Bumped. - BN Eds.
Full Disclosure: These aren’t solely my ideas but have been cherry picked from various people/sources.
We’ve heard all off-season and going on almost 4 years now how CRN wanted to increase "competition" to get better. We’ve heard the coaches say that if you "produce", you will play. We’ve heard a lot of other "coach-speak" that I won’t bother you with. Personally, I’ve pretty much tuned them out because I don’t see them backing it up.
Is there really competition? Are the most productive players playing? Does our depth chart reflect innovation & outside of the box thinking or is it the same old conservative/cowardly/vanilla/risk adverse approach that is plaguing UCLA Football?
There was a lot of talk about the "competition" between Riley and Hilliard for the SS position. The competition was so fierce the coaches can’t seem to make up their mind. The first 3 depth charts has this "or" for the SS position. Unless I’m mistaken, I’ve yet to see Riley start a game. If the competition was so close that the coaches believe a "or" is necessitated on the depth chart and the guy starting continually tries to blow people up instead of making a sure tackle (see Michael Hayes), why not give Riley a shot? Riley made a couple of nice plays breaking up passes in the SJ State game if I recall correctly. So...was/is there really a "competition"?
If you end up with 100 yards receiving but drop a couple of passes, is that being productive? If you end up with 10 tackles but these tackles are made 10 yards downfield because you’re getting pushed around, is that being productive?
There is another component to production. If you never get the opportunity, how can anyone determine if that player can be productive or not?
When you make a mistake at UCLA....buttocks meets bench. When DeAnthony Thomas fumbles twice in his first game, Chip doesn’t sit him on the bench destroying his confidence. Instead, he makes sure he gives Thomas plenty of opportunities to redeem himself and truly determine whether he can be "productive". Meanwhile, James who drew rave reviews for being a "joystick" gets 1 carry against SJ State and Carroll is wasting away. You think Chip could find a way to utilize players like James or Carroll?
Our depth chart (page 15 of this PDF release) reflects the conservative/cowardly/vanilla/risk adverse approach that is plaguing UCLA Football. To me, I see a lot of deference for seniority instead of playing the guys with the most upside. Yes, there will be mistakes made but if you don’t allow them to play through them, they’ll never develop and reach their full potential.
If Edison cannot hold the LOS and is getting blown off the ball, why not try a D. Carter or Epenesa? How about moving Datone or Owa to DT to get 3 of our best down lineman (Marsh) on the field at the same time? If Holmes continually fails to get pressure on the QB, why not play Tepa who seems to constantly be around the football? If Westgate continually gets thrown around like a ragdoll, why not play Kendricks whom the coaches are supposedly "raving" about? How about employing Carroll or James on punt returns?
I smell a ton of "safe" in the depth chart. And that is exactly what I see in our style of play when I tune in to watch UCLA Football. I also see a ton of talent/potential that is not being fully utilized. Why recruit these athletes if you’re not going to utilize them? Unfortunately, I don’t see CRN or the staff devising creative ways of taking advantage of the talent we have because he is on the hottest of seats. The time to have developed them has passed.