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UCLA Football Continues to Look for Its First Win

The Bruins are continuing to prepare for this week’s game against Fresno State.

NCAA Football: UCLA at Oklahoma
Freshman RB Kazmeir Allens runs the ball against Oklahoma. Yesterday, senior RB Bolu Olorunfunmi spoke about the advice he’s given to Allen.
Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

When Chip Kelly met with the media yesterday, the first thing he was asked about was the status of Wilton Speight and whether he will play on Saturday. “He’s practicing,” Kelly said. “We’ll just see how it goes with the rest of the week. We still have today, tomorrow and Friday.”

Kelly continued, “We’ve still got three more days of training before we have to make any decisions on who’s playing and who’s not playing at any position. It’s not just him. it’s anybody. So, we’ve got three more days. We’ll continue to take a look and evaluate and we’ll go from there.”

Barring an announcement like there was prior to the Cincinnati game, that’s the last word we’ll have on who will start at quarterback prior to Saturday’s game against Fresno State because Coach Kelly won’t meet with the media again before then.

But, there is one thing which may give us an indication as to how Kelly is likely to proceed from here out. It’s a little switch on this week’s depth chart that Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News reported on the other day. On this week’s depth chart, Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s name now is listed first while Wilton Speight is listed second. In previous weeks, Speight’s name was first. How significant is this change? We will have to wait and see.

Coach Kelly also spoke about what the team will face from Fresno State. He said:

Obviously, they’re really diversified on the offensive side of the ball. They kind of run a lot of different things. Jeff’s been around for a long time and is a really, really, really good offensive coach. So, he’s going to present a lot of things that can stress you defensively. So, we have to be prepared for all of it. You know, some teams come in and there’s just one version of it, and you’ve got to prepare for that. But he is going to be in multiple offensive formations...multiple personnel groups, and I think that makes things a little bit harder to defend. Their quarterback can run. So, you also have that threat of the quarterback not only as a passer, but as a runner. They’ve got an outstanding group of receivers. I think you’ve got to be really sound in your approach to how you’re going to play these guys, because they can beat you in a couple different ways.

Coach Kelly’s interview is courtesy of Matt Joye of Bruin Report Online.

After practice, Bolu Olorunfunmi and Justin Murphy met with the media where they both discussed the progress that is being made by the team offensively. Among other things, Olorunfunmi spoke about where he’s seen improvement from the offense as a whole.

“I feel like we’ve done pretty well,” Olorunfunmi said. “There’s always room for improvement. Every game, there’s always things you can do to get better, but, overall, we’ve got young guys. We’ve got DTR at quarterback and freshman center. I think they did a great job stepping up and try to lead with the roles they have. So, like I said, we’re getting better, but they’re doing a good job.”

He also spoke about the improvements he’s seen from Kazmeir Allen so far. “Really for him it’s just getting used to the game,” Olorunfunmi said. “You know, high school is different than college. It’s a lot faster. I mean, he’s a fast guy, but basically it’s just getting used to the speed of the game, getting used to the intensity and physicality. And I think he’s doing a good job.”

He was asked how he’s helped Allen out. Olorunfunmi said: “What I tell him is, ‘You’re the fastest guy on the team. Just run at that speed, and everything will settle for itself. You’ll find yourself in the end zone a lot, find yourself doing a lot of things, you know, doing special things, making special plays.’ That’s the number one thing I tell him. I mean, you have that speed. Use it. You’re, like, special kid.”

Meanwhile, Justin Murphy spoke about the development of the offensive line. “There’s definitely some room for improvement,” said Murphy. “We have a young group, but as far as where we’re heading, I think we’re heading in the right direction. We’re working hard on the field, off the field, physically and mentally, to put our team in the best situation and we’ll continue to do that.”

Murphy also addressed the challenges that the offensive line face going into last week’s game. He said:

As far as the challenges go on that, it’s just different looks and we just gotta work through the process of what our coaches told us. We’ll go back on to our training and how coach has trained us to see those looks and not get caught up in the speed and the intensity of the game and just the challenges on that. Oklahoma is a hostile environment. I’ve played there. I’ve been there before. So, it’s a tough place to play. More credit to them. The defensive coordinator...he had the best of us that day.

Thanks to UCLA Athletics for the video of the player interviews.

Go Bruins!!!