Here we go. This is our last football-less Friday for this summer. Practice gets started on Monday but football related activities will get started this weekend in Westwood. What's Bruin Blog, has some details on what the guys - especially the incoming freshmen - will be going through before pre-season summer camp gets started on Monday:
The newcomers will check into camp on Saturday afternoon. That will be followed by a dinner for the newcomers, their families and the coaching staff.
On Sunday, the newcomers will participate in several meetings, including compliance, training room and equipment. On the same afternoon, the returning players will be checking into camp. That evening, there will be a team dinner and administrative and football meetings.
On Monday, the newcomers will have photos taken in full uniform in the morning. Football meetings begin at 9:30 am followed by a walk-thru at 11 am.
Head coach Rick Neuheisel will meet with the media at 11:30 am and from noon to 1:30 pm, the players and coaches will participate in Media Day, doing various interviews, shooting TV freeze-frames and also taping material for use on the Rose Bowl video board.
At 3:00 pm, the first practice will begin. During the first four days, the squad will be split with one group participating beginning at 3:00 pm with stretch. The entire team will be together at 4:25 for special teams and the second half of the team will practice beginning at 4:50. Practice will end at approximately 6:00 pm.
UCLA utilized the split practice during the first four days last year as well. This format gives all of the players more practice reps opportunities, giving the coaches more video to study
We have posted practice schedules here before. If you need to check it out again go over here and mark down the dates. As noted by the official site, while you are out there, make sure you have no contact with any prospective student-athletes or their families who might show up at Spaulding. In other words, stay away from Brett Hundley or any other recruit who might show up at practices in the coming weeks. More after the jump.
Jon Gold followed up his thoughts on offense with his "burning questions" on defense. The issues he raise are nothing new for folks here on BN. However, his question on Chuck Bullough is worth amplifying:
Will Chuck Bullough become more aggressive in the blitz scheme?
Really, the same criticism of the UCLA offense was leveled on the defense last year.
UCLA was not aggressive enough in its blitz packages and teams capitalized with big plays at opportune times. Chuck Bullough, in his first year as defensive coordinator, at times struggled with adjustments, and teams feasted.
Part of that had to do with a slow linebackers and a defensive line that, outside of Price, had trouble getting to the quarterback. Package that with a defensive backfield featuring two new starters, and Bullough simply did not have the luxury of sending the hounds. His rotation of Ayers from linebacker to defensive end was brilliant, though, and the results were very favorable.
Crystal Ball: With six new starters on defense, Bullough won't exactly turn into Rex Ryan, but expect a more aggressive defense.
Well, let's hope Bullough doesn't have to wait till the later part of the season to figure out how someone like Ayers could be unleashed as a hybrid DE/LB. I think we can expect our defense to ride a little bit of a roller coast early. However, he will have some pretty talented pieces to work with as we discussed during our defensive depth chart analysis.
It might take a game or two for guys like Graham, Tepa, Owa and the new DTs to get acclimated. Yet, we'd hope by the middle of this season these guys are flying all over the field in an aggressive scheme making lives of opposing offenses miserable during conference season. How Bullough develop our young talent this season will be one of the key storylines of CRN's third season in Westwood.
How tough is UCLA's schedule this year?
Neuheisel: It has been regarded as one of the top two or three toughest in the country. You've got Bill Snyder back at Kansas State, he's had another year to recruit, and he's one of the great junior college recruiters in the country. Then you have a very, very talented Stanford team with their quarterback, Andrew Luck. Then Houston, with [quarterback] Case Keenum. I was hoping he was going to be in the NFL Draft last year but he decided against that. So that's a very tough challenge.
Imagine going from playing Stanford's offense, that ran the power twelve straight times against USC last year, to a team that won't even have a back in the backfield. It's a unique challenge for our coaching staff and for our players, but the good thing about a schedule like that is that it gets everybody's attention. It's not hard to motivate them in the weight room during the summer months, and our guys are eager to get going.
So are we coach.