So...are you ready for some football?
Or are you just so pissed off at our basketball clown show that you would watch bass fishing to distract yourself?
Worry not, fellow Bruins. For the moment, UCLA is indeed a football school, and the new season brings challenges but more confidence than we've had in 10+ years. At least, that's my feeling going into this season.
We have a lot of questions, but there is definitely a comforting feeling when it comes to continuity. The 2012 season met expectations but it did not end well even though it was UCLA's best since 2005, as unbelievable as that sounds.
In any case, it sounds as though the players and coaches are more than eager to get going with practice. Here is Coach Mora after the first day of practice, followed by some notes:
You can watch the entire video for details, but here are some nuggets I found of interest:
AS you would expect, practice was a lot different than last year, with a better pace and tempo. Mora even said that it was "fun". What's that?! The coaches are trying to get improvements every day and it seems much easier this time around as the players understand the expectations and are therefore more efficient and make fewer mistakes. The coaches have jumped into the full training regimen as there is now no reason to ease into it.
Mora talks about four really good players coming in the summer, but does not name them. Clearly he expects them to be in the mix for starting roles so things will change again once fall camp starts. He mentioned specifically that they are a bit light on the OL and secondary, so they will likely fill in those gaps.
Dietrich Riley is back with the team full time and no longer on the practice squad. For now, he seems to be doing well but obviously, the true test will come when contact starts. Wishing him the best.
Fabian Moreau is still dealing with his switch to corner, which was a bit of a shock to him last year. However, he has the size, speed and lengths to play that position and this year looks even more natural in that spot.
Jeremy Castro was essentially playing in his first practice, but good to have him finally on board.
Kylie Fitts has also joined the team and is enrolled in school. Mora said Kylie told him he still needs to adjust to the size, speed and tempo of practice but all in all he did fine. He will have a couple of classes today so Mora was chuckling to himself about how Kylie would feel by the end of the day.
Eldridge Massington will wear the read jersey (i.e. no contact) throughout spring. He is still recovering from his knee injury and the coaches want him to get his confidence back while he gets the mental aspect of practice down. They will then unleash him in San Bernardino.
Likewise for Ellis "F'in" McCarthy, who had his knee scoped at the end of the season, looking for him to get stronger before going all out.
Mora seems to have utmost confidence in Brett Hundley, said he will pick up right where he left off. His chemistry with the receivers is much better and he looks in command and in control, projecting an aura of "hey, let's go" as Mora put it. Unlike last year, there will be no competition for the starting spot as it is clear who that will be, so the established chemistry will be very helpful.
Meanwhile...there is no punter on the roster yet. Anyone available? If I was on campus I would totally go help out! But seriously, I hope this doesn't come back to haunt us, we need good special teams play.
That's all folks. The season will start before you know it, and remember, the spring game is April 27.