Building a winning program takes time.
That much was evident watching yesterday’s UCLA Spring Game where the big takeaway was that the team is still a work in progress and will probably continue to be up until September 1st when the Bruins host Cincinnati at the Rose Bowl.
There was a lot of sloppy play.
Not only did the quarterbacks throw three interceptions, but there were numerous dropped snaps and one snap that went for a safety after long snapper Johnny Den Bleyker launched one over his punter’s head into the end zone.
There was a targeting call, too. Shea Pitts was called for it after a hit on QB Austin Burton. While he was technically ejected by the officials, he was allowed to continue to play because they needed him to play due to a limited number of players at defensive back.
Afterwards, UCLA Head Coach Chip Kelly met with the media. Overall, he seemed pleased with the way things went, but refrained from praising any players specifically, saying he needed to view the film of the game.
He was glad to have the quarterbacks go live. “In the NFL, you have four preseason games so you don’t have to do it in practice, but they do it in a game.” Kelly said. “So, I think you’re not really gonna be able to tell what your quarterback is like until you go live. It’s a different sense and different feelings when they know they’re not going to get hit, but I thought those guys handled it well for the first time.”
Kelly also mentioned that the coaching staff doesn’t weight one training session more heavily than another. “Everything’s an evaluation. So, one day doesn’t trump another day,” Kelly said. “It’s consistent over time what is asked of them and then you get a full opportunity to take a look at everything that the players do, not just one day is more important than another day. That’s not our mentality and never has been.”
Theo Howard spoke a little bit about his touchdown catch while also talking about what the team’s summer workouts without the coaching staff will look like.
Andre James started off talking about the transition to the uptempo offense. During the Pac-12 Network broadcast, they spoke about how James had started what they are calling “O-Line Sundays” to help the linemen bond together. In his interview, James explained a little about how it started.
He also explained how Coach Kelly uses circles (good) and squares (bad) during film sessions to highlight certain things players are doing.
Adarius Pickett reflected on his other Spring Games as well as how the White and Blue teams were selected.
Krys Barnes, who intercepted a pass from Devon Modster during the game, expounded on the circles and squares that Andre James spoke about.
Thanks again to Thuc Nhi Nguyen for all of these videos!
In closing, it’s worth noting that the final score was White 16, Blue 10. Austin Burton probably had the best day among the four quarterbacks. He completed the two longest passes of the day — a 58-yard pass to Damian Alloway and a 34-yarder to Demetric Felton. Theo Howard and Chase Cota each caught a TD pass.
But the thing to remember here is that Chip Kelly is just getting started.
UCLA Football now takes a three and a half month break until Fall Camp opens in August.