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Spaulding Report: UCLA Offense is Making Slow Progress

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The Bruins were back on the IM Field yesterday afternoon for Spring Practice #4.

Soso Jamabo takes a handoff from Josh Rosen during UCLA’s Spring Practice on April 8, 2017.
Joe Piechowski

According to Coach Jim Mora’s post-practice interview, the offense continued to learn yesterday with new verbage and new assignments under offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch. Mora had a good attitude though, and the team seems to be where we’d all expect them to be with so many new faces on the offensive side of the ball. Mora said the team is accepting the new coaching and he is also fired up about the defense.

A new format to practices this year is splitting fields, and it is making a difference. It slows practice down, but more reps are getting done and there are more bodies out on the field at any time.

The media asked specifically about current freshman Darnay Holmes. Mora said, “He made a couple of good plays today in one-on-one. He made a nice tackle on the sideline there. He’s a remarkable athlete”. He is making his way up the depth chart and he’s loved by his teammates.

Mora was also asked about last year and, if you just basically throw the baby out with the bath water, so to speak, and start over. Mora said he evaluated every player at the end of last season thoroughly before this staff was even hired and that “you can’t ever just flush a season.” Mora added, “I think there’s something to be learned from great seasons and things you can learn from not-so-great seasons.” While there are things to be learned from good seasons, there are also things to be learned from bad seasons.

The new running backs coach is UCLA alumni DeShaun Foster and he is already making a difference with the players. He explains things well with the perspective of a former running back and he has brought them a sense of confidence. Foster is demanding but not demeaning, which is extremely important in coaching. Players that are already making noise at the running back position are Bolu Olorunfunmi, Brandon Stevens, and Nate Starks. Soso Jamabo is coming along, but a little slower than the other guys.

I’d say the most important thing to note here is the progress at the running back position. While we’d expect the offense to be making slower progress on the whole with the new staff, the run game was so abysmal last year that improvement is imperative within this unit. It is good to hear that these guys are improving their technique and will hopefully have success against other Pac-12 defenses.

Here is the full video of Coach Mora’s interview. All videos are courtesy of Edward Lewis and the Bruin Sports Report:

New running backs coach DeShaun Foster spoke with the media for the first time after practice:

And, finally, here’s Bolu Olorunfunmi:

Thanks again to Ed Lewis and the Bruin Sports Report for sharing the videos!

Spring practices will continue this week on Wednesday at 7 am, Thursday at 4 pm and Saturday at 9 am. If you’re heading out on Saturday, don’t forget about our Saturday morning breakfast meet-ups.

Go Bruins!