It’s been a long three months. Yeah, it’s only been three months since the 2018 football season ended. I think it seems like it’s been a lot longer, though, because the Bruins have been slogging through basketball season. The basketball season won’t be over for a few weeks yet, even if, to most of us, it felt like the basketball season ended some time around the end of December either shortly before the Bruins played Liberty or, perhaps, that day.
While hope may not be a strategy, Spring is a time for renewed hope. It’s no coincidence that baseball fans return to the old adage “Hope springs eternal” around this time of the year. But if you’re looking for baseball, you’ll want to check out one of orlandobruin’s articles because, in this case, I’m talking about football spring practice.
Or, perhaps, I should make that football “Spring Training” since that’s what UCLA Bruins head coach Chip Kelly likes to call it. Speaking of that, there’s a reason Kelly insists on calling it “training” instead of the more commonly-used term “practice.”
RohdeSport.com explains the difference between training and practice. Practice is defined as “to perform or work at repeatedly so as to become proficient” while “training” is defined as “the act, process, or method of one that seeks to improve skill, knowledge, or experience in a certain area.” So, it’s a change in mentality that Kelly is trying to foster by calling it “training” instead of “practice.”
That said, let’s move on to looking at the coaching staff. There’s been only a few changes to the coaching staff since the end of last season.
Of the on-field coaches, there’s only one coach who left the program during the offseason and that was outside linebackers coach and special teams coordinator Roy Manning. Manning left Westwood to coach defensive backs at Oklahoma under new defensive coordinator Alex Grinch, whom Manning worked with at Washington State.
Outside of that, the only other departure was announced yesterday when former UCLA player Dalton Hilliard, who spent last season on the staff as a defensive analyst, announced that he will become the defensive backs coach at the University of Tennessee at Martin.
If only one on-field coach departed, then there’s only one incoming coach who will be new to the staff and to the players.
Manning’s replacement is Jason Kaufusi who comes to Westwood after spending the last two seasons at Nevada. As Dimitri mentioned in his article about Kaufusi, he was instrumental in improving Nevada’s run defense and he has a reputation as an excellent recruiter.
Now, just because there was only one departure doesn’t mean that there weren’t any other changes to the staff’s coaching assignments. There were two. Offensive line coach Justin Frye was promoted to offensive coordinator as well as retaining his duties with the offensive line. At the time that Frye was promoted, it wasn’t known if Kelly would be giving Frye play-calling duties or not.
In fact, as of National Signing Day, it sounded as though Kelly still wasn’t sure himself. Instead, Kelly seemed to indicate that it was something that the coaches would figure out during Spring Training.
Kelly also used his National Signing Day press conference to announce that Derek Sage will fill the role of special teams coordinator in addition to his primary duties as tight ends coach.
That said, let’s look at the full roster of coaches who will be coaching the Bruins during Spring Training:
2019 UCLA Football Coaches
|Offensive Coordinator/Offensive Line
|Passing Game Coordinator/Wide Receivers
|Tight Ends/Special Teams Coordinator
|Director of Football Performance
Spring Training is currently scheduled to start on Tuesday, March 6th. At this time, UCLA has not released any more details regarding training times. It’s also not yet known if training sessions will be open to the public.