With just days to go till the first day of Summer Training camp, it appears that the beat writers are finally gearing up for football. The current fad is about asking "questions." Everyone has questions about the UCLA football program. None of them are really original as we have gone through most of them while we were going through depth charts. Still gives us something to talk about during these dog days of summer.
Blair Angulo from ESPNLA posed his "five camp-related questions that need some clarification before kick-off at Kansas State on Sept. 4." I think his question regarding Darius Bell is intriguing:
To what extent will newcomer Darius Bell be utilized?
This answer hinges on whether UCLA's new "revolver" offensive package is really meant for quarterback Kevin Prince. Speculation about the alignment's intent began to build when Bell, a transfer from San Francisco City College, was rumored to be coming to Westwood. The brother of former Bruin tailback Khalil Bell combined for 2,733 all-purpose yards last year -- so he may be an option in the run-oriented scheme.
Additionally, Neuheisel may redshirt backup Richard Brehaut if Bell thrives and shows he can handle whatever offensive coordinator Norm Chow throws at him.
Well, I think wondering whether the "revolver" offensive package is meant for Prince is kind of silly. As Norm Chow mentioned we actually ran that offensive package number of times last year. The formation is more designed to boost the UCLA running game and it also fits the type of QB who is fairly mobile. I think lot of reporters are really underestimating Prince's ability to move around (which he clearly displayed last season). For us, the biggest concern is Prince staying healthy. While football is a dangerous sport where injuries happen, Prince just needs to make sure he takes necessary basic precautions to minimize his chances to get hurt.
As for Bell, I don't think it will be a surprise at all if Chow and Rick Neuheisel designs special packages in which both Prince and Bell are in the game at the same time. When you have two guys in there who both poses dual threat, it will put the opposing defense even more on their heels. Of course all of this depends on Bell picking up the offensive scheme and fitting in. We will see how the camp plays out.
Following Angulo, Gold also posted his five "burning questions" (yep, they are all so original) heading into summer camp (we will just call it summer camp from hereonout because calling it "Fall" camp in August just sounds silly):
Will the Revolver offense work? A quick caveat: While I am just as culpable as all the other media members, I think we've made a bit too much out of the WHOLE NEW OFFENSE!!!
Norm Chow has tried to hammer it home a thousand times and people (again, me included) just don't want to listen - UCLA is not reinventing the wheel here. Yes, the Revolver will look a little different, but it's not as if the team is going into the Wing-T.
The key, as Rick Neuheisel pointed out at the recent Pac-10 media day, is understanding when to deploy the creative avenues gained from the Revolver formation. Don't expect Kevin Prince to be Michael Vick, but yes, he'll be incorporated into the running game more freely.
Crystal Ball: People will quickly realize that the offense is pretty simple, and the questions will stop by Week 3.
I doubt the questions will stop because it takes a while for reporters to understand and take in "simple" concepts. Still appreciate Gold's recognition that he along with rest of the tradmed. have made a little too much out of the "revolver" package in our offense.
What most of these guys have missed is that CRN has had a history of adapting and adjusting his offense to fit the skillset of the players in his team. We pointed this out earlier this summer in a small fanpost pointing to a nugget from John Berkwotiz of UWDawgPound, who is very familiar with CRN adopting his offense to fit the natural talents of his players. Berkwotiz compared installing the revolver package this season to what CRN did with Marques Tuiasosopo up in Seattle. As mentioned if Prince has half the success of what Tui experienced during his Rose Bowl Championship season, we are going to be in good shape.
Speaking of Prince, if you want to get a sense of what he and his team-mates have been up to this summer, then just take a look at this 8 minute video from Joe Fauria that was posted over at Jersey Chasers. Joe takes us through what he and his team-mates have been going through summer before the training camp:
It's pretty eye opening stuff. This kids get up before 6 am and don't get home from workouts, classes, practices, and study time until late at night.
Also, Kevin Prince looks like a monster. He looks like a LB and it was pretty telling how he was all business while heading into those 7-on-7 workouts. I think with Prince and Kia leading the offense, and Rahim and Akeem leading the D, this is perhaps the most focused set of leaders we have had in a long time. Hopefully all their hard work and dedication will start paying off starting Monday. They deserve it.