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UCLA Football: Chip Kelly Calls Penalties “Very Important”

Kelly spoke about the work done by the strength and conditioning staff to prevent injuries. Meanwhile, two Bruin offensive linemen discuss the transformation of the offensive line.

Line Coach Justin Frye takes the snap as the offensive line work on their technique during 2018 Spring Practice.
Joe Piechowski

The contrasts between Chip Kelly and Jim Mora continue to be like night and day.

Before practice yesterday, Chip Kelly spoke with the media and the first topic was how, so far, UCLA has been able to avoid injuries. Kelly credited that to new Strength and Conditioning Coach Frank Wintrich and his staff. “They’ve done a really nice job and our players have been a really nice job learning how to do recovery in the right manner and you can see that from them,” Kelly said.

On an interesting note, when Wintrich was at Virginia, he didn’t have any soft tissue injuries, which says a lot about his program. That’s a marked difference to Jim Mora’s final few seasons when injuries ran amok.

“A part of that is still learning the individuals bodies,” Kelly continued. “Are there any imbalances? Can they can they take care of those imbalances and put them to a point where they’re not susceptible to something? And, they’ve done a really nice job of identifying that and trying to do prehab so they’re they’re turning from that.”

There’s another new words entering the Bruin football lexicon: prehab.

While Kelly didn’t define it, it would seem to be exactly what it sounds like: preventing injuries by strengthening and/or conditioning before an injury can occur.

It’s an interesting idea and certainly not one that ever occurred during the Mora era.

Later in the interview, Chip Kelly called the Pac-12 “the most penalized league in the country.” More importantly, though, Kelly did not say that

“We always emphasize [penalties],” he said. “Anytime you have a negative yardage play, whether it be by a mistake, because you made a mental issue, or you have a penalty, when those aren’t successful for you. So, I’ve never been a guy that penalties aren’t important. Penalties are extremely important.”

While that may be true, Kelly’s Oregon teams weren’t very highly ranked nationally when it came to penalties. But, as Bruin Report Online’s David Woods points out in an excellent article this morning, Kelly’s teams were running plays about every 20 seconds and some games saw as many as 200 plays in the game. That’s nearly twice as many as the average game. When you’re running twice as many plays, you should probably expect twice as many penalties. So, in sheer numbers per game, yeah, Kelly’s teams were highly penalized, but Woods correctly points out that, when you look at things differently by examining penalties per play, Kelly’s Oregon teams were pretty average and “it wasn’t anything close to a Jim Mora team from 2012-2017.”

Here’s Kelly’s full interview, courtesy of Matt Joye of Bruin Report Online.

Meanwhile, after practice, two Bruin offensive linemen spoke with the media.

Jake Burton spoke about what he’s doing to get better. “The biggest thing is just coming out and just working your butt off and you know learning the playbook and they’re trying to come out here and just get better in everything you do,” Burton said.

Burton mentioned that Andre James, Michael Alves and Justin Murphy have emerged as three of the leaders on the offensive line. Speaking of Murphy, Burton said, “He’s been awesome. He definitely has a nastiness component that’s what’s needed for our offensive line and for our team.”

Here’s Burton’s full interview, also courtesy of Matt Joye of Bruin Report Online.

Finally this morning, Michael Alves was the other offensive lineman to meet with the media yesterday.

Alves discussed how the offensive linemen are training at different spots on the line. While he did mention that they seem to be having some difficulty snapping the ball right now, he added that he thinks those things should be worked out and resolved over the course of the next week.

Alves also shed some light on how the offseason program has affected the team. “With our new strength coach, Coach Wintrich, we did a lot more stuff in the winter to prepare for it,” he said. “So, everybody, I think I’ve asked everybody and they all say they’re in the best shape they ever been in playing football. Just from the workouts and, then, practice is a whole other beast. We ran like 18 plays in...I think it was six minutes. It’s just crazy. I’ve never done that before and it doesn’t even feel like we’re going that fast because we’ve just been used to it since spring and they’re running we’ve done in the winter.”

Alves also spoke about Coach Kelly’s impact. He called Kelly “one of the smartest football minds I’ve ever met” and said that having Kelly is almost like having two position coaches because he “knows every little thing on every single play.” It sounds as though Coach Kelly is a stickler for details and the way Alves described it, it reminded me a lot of Coach Wooden in that respect.

Thanks to Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News for sharing Michael Alves’ full interview.

Today’s interviews certainly give Bruin fans a reason to be optimistic about the upcoming season, if for no other reason than the fact that it seems like a lot of the issues of the Jim Mora era are being addressed, even if Chip Kelly really didn’t watch any film of last year’s team. And, while Jedd Fisch brought attention to detail last season, it sounds like that’s been turned up a few more notches this year.

Go Bruins!!!