UCLA is now eradicated from postseason play, save for excessive Pac-12 chaos, however there are nonetheless huge video games remaining for the Bruins with USC and Stanford ready at residence to complete the season. First, UCLA heads to the desert to face Arizona State on Saturday at 11 a.m. PT on Pac-12 Networks.
As all the time, I welcome your questions for this weekly function. You can ship them to me on Twitter at @thucnhi21 or by way of e mail ([email protected]). Let’s get to the A’s to your Q’s.
The place are we with enhancing ST play? Any replace from Chip on this?
— Kerim (@UCLAKerim) November 6, 2018
In his first assembly with the media this week, Chip Kelly was requested extensively about special groups. I wrote about it Monday. He stated the distinction might be in consideration to element.
A few of the errors have been simply execution errors. The gamers know what to do, they only didn’t get it proper that point. Stefan Flintoft is aware of he can’t punt the ball inside the hash marks, however he mis-hit the ball, it landed precisely the place he didn’t need it to and he obtained burned for it. Adarius Pickett was standing on the 12, was coached to not again up a lot additional to catch the punt, needed to comply with the directions, then was caught between minds when the ball carried a bit additional than he anticipated. After the false begin on the area aim towards Utah, I’m positive the whole staff is aware of to not flinch, however typically bizarre issues occur they usually’ve unlucky.
I might think about the teaching employees making a change at punt returner to provide Pickett a second to take a breath after two straight video games with a muffed punt, however typically, I don’t assume it’s essentially about making an attempt to do new issues. It’s simply about doing the issues proper.
Throughout apply, I observed that coaches have been extra vocal throughout special groups durations this week, particularly Kelly, who was hands-on throughout a drill on Wednesday. I additionally assume I noticed them engaged on conditions when area objectives went awry (like final week’s dangerous snap/maintain that pressured Matt Lynch to attempt to scramble for a long-shot first down) and how one can block on these events. Now it’s about transferring the directions from coaches into execution from the gamers on Saturday.
I used to be at Autzen, and DTR did not appear very vocal with different qb’s or engaged with workforce after dangerous drives and being pulled. Is he a nasty workforce mate from what you’ve got seen or heard?
— Chet Donnelly (@gooch1234567) November eight, 2018
I need to first ensure to state that Dorian Thompson-Robinson didn’t “get pulled” for poor efficiency. He appeared to re-aggravate the damage to his proper shoulder, which prompted the change.
After Thompson-Robinson’s first begin towards Oklahoma, I did this story about how he was beginning to develop right into a management position, however definitely there are alternative ways to steer. A conundrum for Thompson-Robinson might be that he’s on reverse ends of the management expectation spectrum. On one finish, he’s a real freshman who didn’t be a part of the staff till the summer time. Freshmen are anticipated to only maintain their heads above water and discover their means round campus. However he’s additionally a quarterback. They’re anticipated to set a tone for the complete group by instance or vocally or each. So it’s exhausting for one individual to fill each roles, particularly a quarterback who has so little beginning expertise at the place.
Teammates acknowledge the competing roles Thompson-Robinson has to fill. When requested of Thompson-Robinson’s management the week after the Oklahoma recreation and the significance of a quarterback as a pacesetter, offensive lineman Michael Alves stated, “The quarterback is definitely the captain of the offense. Usually the quarterback is the captain of the team, but he’s just a freshman, so you can’t expect that.”
Thompson-Robinson impressed teammates, together with Alves and fellow offensive lineman Justin Murphy, together with his efficiency and management capability in his first profession begin at Oklahoma.
When it comes to sideline demeanor, Alves additionally stated physique posture is essential for a quarterback in setting a tone, and added of Thompson-Robinson’s management duties: “He’s got so much to do. I couldn’t imagine being a quarterback in this offense. He’s trying his best with that so anything else is just extra for him.” (For his personal contribution, Alves stated his solely quarterback expertise was in seventh-grade flag soccer. He stated it didn’t go nicely.)
I’ve seen some good moments of physique language from Thompson-Robinson. In the season opener, a receiver dropped a cross and the quarterback pushed his palms towards the floor, giving the sign to settle down. He didn’t seem annoyed. I assumed that was constructive. However there have been additionally moments with less-than-stellar optics like when he walked towards the sideline after throwing an interception with the play nonetheless going or final week when he threw his head again in exasperation after an early false begin.
DM query: “Is Chip Kelly doing a good job? Is he really building for the future? Or is the team on a downward spiral?”
I do know the final recreation was the sort of recreation that made many followers need to scratch their eyes out with every passing special groups mistake, however I don’t assume you can doom the program to a downward spiral 9 video games right into a model new tenure. This spring, I assumed that the group had an opportunity to problem for bowl eligibility. They’re clearly not going to be do that (apart from this specific state of affairs, uncovered by the Bay Space News Group’s Jon Wilner, during which the Pac-12 South collapses and UCLA inexplicably has an opportunity at the Rose Bowl). However with a lot unknown about the state of the program heading into the yr, preseason predictions about this workforce meant even lower than they do in regular years as a result of all if it was a blind guess.
The report seems to be horrible at 2-7, however you can see the group’s potential in video games like Oklahoma, Washington and Cal. The job the employees has accomplished with the patchwork offensive line, which has allowed Joshua Kelley to turn out to be the breakout star of the season, is sort of spectacular. All of us understood that the offensive line was going to be the largest query mark of the group. Now they’re blocking for a operating recreation that averaged four.1 yards per carry. UCLA hasn’t achieved that since Paul Perkins was operating the ball. So there are indicators of progress. They can be troublesome to see via the forest of execution errors typically, although.
DM query: “We’ve got talent – how could we be this bad?”
I really feel like somebody asks a model of this query each week. Was my first reply, which is the reply I hyperlink to in different mailbags, not enough? I simply don’t get what else I can say about it. If these two earlier solutions don’t suffice, message me again with a comply with up query and I’ll attempt to clarify it another way.
(critically) how a lot of the blame for this season’s underperformance falls on teaching (i.e. special groups) versus lack of expertise and/or expertise that wasn’t coached by the pvs teaching employees?
— Paul Mohme (@pmohme) November 7, 2018
Coaches get the blame when issues go flawed, gamers get the reward when issues go proper. That’s how sports activities are. However in actuality, there must be a correct connection between the instruction from the teaching and the execution from the gamers, and each side are at fault when it breaks. Stefan Flintoft talked about it this week when requested of working with special groups coordinator Roy Manning:
“His give attention to (special groups) and what he emphasizes and his drills and what not, I simply really feel like they translate over very nicely. Clearly, this previous recreation shouldn’t be the greatest instance of it, however that’s not all him. You can’t simply blame one individual, particularly a coach, so we simply should exit and keep in mind our coaching.
“Like I said (last week), turn your mind off, let your body do what it knows how to do,” Flintoft continued. “I think we got away from that this weekend as players and we’ll clean that up this week and next week will be much better.”
Coaches are chargeable for doing every little thing attainable to get gamers in the proper place to execute after which the gamers need to go execute. It’s unimaginable to actually separate the two, though with regards to school sports activities, the coach is all the time going to be the first to take the warmth in the courtroom of public opinion. As the man amassing a multi-million greenback paycheck, he ought to.
(See earlier reply about expertise.)
It does appear to be there are dangerous habits remaining from the earlier teaching employees, particularly the missed tackles and penalties. However there was some enchancment in these points: Kelly stated the Bruins went from 18 missed tackles towards Arizona to 24 missed tackles towards Utah to 12 towards Oregon. Twelve continues to be 12 greater than most individuals would really like, nevertheless it went in the proper course. Jim Mora was recognized to say that he was OK with some “aggressive” penalties, which he in some methods seen was an indication of at the least good effort. These all the time appeared to occur at the most inopportune occasions as nicely, like third downs, however I really feel like a whole lot of the penalties final week have been extra procedural. They’re annoying nonetheless, however theoretically simpler to repair. Final yr, UCLA averaged 9.22 yards per penalty, and this yr, the quantity is down to eight.16 yards per penalty.
Previous couple of video games of the season, what freshmen haven’t performed but and can nonetheless play these final three whereas sustaining their redshirt? Any you anticipate to play?
— Cam G (@BruCam87) November eight, 2018
True freshmen not eligible to redshirt (i.e. have performed in a minimum of 5 video games): Kazmeir Allen, Martell Irby, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Christaphany Murray, Chase Cota, Atonio Mafi, Tyler Manoa, Stephan Blaylock, Otito Ogbonnia, Bo Calvert, Michael Ezeike, Delon Harm, Elijah Wade
Freshmen who’ve performed however might nonetheless redshirt: Kyle Philips (appeared in 4 video games), Elisha Guidry (two video games), Rayshad Williams (three video games)
Scholarship freshmen who haven’t appeared this yr: Matt Alaimo, David Priebe, Kenny Churchwell (knee damage), Patrick Jolly, Jon Gaines, Alec Anderson, Baraka Beckett.
At this level, I wouldn’t anticipate any of the gamers who haven’t performed to play, though with some accidents mounting and if video games flip right into a blowout, I suppose something is feasible. The offensive linemen, Gaines, Anderson and Beckett, can be the least more likely to seem in a recreation in my thoughts as a result of the lack of substitution on the line normally. The tight ends Alaimo and Priebe probably wouldn’t bounce in both as there are three different scholarship tight ends with Caleb Wilson, Jordan Wilson and Devin Asiasi, and the teaching employees has proven willingness to play walk-on Drew Platt as properly. There are plenty of different choices at defensive again, however as a result of there’s some rotating at that place, Patrick Jolly may be the most possible in my thoughts to play if somebody was going to play, however once more, I don’t assume anybody will.
What’s the workforce’s routine earlier than house/away video games? Do they keep on campus earlier than video games? What about staff meals, oh and does Chip nonetheless have the workforce on a special weight-reduction plan or meal plan? Too demoralized to ship an precise soccer query😓
— Whats_Bruin (@mr_thrift) November 6, 2018
For away video games, Fridays embrace a chartered flight and a follow, though I’m not utterly positive if the order is assured every time (i.e. whether or not it’s flight after which apply on the street or apply at residence then fly). Saturday is recreation day, typically there are conferences and walk-throughs earlier than the recreation relying on kickoff time. Then the group charters a flight out instantly after.
For residence video games, I feel the group would need to keep off campus to get rid of distractions and make journey simpler when it comes to attending to the Rose Bowl.
A variety of the gamers talked throughout coaching camp raved about a brand new vitamin plan. There are extra meals offered at the soccer middle all through the day and the meals are designed to be wholesome as properly.