UCLA’s Cinco de Mayo Scrimmage proves that the Bruins are ready to FLY, with an air attack that will soar to the GOOOOOOOOOOOOAL!
Regardless of who the starting Quarterback will be for UCLA this season, the Bruins are going to throw the ball, MUCHO. When Spring Practice began, it looked like the emphasis was on swing and screen passes to Running Backs, but now, several weeks later, the whole package is on display. During UCLA’s annual Spring Scrimmage at the Rose Bowl, in front of an unprecedented 13,000 fans, the Bruin QB’s hit slants, fly patterns, and check-offs over the middle, as the Wide Receivers and Y-Backs joined the Running Backs in an aerial assault that had the Defense reeling.
All 3 QB’s drove the Offense to paydirt, hitting several different Receivers for TD’s — Devin Lucien, Jerry Johnson, Tyler Scott, and Logan Sweet all got to celebrate. But the Running Back position didn’t just sit back and watch: RB Steven Manfro was the star of the game, with a Kickoff Return for a TD, as well as several big plays from Scrimmage. I thought he did most of his damage on the receiving end of short passes, but a different report says that some of his big plays were Running plays. Maybe — I couldn’t see the field very well (I was seated low, in the 3rd row, in order to bring you the best Cheerleader photos). And with Chris “Was that a Catch” Roberts calling the action, I can’t be sure of what really transpired. I know that he mis-called an Interception that wasn’t, and he missed a TD, so without being able to check the replay, I just can’t be sure of anything.
That being said, the offense dominated through the air, scoring way more than in any other scrimmage. It was feast or famine for the Defensive Backfield, who gave up a ton of big plays, but also grabbed about 5 Interceptions, including 2 by Sheldon Price, one of which he returned for a TD. The D seemed to turn up the pressure on the QB in the 2nd Half, getting a flurry of Sacks after the Break. The other thing the Defense did well was stop the run. Other than POSSIBLY a long Manfro scamper, the Running Game was stuffed for about an hour straight. I would say the Offensive Line did a better job of blocking for Passing Plays than they did of opening holes for Running Backs.
Everyone wants to know about the Quarterbacks, of course, but since they are not allowed to get hit in the scrimmage, I can’t be sure who will excel when the Defense is LIVE. It still looks like Hundley’s awesome running and scrambling ability makes him much more of a threat, and his passing was good enough to keep him at the top of the list. Richard Brehaut might have the best arm, hitting a few Receivers in stride for big plays, but Prince also found the right Receivers and hit them when they were open. A starter won’t be named until August, so even the Coaching Staff isn’t convinced that Hundley is the man quite yet… but he did START the scrimmage, for what it’s worth.
It’s just May, but if I had to venture a guess, it looks like the days of the 6-to-3 victory are gone, and it will be a season of shootouts instead. Winning is still the most important thing, but even if the wins don’t come, at least the team should put points on the board, and give the fans much more excitement than they have enjoyed in a while.
Speaking of excitement, the fans were fortunate enough to be entertained by SIX girls from the UCLA Spirit Squad (and by the UCLA Band), who all looked simply awesome. Below are FIFTY photos of the game and the Cheerleaders, including 10 that are a Blast from the Past, as we were also graced by the RETURN of one of the best Cheerleaders UCLA has ever known, making her first trip to the Rose Bowl in 3 years.
Click on the pics to enlarge them (especially the horizontal ones), and stay tuned for MORE pics from Saturday’s event, coming soon.