-Robinson completed nine of 11 passes for 101 yards and a touchdown before leaving.
The Bruins used five running backs with Charbonnet sidelined, generating 220 yards and five touchdowns on the ground, including Garbers’ seven yards and two touchdowns in two carries.
Charbonnet had rushed for 111 yards during UCLA’s season-opening victory against Bowling Green.