Practice continues for the improving Bruins, but the improvement is not all that easy to see
UCLA is getting better… because they can’t possibly get any worse. Last year was forgettable, but this year is going to be great. The Bruins have more Linemen this year, and they are bigger and stronger than last year’s guys. The Bruins have a Quarterback who was recruited with a little more excitement than his predecessor. And, the Bruins have another year of Norm Chow coaching under their belts.
However, when you go to a practice this year, the improvement doesn’t really jump out at you. The QB’s — including last year’s starter — don’t look all that different, and the O-line isn’t exactly blowing holes in the D. While the Bruins once again are seemingly concentrating on short passes (like last year), the attempts at long balls mostly fall to the turf. Yes, a couple of bombs were completed, but they were the exception, not the rule, and most weren’t close, regardless of who was throwing them.
Since the practice is NOT a formal scrimmage, there are no stats, or any hard data to back up my observations. However, it SEEMED like WR #11 Ricky Marvray made a couple of plays for the Offense, while #10 Akeem Ayres grabbed some spotlight on Defense (possibly Intercepting two passes in a row?). As for the Tailbacks, Christian Ramirez looks stronger than last year, and Jonathan Franklin looked like he broke one by “getting to the corner” quickly.
All the above should probably be taken with a grain of salt, as I can’t give you any REAL info, i.e. who was playing against the first string D. Also, it should be noted that the overall atmosphere was the same as last year. There is no added sense of urgency or intensity. Rick Neuheisel and Chow are running things the same way as last year, because that is their style. There is no panic, despite last year’s failure. That’s fine, as long as they take care of business when the season really begins. Perhaps the Fall Scrimmage next weekend will give us all a better feeling for what is in store for the months ahead. Until then, please enjoy this collection of photos from Sunday’s practice.