The UCLA Bruins resumed practice yesterday in preparation for this week’s trip to Oregon.
Prior to practice, head coach Chip Kelly met with the media. He confirmed that Dorian Thompson-Robinson was expected to return to practice yesterday. But that’s all Kelly would offer in terms of DTR’s status for the Oregon game.
Kelly has been steadfast this season about not discussing who the starting quarterback would be each week and yesterday was no exception. But Kelly, who normally opts for not commenting on the situation by saying something like “Well, we’ve got more days of training this week and (fill in the player in question here) could turn his ankle and not be able to play.” took things to an even further extreme yesterday. Kelly said:
I’m not a hypothetical guy. So, there’s no reason to make any predictions on this or that. He could be 100%, but the rest of the team could have bubonic plague and we wouldn’t be able to play at all.
Kelly also spoke about the tackling and catching problems the team had against Utah. “I don’t think they’re bad habits,” Kelly said of the Bruins’ bad tackling. “It’s just a fundamental game and you’ve got to do things fundamentally the right way. [It’s] the same thing with catching the football.” When Ben Bolch of the LA Times asked how you go about fixing that in practice, Kelly responded, “You continue to emphasize the fundamentals of what you do and practice on a daily basis.”
With the Bruins heading to Eugene this week, Kelly was asked to talk about going back to Oregon for the first time since he left the Ducks. He said:
Beautiful country. Love the place. I had a great run there for the six years that we were there. They were awesome people at the university and in the community. So, I’m excited to go back.
But, when asked if there was any place he planned to go while there, his response was “Autzen Stadium.” When asked if there was anyone he was planning to meet or have dinner with while he was there, he dismissed that, too, by saying the Bruins will return home immediately following the game.
Meanwhile, after practice, punter Stefan Flintoft and receiver Theo Howard also spoke with the media. Flintoft spoke about a host of different topics including what it feels like to lead the Pac-12 in punting, whether he gets recognized on campus and what the team has done differently in the punting game this season.
Theo Howard was asked about what he does to help his teammates get past the dropped passes which seemed to be a problem against Utah. Howard explained:
They’re all catches and all plays that we seem to make in practice. We see them making them in different games. So, it’s not a matter of they don’t have hands or they’re not very good at catching the ball. It’s just a matter of concentrating and taking advantage of the opportunities as they come to you.
Thanks to UCLA Athletics for sharing the video of the player interviews.
Finally today, the Pac-12 has announced a kickoff time for next week’s game at Arizona State. UCLA announced it on Twitter.