Football

UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson Says Chip Kelly Encouraged Him To Leave The NFL

26 Apr 2022 | 08:39

LOS ANGELES – The UCLA football team kicked off spring training on Tuesday with familiar face Dorian Thompson-Robinson returning as the starting quarterback for his fifth season at Westwood.

But if it were up to Bruins coach Chip Kelly, perhaps Thompson-Robinson would be prepping for the NFL draft now. As the senior detailed after the Bruins’ first game of the spring, Kelly is actually encouraging Thompson-Robinson to turn pro after the junior season in which he led UCLA to an 8-4 record and second-most scoring fouls in Pac-12.

“He let me know from the start that he wanted the best for me,” Thompson-Robinson said. “Hearing that from him, as well as a few others to whom I really wanted to say something like that, really made me consider leaving, but in the end I felt this was the place for me.”

Thompson-Robinson said he considered a variety of scenarios when thinking about his decision, including teammates like Kyle Philips and Greg Dulcich eventually turning pro, completing his degree and hearing the news. Kelly. According to Thompson-Robinson, his personal trainer encouraged him to leave “quite awkward” at times, but he stressed that it “successfully worked out in the end”.

Instead of Kelly and his staff working in a new quarterback, Thompson-Robinson’s return gives UCLA much-needed stability as it works through a number of transfer windows and newcomers. Start in key positions on both sides of the ball. While Thompson-Robinson is losing top goals in Dulcich, Philips and wide receiver Chase Cota, who will move to Oregon for his final season, he will still serve to Zach Charbonnet, who has also returned to his senior the following year after a rush of 1,000 yards.

“As soon as he told me he was coming back, I almost immediately thought about going back and joining him,” Thompson-Robinson said of Charbonnet.

On Tuesday, Logan Loya, Kazmeir Allen, Kam Brown and Titus Mokiao-Atimalala, a transfer from UCF, saw the action at the receiver. Michael Ezeike and Hudson Habermehl appear expected to take over at the end of the film.

Thompson-Robinson didn’t connect in all of his passes in the first set, but his throws seemed crisp and sharp, and he displayed the mobility that made him the a threatening double defender.

On the defensive side, UCLA is working under the new coordinator of Bill McGovern, who will replace Jerry Azzinaro. Linebacker Bo Calvert, who will be returning for his fifth season, said that the installation of McGovern’s plan is a work in progress.

Tuesday’s workout consisted of “really simple things,” Calvert said.

He added: “We just flew around. I was quite surprised how quickly we got in. It felt like we were training mid-season. People were just running around, going crazy.”

The Bruins will look to replace a few key players in defense and secondary, which have lost 3 main kicks, Jay Shaw, Quentin Lake and Cam Johnson. Helping in that transition were key transfers such as full-backs Jaylin Davies (Oregon) and Azizi Hearn (Wyoming) and full-back Darius Muasau (Hawaii).

“When you have a lot of new faces coming in, switching in and out of different locations and moving around, you have to build that trust and figure out how communication will work with different people,” Calvert said. speak . “It was one of those early things that was applying things excessively and just getting caught up in chasing the ball.”

Calvert, who led the Briuins to four sacks last season, said staying for a fifth year was “a strange experience”, joking that young players wondered if he was a graduate assistant or not. a member of the coaching staff. But he would love to share his wisdom and experience with newer players.

“It’s really rewarding,” Calvert said. “It also helps me a lot. When you have to teach someone what you yourself are learning, it will help you learn even better. “

As for the high-impact goals, Thompson-Robinson said he wanted to win the ring last season and has more to prove. Despite marking its first season in the Chip Kelly era last year, UCLA finished second in the Pac-12 South and had to withdraw from the Holiday Bowl due to COVID-19 issues.

“I think we left a lot of things on the table last year,” said Thompson-Robinson. “So definitely four games we lost, plus the bowl game definitely hurt. It definitely left a bad taste in our mouths, so we have some things we want to prove still. ”