With apologies to Alan Iverson, we’re going to talk about practice. Yup, we’re talkin’ bout practice...Spring Practice.
In years past, UCLA Football has held Spring Practice in April. One of the reasons for that has been the fact that UCLA is on the quarter system and that means that March is filled with things like final exams and Spring Break.
As if you needed another reminder that things are going to be different under new head coach Chip Kelly comes the revelation that Kelly plans to start Spring Practice on March 6th this year. Kelly made that announcement as part of an interview with Bryan Fenley on this week’s Bruin Insider Show.
UCLA head football coach Chip Kelly announcing on the Bruin Insider Show tonight, the first day of spring practice will be March 6th.— Bryan Fenley (@BryanFenley) February 14, 2018
Perhaps Coach Kelly forgot to look at the UCLA Academic Calendar for Winter Quarter.
Remaining Events for Winter Quarter
|Presidents’ Day holiday||Monday, February 19|
|Instruction ends||Friday, March 16|
|Common final exams||Saturday-Sunday, March 17-18|
|Final examinations||Monday-Friday, March 19-23|
|Quarter ends||Friday, March 23|
If there were ever a worst time for Spring Practice, wouldn’t March be it?
March 6th is the Tuesday of ninth week, which means the following week is tenth week and that’s immediately followed by final exams. Spring Break is the week of March 25 through March 31.
Of course, Kelly could be doing this by design. He may be looking to find out which players cannot keep up with the rigors of UCLA’s academics and football at the same time.
Or, he might be looking to purposefully overwhelm them immediately as a culture shock.
It’s even more baffling when you consider that Kelly used to hold Spring Practice at Oregon in April, which means that he has deliberately decided he wants Spring Practice held in March.
That leads me to wonder if Kelly is starking raving mad to hold Spring Practice in March. Or, is he more of a mad genius? If I had to guess, I’d probably say he’s both.
I’m sure there are other ways to think about this that I’m not considering.
But, if I were still a UCLA student now, I would not be envying the guys on the football team all that much once Spring Practice begins.
There is one other issue besides the timing of Spring Practice that has not yet been announced.
That issue has to do with whether or not Spring Practice sessions will be open to the public or closed. Why is this a potential issue?
UCLA Spring Practice (and the first few weeks of Fall Camp) have always been open to the public. Last year, as early as Spring Practice, Jim Mora was talking about Fall Camp not being open to the public due to the configuration of Spaulding Field and the new Wasserman Football Center. Mora claimed that there just wasn’t space to have the public watch and that didn’t go over to well with fans or the media.
In Kelly’s first three years at Oregon, Spring Practice was open. However, in 2012, Kelly decided to close Spring Practice. Apparently, Kelly even closed Spring Practice to the media. Oregon Live has more details about that decision.
So, it’s a fair question that Bruin fans will definitely want to have an answer for in the coming weeks. For now, we’ll have to wait and see.