Brought to you by the Coast 2 Coast Hoops Network

Like Us On Facebook Follow Us On Twitter  

  • UCLA Football: Two Yards Too Short

    UCLA's Spaulding Field, Saturday Morning

    Scott Robinson

    What audacity.

    Two yards from the sideline, amidst a sun-drenched morning at Spaulding Field, RT Brett Downey slowed down his pace as the next offensive line unit hopped in for the subsequent drill.

    Suddenly, Coach Mora, with veins bursting from his forehead, abruptly stopped the play. Stepping out from behind the defense, Mora belted out at Downey in a hoarse scream:

    “Run your ass off the field or run out there!”

    Mora pointed to the exit of Spaulding.

    “Over-the-wall” sure seems silly under such expectations of hustle: Apparently, this new coach’s mantras has teeth to go along with his coach-speak.

    Responsive, Downey ran everywhere from that point on.

    Seems as though these messages are being received.

    When the right tackle was asked about the incident, he replied: “It’s intense. They’re expecting perfection.”

    To be sure, this regime has made it clear: There is no acceptance of a complacent mentality. Players are expected to get on board or get out.

    With the morning’s outburst came Coach Mora’s point: Players are now competing for any spot, even on the practice team.

    My Way or the Highway

    If one theme could be derived from today’s practice, it’s this: The players must hustle to be on the field. Period.

    And with this message, comes the fruition of the delivery: basics are being dealt with, finally. On all fronts, be it the running backs, defensive lines (what have you), the staff is communicating their expectations consistently.

    From the looks of it, there is a method to this madness. In lieu of a sideline rant, where a coach would pop off and appear ready to shear clean his quarterback’s head, this staff is delivering the “teach-able” moments at the appropriate time: Practice.

    In this case, the very base of this sort of practice starts with full effort. Even amidst the hurry-up drilling, hustle was at the forefront. First and second teams shuffled in faster in this practice than they might have in every game, all of last year.

    And forget the countless procedure penalties costing UCLA with their late arrival onto the field or the confusion the defense experienced against a hurry-up; This staff expects 11 players on-time, on the field, without excuses.

    Additionally, simple, however, incredibly important drills continue to distance this staff from the previous one.

    Even throwing the ball seems to be ground down to the very bottom-line: Coach Mazzone at one point had the QB’s focus on their motion with one knee on the ground.

    On another front, the defense continued to work with lateral movement—a sore-spot with the Line-backing unit as they struggled against the swing or flat route quite a bit last season.

    LB Hoffmeister, while overseen by Coach Ulbrich, further showed the extent of the coaching staff’s emphasis on the basics. A drill considered by Ulbrich as “his favorite part of the day” put the LB’s through stepping exercises. When not completing a step-drill under a canopy to Ulbrich’s liking, “Hoff” (affectionately termed by the coach) was told to jump back in line and finish out twice more.

    Now Available: Opportunity

    To this end, there is true competition occurring in all spots—and noticeably, the QB position already seems to have made some more movement.

    Again, QB’s Kevin Prince, Brett Hundley and Richard Brehaut worked in the first unit. Hundley, at one point, hit every pass during the 7-on-7’s—He continues to look better and better as camp progresses. Hundley's best moment occurred when he slung it to WR Jerry Rice, Jr. on a crisp route over the middle: the ball came in chest-high with an arm's length lead.

    Rice, Jr., by the way, continues to exhibit the craftiness of his father: His routes are very calculated and he shows the sort of work ethic one might expect from the Pro-Bowler’s son.

    Brehaut also continues to look good. Despite missing behind his receivers a number of times, Brehaut’s “catch-able” delivery and accuracy are improving.

    I caught up with Brehaut after practice and asked him the greatest difference between the two regimes:

    “Besides a whole new offense, the tempo in practice, [it’s] the stress they put on tempo, tempo, tempo. I’m sure you guys all saw it—I mean he stopped practice and got on someone for stopping two yards from the sideline!”

    Prince, meanwhile, had a beautiful 40-yard pass to WR Devin Lucien—It dropped perfectly, in stride, to Lucien’s outside shoulder along the side-line. At the conclusion of the 7-on-7’s, the team switched to 11-on-11’s; Noticeably, Hundley and Brehaut took the rep’s—Prince did not.

    Practice Notes

    Remember to ask for players or coaches to report on! Tweet us who you'd like us to cover at @BruinsBall!

    -Eric Kendricks: Continues to look the part of a solid backer. Has shown flashes of lateral quickness that most definitely separates him from the rest of the unit. Had another spectacular hit in the 11-on-11’s—That sure got Urlbrich going with that tackle.

    -Anthony Barr: His size will play a role on reach in defending against the pass. Certainly has some catching up to do on the playbook now that he’s on the other side of the ball. With his build, there will no doubt be a mismatch come time to block him as he blitzes, especially when going against a smaller running back.

    -Patrick Larimore: Looks leaner and faster, without sacrificing his strength. Fulfilling a role of leadership in enforcing the same mentality of hustle; Got on a few of the LB’s when they lagged. With him in the middle, his speed will be important to plug up an ISO to counter what should be a stellar outside rush from the DE's.

    -Damien Holmes: His role as a hybrid seems like a perfect fit. With the experience at DE the past few seasons, I imagine he’ll help tremendously against a rushing attack.

    -Isaiah Bowens: Displayed soft hands and a few times was able to adjust, quite athletically, when defending against the pass. He has some work to do as it looks like he’s slated behind the first group.

    -Jeff Baca: Now back to his natural position of LG, he looks comfortable. Stoutly stopped DL’s Wesley Flowers and Brandon Willis in 1-on-1’s. Barring no injury or academic issues, should have a great year with Su’a-Filo to his left.

    -Xavier Su’a-Filo: Put up a strong fight against DL Wesley Flowers, but had trouble with DL Datone Jones. A long, lanky and well-centered lineman; Tends to stick close to Coach Klemm, who is always in his ear with something. The blind-side should be well-protected between him and Baca.

    -Alberto Cid: Not working with the first unit. Was pancaked by DL Donovan Carter during 1-on-1’s. Appears he may be a solid contributor, but not necessarily a starter. Unlike years past, it will be nice to have a returning linemen, one with experience, backing up the first line.

    Follow Spring Practice here on and Twitter: @BruinsBall

    [Edited 7:40PM, message board chatter implies over-usage of "definitely."]
  • This Weeks Most Popular

Coast 2 Coast Network

Coast 2 Coast Hoops

Arizona Wildcats Basketball

Duke Blue Devils Basketball

Washington Huskies Hoops

Kentucky Wildcats Basketball

Ohio State Sports

Louisville Cardinal Sports

Indiana Hoosiers BBall News


UNC Tar Heels Basketball

Syracuse Orange Basketball

UConn Huskies Basketball

UCLA Bruins Basketball

Arizona Wildcats Football

UNLV Sports

Michigan Wolverines Sports

Contact Us

Contact Us

Advertise with Us

Send us News

Write For Us

Be Social

Follow Us on Facebook

Follow Us on Twitter

View Our Youtube Channel

Grab Our RSS Feed

Need Help

Mark Forums Read

Frequently Asked Questions

Privacy Policy

Terms Of Service