I was initially a bit puzzled by UCLA’s signing and recruiting of the QB position specifically the "Pocket Passer" style QB’s.
Kelly’s offense, as we know from the past, has been predicated on having dual threat - athletic - mobile QB’s running the read option. The signing of DTR out of Bishop Gorman makes total sense and remains true to the style of offense that we think Kelly will run here at UCLA, "Think" being the operative word.
The programs acceptance of Michigan graduate transfer Wilton Speight was a bit odd as he is clearly not built to run the afore mentioned "Read Option" offense given the fact that he is a traditional pocket passer with decent mobility at best.
The prior recruitment of Ryan Hilinski out of Orange Lu, also considered a pocket passer, remains consistently inconsistent to what the Bruin coaching staff is doing at the QB position once again in light of what type of offense Kelly ran at Oregon. I’m not sure how many, if any, PP QB’s Kelly had on his great Oregon teams so maybe someone can shed some light on that stat for us.
What comes to my mind when analyzing this QB recruiting trend is the phrase "Balanced - Options!" It seems like Kelly is keeping his options open as to what variation of offense he will ultimately be "Able" to run.
Unlike Mora who put all his apples in the basket of the failed power run game two seasons ago, with unproven Kennedy P at the helm, it would appear Kelly is open to different options moving into his first year in Westwood based on what and "How" his team can actually execute and perform versus how he "Would Like" them to perform.
If one thing isn’t working he’ll apparently have the horses at QB to change his offensive approach. If injuries raise their head he can switch gears as well. If the offensive line is stronger at one thing versus the other he can adjust.
With this potentially flexible approach he can ultimately play to the strengths of his players and their talents versus attempting to be something they are incapable of being.
Some still might argue that focusing and implementing different offensive approaches might prevent the team from actually perfecting a single scheme or approach. I guess that could be true in some cases but what it comes down to is the coaching staffs ability to convey said concepts and the capacity of the players to grasp those different concepts.
As an offensive coordinator I, albeit at a much lower level, came into every season with small segments of six to seven different offenses in my back pocket which complimented my base or core offensive concept. Coming into camp new assistant coaches as well as people on the periphery of the program would ask me what type of offense I planned to run?
My stock answer was simply that we were going to preferably throw the ball in order to run the ball and after that everything to a degree was on the table including Wing T, Wishbone, Triple Option, Pro Set Split Backs, Diamond Set, Single Back Double Wide aka Double Spread, and Power Eye.
All these offenses were in my private playbook and had been accumulated over the years as I kept segments that worked and deleted sections that did not.
The final determination of what I actually "Put In" was ultimately determined by what type of talent and personnel we had on the field including how we were effected by injuries or transfers.
Having practiced different segments of the different offenses we could change our offensive looks week to week, heck sometimes from half to half keeping opponents off balance as they had prepared for one thing but actually faced something slightly or all together different on game day.
But I digress!
It seems to me that Kelly at the very minimum is keeping his options open while waiting to see what he has to work with from a talent perspective before he commits to any specific offense. His offensive line is going to be a crucial factor as to what he puts or plugs into his player playbook.
We also should remember that he is no doubt bringing some Pro offensive concepts in with him, Pro concepts that I’m sure he would like to prove could work here at the college level even though he may not have had great success with them at the NFL level.
I guess the moral of my post is simply that no one knows exactly what type of offense we may see come September, maybe not even Kelly for that matter.
My guess is that DTR will be running the read option, or variation of the read option, as a true Freshman.
But one thing is sure, Kelly has a plethora of offensive options in his back pocket, and in the words of Baretta, "You can take dat to da bank."