2011 UCLA Spring Game: Little Excitement in Lifeless Westwood

Hey folks. Did you know that UCLA is having its annual spring game TODAY? No? You didn't?

Don't feel sorry or out of it for not knowing about it because the Dan Guerrero led UCLA athletic department has not done anything special to tell you about it. I went to the official website just a little while ago to get updated information on the game. I found nothing. After clicking around I finally went to the news release page where I found the following 10 day old press release:

On April 23, UCLA will once again host Lady Bruins Football 101 with head coach Rick Neuheisel. It will take place at 1:30 pm on Spaulding Field. To sign up, click here.

The Spring Game at Drake Stadium will begin at 5:00 pm. At the conclusion of the game, UCLA players and coaches will be available for photographs and autographs for 30 minutes, so bring your cameras.

The game is on less than 5 hours but you will not find anything prominent on the top fold of the home page. At the time this post is getting published (1:09 pm PST, just about 4 hours before the game), there is nothing on the top fold on the homepage page of UCLA's official site with splash headlines on today's game. If you scroll down though you will find a box with some information and details around the game.

There is just no sense of excitement and life around the program. Ralph though continues to do what he can to give us a feel for spring camp through his video. Here is his latest effort to wrap up the camp:

Good to see the coaches and players have some fun. I like seeing guys happy and talking about sense of chemistry. But I am not getting my hopes up because I have seen all of that before.

Some additional football related links and excerpts after the jump.

As you know Ted Miller is in town checking in both UCLA and USC. He wrote down his spring notes from UCLA's camp. For regular followers of Bruin football here on BN and other UCLA sites, Miller's bullet points will not offer anything new but still worth a read.  The main theme in Miller's wrap up post was about new relationships:

Rick Neuheisel and Mike Johnson are on the same page this spring. We know this because the UCLA coach and his new offensive coordinator are both repeating two main ideas.

First, they both point out that the "pistol" offense, which the Bruins adopted last year with decidedly mixed results, ultimately is just a formation. It's a marriage of the traditional shotgun and single-back sets, with the quarterback lining up four yards behind center with the running back behind him.

Did we mention marriage? That might be because that's the second idea: Marrying the pistol running game, which new running game coordinator Jim Mastro was hired away from Nevada to implement, with the passing game that Johnson brings from his years in the NFL.

"Mike is learning the pistol running game from Jim, and Jim is learning passing concepts from Mike," Neuheisel said. "We're trying to marry the two together to create an offense."

Of course, scheme only goes so far. Players matter, too. The Bruins search for a quarterback won't be resolved this spring, while injuries have been an issue on the offensive line.

The point on relationship was also a key theme in Gold's Q&A with both Johnson and new DC coach Tresey:

Mike Johnson: "That is where I've started. Everything in life revolves around relationships. In order for me to take this offense where we want to take it, then I think it starts with building healthy strong relationship built on trust. Built on communication, built on collective responsibility, built on caring, built on pride. All those things are part of the relationship. I believe that before I can discipline them the way I need to discipline them, you need to establish trust and that relationship, so that they know when you come down hard on them, the bond is not broken."

Joe Tresey: "From a philosophical standpoint, we're really trying to build relationships with players and get to know them on personal level as much as possible. The hard thing is I got hired so late, I didn't get much time with them before spring ball. I will get more time with spring ball is out, get to know them on a personal level. And they'll get to know me, too. I think you have to build that trust.

I think the most important thing is building relationships with your players. It's been kind of hectic. I haven't been able to do that as well as I wish I could."

Unfortunately for UCLA fans none of this is anything new. We have been hearing the talk of improved relationships and chemistry every off season involving both and football in last few years. None of that has produced seasons that are up to UCLA standards. So hard to blame UCLA fans not being too excited about any of this right now.

Miller also reiterated a point discussed here before this week: Brett Hundley is not a savior. That should not be a shock or a surprise to savvy and realistic fans either.

To sum it up, not a lot of excitement around spring football this season. Due to lack luster results of last few seasons, the general lack of life around major programs, there is not a lot of energy around UCLA's spring game.  I am sure many diehards here will go down to Westwood today to check in on our young guys despite the athletic department's best efforts not to get the word out there.  If you have notes and observations you want to share, we'd always love to read about them here in the comment threads or in the fanpost section. We love pictures and videos too.

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