22 Apr 2022 | 08:10
LOS ANGELES – UCLA returns two of its most obvious attacking talents in the Dorian Thompson-Robinson quartet and assists Zach Charbonnet, but will the explosive duo have enough time and space to repeat their 2021 success or not may depend on a new attack line.
The Bruins are losing three starters on their front line in contentions with Alec Anderson and Sean Rhyan, who left early for the NFL, and left guard Paul Grattan Jr., who has already run out of qualification. his university. While center back Sam Marrazzo and right-back Jon Gaines II will return, more than half of the offensive line that has helped UCLA average more than 200 yards per game in consecutive seasons for the first time since 1987 will be shuffled. mix.
“It’s just the evolution of football,” said UCLA head coach Chip Kelly. “You can’t keep them. This is not the NFL. You can’t keep guys 5, 6, 7, 8 years. That is its nature. It’s going to explode at some point and we count on some young lads. “
Kelly points to Marrazzo and Gaines’ experience alongside the Duke of Clemens, a defender who started in place of injured Marrazzo in the center for much of last season. Marrazzo is entering her sixth year on the show, Gaines fifth and Clemens fourth.
Gaines plans to take a page from Thompson-Robinson’s leadership psychology to mentor anyone who slips into starting positions.
“As an offensive line unit, our mission is to lead from the front,” said Gaines. “I’m going to work that out for myself and Duke and Sam – we all have that mentality and bring that to the young lads. We know we have to set standards every day. “
Garrett DiGiorgio – who started in the right league last season as a full-time freshman at Serrano High in Phelan – was represented at left in spring practice and Josh Carlin in the other side is the right handle. Carlin, a junior in red, was considered a substitute in all 12 games last season.
Kelly said DiGiorgio has been “excellent” during spring break and First Day of Spring Practice, and also brought Redshirt sophomore Bruno Fina as another youngster to watch. Benjamin Roy Jr., a sophomore, was chosen by Clemens as a striking young player in attack.
Raiqwon O’Neal, a transfer from Rutgers, is expected to arrive at Westwood in the summer and should also be competing for a replacement spot. And in a turning point, Tyler Manoa, who had been at the back for four years, was moved to the right handle. Kelly said switching Manoa to offensive tackle was “the best position for him to be on the field”, a sign that the tackle points are ready to be captured.
Gaines and Clemens said they liked what they saw at Manoa during the first week of spring training.
“His motivation is to want to learn and get better as an offensive lineman now, which is really refreshing to see,” Clemens said. “He really wants to go out there and play and help the team – and help himself.”
UCLA also has new offensive team coach Tim Drevno, who was promoted from analyst after Justin Frye – the Bruins’ offensive line coordinator and offensive line coach last season – left for Ohio State.
Drevno, who recently coached the offensive line at USC, Michigan and for the San Francisco 49ers, “does a great job of transitioning to his coaching style while trying to keep the same terms and concepts as they are.” as Coach Frye put it.” according to Clemens.
Regardless of what the retooled attack looks like as the season progresses, the veterans are sure they’ll be motivated to perform well – especially with Thompson-Robinson returning as the signal caller.
“It’s really big, there’s a familiar face behind you,” Clemens said of the midfielder’s return. “It just gives you a lot of confidence, to be able to make the right plays and score us a lot of touches.”
Gaines said he’s never played with a college quarterback other than Thompson-Robinson, and is glad that hasn’t changed.
“He was a leader,” Gaines said. “He understands the offense better than anyone on the pitch. He is a proven player. He brings that mentality to the whole team, to his attacking behavior and that’s just how we approach every game together. ”
In spring Saturday’s third practice session, UCLA hit the field full of cushions for the first time. Coach DeShaun Foster said it was easier to judge “definitely” players, quipping: “When you’re wearing pajamas, it’s not really football.” …
According to Foster, Kazmeir Allen and Keegan Jones are “doing really well” to replace Brittain Brown behind Charbonnet. …
Who will replace Kyle Philips as UCLA returnee remains a question mark. Kam Brown, Jake Bobo and Titus Mokiao-Atimalala have had experience with returning batting at their previous shows, although Foster said Philips, who averages 22.6 yards/return return to last season and decide to leave the NFL early, will be “difficult to replace. ”