This morning, UCLA Football held the team’s seventh Spring Practice. One of the first drills of the day was the biggest Oklahoma drill I’ve seen the team run. In the past, the team has tended to set up one pair of boundaries allowing one group at a time to see who wins between the offense and the defense.
Well, this morning, they set up eight different lanes. This allowed the team to have more players get turns in during this portion of practice. Sure, they weren’t all going at the same time, but having so many different lanes allowed for quick repetition by the next lane.
I posted a Facebook Live video of the drill.
UCLA Football is starting off practice today with a big Oklahoma drillPosted by Bruins Nation on Saturday, April 15, 2017
Next up, we have video of one-on-one drills between the offensive line and the defensive line. Overall, the offensive line, in general, seemed to be doing a decent job blocking the defensive guys, but, take a look for yourself and leave your opinion in the comments.
In general, Coach Mora is pleased with the progress the team has made at this point. In his post-practice press conference, he mentioned that Monday wasn’t the best practice, but he was pleased that the team made good progress in the other three practices including today’s practice. “It’s typical for the offense, even an experienced offense, to be a little bit behind initially when you go into Spring ball or a training camp situation, just because of the timing of things, but what we saw this week especially in the last three practices, was our offense just take a big step forward in their execution and their understanding of what they're supposed to do, in the fundamentals of the positions, and in their production on the field,” said Mora. “To me, it’s just ‘Are we making progress? Are we moving in the right direction?’ and it’s very evident to me after several practices that we are.”
He also mentioned that Eldridge Massington has been stepping up the past few practices. “He's doing a really good job of keeping himself on the right track in terms of health and, therefore, he's more productive on the field and his confidence is growing and, as his confidence grows, the quarterbacks’ confidence grows in him and you just see a great synergy,” said Mora.
He also mentioned that DeChaun Holiday has a shoulder sublaxation and is going to miss at least the next week and possibly the rest of Spring and that Bolu Olorunfunmi suffered a stinger in today’s practice. At this point, it doesn’t look like Devin Asiasi will be able to play this season due to the transfer rule, but Mora explained that it’s something that Angus McClure is working on. He also added that UCLA is looking at either graduate transfers and/or “dynamic walk-ons” at fullback and offensive line to add some depth to the team.
Mora indicated that he hadn’t had a chance yet to digest the new NCAA Early Signing Period that was passed on Friday. The new Early Signing Period will allow teams to sign players during a three-day timeframe right before Christmas. This year, that period will begin on December 20th. The new policy was passed by the NCAA Division 1 Council which UCLA AD Dan Guerrero is a member of. Mora did not indicate how Guerrero voted.
“I haven’t sat down and thought about how it will affect us,” Mora said. “Right now, I just need to focus on this team.”
Mora also cracked a few jokes at his dad’s expense. The elder Mora was in attendance at practice today. He was talking about other NCAA changes which passed yesterday which will add a tenth coach and will eliminate two-a-day practices in Fall camp and how “old school guys” like his dad would react to changes like that. Be sure to check it out starting at the 10:20 mark. But, Mora stressed the importance of putting safety first, which is the driving force behind the elimination of 2-a-days, so that parents will want their kids to play football in the future.
UCLA’s practice schedule for the coming week will be the same as this past week. The team returns to the field on Monday at 4 pm, Wednesday at 7 am, Thursday at 4 pm and Saturday at 9 am. And, If you’re heading out on Saturday, don’t forget about our Saturday morning breakfast meet-ups.