The Bruins held their final practice of the spring this morning on Spaulding FIeld, a relatively light session meant as much as anything to gear up the team for Saturday's Spring Game/Showcase at Stubhub Center. Coach Mora talked to the media after usual at the end of practice (video via Jack Wang/Daily News)
Saturday will be an actual, live game except that: 1) Kickoff and punt returns will all be fair caught, and 2) the Quarterbacks will be wearing non-contact jerseys. Brett Hundley and Asiantii Woulard will be the starting quarterbacks, with Noel Mazzone and Jeff Ulbrich coaching the two teams.
Looking back at the past few weeks, Coach Mora noted that this Spring's practices have gone much better than his first two Spring's at UCLA. The team understands the concepts that the coaches are teaching much better, allowing the players to be more physical along with an increased competitiveness with each other - almost to the edge of Mora's comfort zone.
On Saturday's game and festivities: The afternoon player autograph session will last from 3pm to 3:45, slightly shorter than originally planned, but the extra time is needed for pregame prep. The game will be played under a running clock with 12 minute quarters - the game clock will stop at change of possessions - and a 7 minute halftime. Mora sees the game as a way to pump Bruin fans and run the team through gameday preparations more than as an evaluative exercise for himself and the rest of the staff.
Jack Wang also noted that Bruin linebacker-to be Kenny Young has traveled to LA from Louisiana this week and has attended the last two practices, as well as a story on Priest Willis and his early struggles earning time on the Bruin defense
"It wasn't the year I wanted," he said. "I wasn't happy with it, but everyone learns differently. Sometimes, you can't just be a Myles Jack. Sometimes, people learn much slower. That was the process for me."
Willis said on Wednesday that he had wanted to play safety all along - a claim perhaps colored by hindsight. ...Willis added that he's willing to move wherever the coaching staff wants him.
It does sound like Willis is starting to 'get it', and should be able to make some impact on the team this season. Chris Foster wrote about Hundley and Mazzone's excitement over the Bruin receiving corps heading into the season - withEldridge Massington and Mossi Johnson getting ready for their first active seasons along with Kenny Walker's return from injury adding to last year's returnees.
We have so many weapons, we can rotate them and I'll never throw it to the same guy," Hundley said. "I can sit back there and no matter who I go to - the tight end, outside receiver, slot - we can exploit any matchup."
Coach Ulbrich praised the attitude and physicality of Jayon Brown on the practice field. The 15th and final practice session of the Spring will be Saturday's game at the Stubhub Center in Carson. Gates open at 1pm, with the autograph session starting at 3pm, and kickoff at 5pm. Information can be found via this link to the official site. Admission is $5 of paid in advance, or $10 at the gate; parking is $15 while current UCLA Students get in free and can catch a free bus from campus if reserved in advance.