The UCLA Football team returned to Spring Practice yesterday after a two-week break for Winter Finals and Spring Break.
In his pre-practice interview, Bruins coach Chip Kelly was unfazed about the loss of KJ Carta-Samuels. “We’ll figure it out,” Kelly said. “Right now, we’re going with what we’ve got.”
Overall, Kelly’s media session was brief, lasting about a minute and a half with most of the questions focused on Carta-Samuels and the quarterback situation.
Kelly also said that not having Carta-Samuels doesn’t change anything because he had never been with the team.
While the most highly anticipated addition wasn’t there yesterday, there were still some new faces who have enrolled for Spring Quarter. Junior college transfers Tyree Thompson and Je’Vari Anderson donned a Bruin practice uniform for the time as did early enrollee Chase Cota.
Cota was so excited about enrolling at UCLA that, on Monday, he tweeted out a photo of his student ID card.
First day of college ✔️ @UCLAFootball pic.twitter.com/BBzN4LCWNG— Chase Cota (@ccota_) April 3, 2018
But, the threesome weren’t the only players taking to the practice field for the first time under Chip Kelly. Will Lockett and Octavius Spencer were on the field for the first time this Spring.
There does seem to be at least a slight difference of opinion as to why these two guys weren’t practicing during the first two weeks of Spring Practice. According to an LA Times article by Steve Galluzzo, they “did not participate in the first two weeks of practice for disciplinary reasons.” However, Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News writes “Spencer, who was not enrolled at UCLA for at least the latter portion of the winter quarter, re-enrolled in time for spring to return to the practice in April.”
Regardless of the reason or reasons that Lockett and Spencer were missing, it’s good to have these two experienced guys back with the team as they will provide needed depth in the secondary.
Galluzzo’s article also provides one of the most in-depth injury reports that’s been publicly available. Galluzzo writes:
Michael Alves, who missed the first six practices, was back from an undisclosed injury to do several early drills and fellow offensive lineman Jax Wacaser also practiced, but tight end Caleb Wilson remains out with a foot injury.
Wearing yellow jerseys and limited in their participation while recovering from injuries were defensive backs Colin Samuel and Keyon Riley, linebackers Lokeni Toailoa and Josh Woods, defensive linemen Greg Rogers and Rick Wade, defensive end Jaelan Phillips and Loyola High walk-on linebacker Winston Anawalt.
After practice, Dymond Lee discussed the differences in practice from the old coaching staff to the new one. He said that Coach Dougherty, one of the few holdovers from last year’s staff, has helped make it easier for the receivers.
He spoke about how hard he’s working and what he’s working on. “There’s nothing that can’t be improved,” Lee said. “Speed, hands, knowledge of the game...everything can be improved.”
Meanwhile, Krys Barnes spoke about helping integrate the JC transfers into the defense. He also spoke about what he did over the break.
I just wanted to come in where I left off. I didn’t want to come in feeling like I wasn’t doing anything over the break. I was on a break working and still in my playbook. So, I came out here today and it showed and it showed a lot of people that we all in our playbooks. We’re out there. We’re ready to grind. We’re ready to get better. And, I came out here ready to fly around.
Thanks to Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News for sharing the interview videos from yesterday.
The Bruins return to practice tomorrow morning at 8 am.