UCLA football ends spring training heavy on teaching, development

12 May 2022 | 08:29

LOS ANGELES – Some coaches approach spring football as a crash training camp, cramming training sessions into consecutive days and firing their players. That’s not Chip Kelly.

The UCLA soccer team wrapped up its final practice session on a spring Saturday, the last of 15 opportunities to play together before heading to school for the summer.

Kelly’s spring-ball approach is structured, focused on teaching, development, and understanding. Practice sessions are extended to Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays, with a “teaching” day in between for meetings and film studies. Because there’s no one game to prepare for, spring practice is an opportunity to emphasize fundamentals.

Kelly even turned down the chance to participate in a spring game, opting instead for a spring rollout last week that was essentially a practice session in front of television cameras. Instead of taking a day to get a live script, UCLA used every last minute of its allotted practice time to practice.

And teach. Even in training, the Bruins have “teach” periods where coaches guide the programs. After practice, players are assessed the same way they would after a match, with points for knowledge, technique and effort. If a player is lacking in an area, the coaches take care of that.

“Maybe great knowledge, a lot of effort but he just lacks technique,” ​​Kelly said. “Then you work on that personal platform. If there are so many mental mistakes, what are we doing according to the diagram and what part of it does he not understand? Are we giving him too much, or can we help him a little from that point of view? ”

At some point in April, Kelly praised one player for how far he had come since his first practice. As the practice sheet ended on Saturday, the fifth-year coach said he believes his fifth-year defender, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, has made strides this spring.

Although Thompson-Robinson may not have major improvements left to make at the college level, Kelly has still seen some growth from his full-back.

“You’ve seen him improve from episode one to episode 14,” says Kelly. “Those are subtle things. Maybe that’s how he uses his rhythm as a weapon. Or some other little complicated stuff. “

Kelly still has four months to finalize the roster and see if the improvements made in the spring translate into court wins. He said depth charting, especially on defense, is a “work in progress.”

But for now, he hopes the players will learn from the lessons learned from spring to summer and fall.

Kelly congratulates Dulcich, Rhyan

Kelly said seeing former player Greg Dulcich and offensive lineman Sean Rhyan drafted on Friday in the third inning was “fantastic”. Dulcich went to the Denver Broncos with an 80th pick and Rhyan followed in 92nd to the Green Bay Packers.