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UCLA Football: Continuity Helps As Bruins Get Back to Business

Two of UCLA’s offensive linemen spoke today about what starting a second year under Chip Kelly feels like.

Left guard Michael Alves and left tackle Alec Anderson both met with the media after training today.
UCLA Athletics

Prior to the start of today’s training session, Chip Kelly met with the media for the first time this Spring. Of course, Kelly was asked about the status of Chase Griffin, who participated on Tuesday but wasn’t throwing for most of the session. Kelly explained the situation:

He’s got a little bit of a wrist thing he’s working on right now. So, we’re just making sure we bring him along according to the trainers and kind of where he needs to be. So, we anticipate him sometime during the spring to start firing it up. So, he’s early. He’s a bonus kid. He should still be in high school. So, he got in here early. He’s learning and he’s getting all the mental reps and will do all the stuff in the run game, but we’re gonna limit his throwing at the beginning of Spring.

The other big questions Kelly was asked were about the guys who were missing on Tuesday. Kelly said that Mique Juarez and Marcus Moore were no longer with the team for medical reasons while Moses Robinson-Carr had been dismissed from the program. He also noted that Rick Wade has graduated.

Kelly was also asked about the Matt Lynch’s position change. “Matt came in said he’d like to play another position and see if he’d get on the field,” Kelly said. “So, if he can contribute as a tight end or a receiver or the special teams, we’ll see whatever we can do to accommodate him, but I thought he handled it really well on the first day.”

Kelly also mentioned that Jaylen Erwin had made a good first impression on the coaches on Monday

Here’s Kelly’s full interview from today. Thanks to Tracy Pierson of Bruin Report Online for sharing the video of Chip Kelly.

As far as the training session itself is concerned, Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News observed, “The offense performed above expectations on Tuesday but appeared to regress Thursday. There were a significant amount of missed throws, and the defense also came down with three interceptions compared to just one on Tuesday.” Those interceptions were made by Quentin Lake, Jay Shaw and Je’Vari Thompson.

She also discussed some of the challenges that Dorian Thompson-Robinson encountered today:

Thompson-Robinson missed receivers, throwing over their heads or miscommunicating on certain routes. On one third down try in 7-on-7, Thompson-Robinson went to throw the lateral pass to freshman running back Keegan Jones, but Jones had inexplicably stopped on the play and let the pass sail right by him. Very awkward. Thompson-Robinson did find success converting longer third downs though as he competed all four of his third-and-10 or longer tries in 7-on-7.

After practice, two of the UCLA Bruins’ offensive linemen spoke with the media as both Michael Alves and Alec Anderson were today’s players.

Alves immediately spoke about what the continuity of offensive line coach Justin Frye as his fourth offensive coordinator in four years actually means. He said:

Technically. this is my fourth OC in four years. So, I’m not really used to having a whole year of plays come back. So, this is cool because so we ran plays in the year and we’re doing them again finally. So, it helps for me and it helps the other guys because mental errors right now are already way down than last Spring and even during the season.

He was also asked several questions about how things are working behind the scenes. For instance, he was asked about Coach Frye’s role and how that’s changed. He also spoke about what it’s like the positive effect that a lot of walk-ons are having. He said:

They’re seeing that those guys are gone and they’re not looking at it as like, “Well, what are we gonna do now?” They’re saying, “Well, this is my time. This is where I have to step in and start to improve and show that I can be as good as those guys out there.”

Meanwhile, Anderson spoke about how the culture on the team is changing. In describing how things are different now, he said:

Our approach is much different. When I first got here I felt like the energy wasn’t as big as we wanted it to be as. Our coaches were trying to make it to be and, then, watching that entire season, it really like showed on the field like we weren’t all together. We weren’t one unit and I feel like, now, transitioning from this offseason into the season, now in spring ball, it’s really gonna help us because, last year, no one really showed up to any of the optional workouts. But, now, it’s, like, everybody’s coming. Before it was, like, you’re kind of looked at like, “Why are you going to that extra stuff? You’re fine.” But, now, if you don’t go, they’re actually getting on you to make us be better. We’re trying to strive to be great and I feel like that’s going to happen this season.

Here’s the full video of the player interviews, courtesy of UCLA Athletics.

The Bruins’ next Spring Training session is on Saturday morning at 8 am PT.

Go Bruins!!!