UCLA Spring Game Takeaways: Is Kelly’s Team Ready For A Run In 2019?
The UCLA Bruin crowd at Drake Stadium seemed enthusiastic at the start of the Spring Football Game on Saturday. The fanbase and supporters were anxious to see what the Bruins had to offer before the 2019 season.
Coach Jerry Azzinaro’s Defense Made Big Strides
Leading up to the spring game from my earlier team assessment, I mentioned the need for UCLA to find a solid defense that can at least keep the Bruins in games. The onlookers got a first-hand view of a stingy defense who made several stops in the game.
- The game included 10 series altogether, consisting of 99 plays.
- The defense tackled really well and was disciplined in their lanes.
The first or second-team offense did not score any touchdowns. And the Blue team won 3-0 in the game that, while tedious, should be the kind of game that at least gives Bruins fans hope thanks to their red zone defense. Overall the d-line and linebackers looked fast and aggressive. And the DBs had tight coverage on the receivers except for a few offensive big plays.
The Quarterback Battle For Starter
The quarterback battle between Dorian Thompson-Robinson and Austin Burton can wait for summer camp. Burton made several big throws for first downs. He completed a 53-yard pass to speedy WR Jaylen Erwin.
On a different series, Thompson-Robinson completed a pass to RB Joshua Kelly over the middle for a 20-yard completion. A 10-yard completion followed that to WR Theo Howard and a 2-yard completion to RB Martell Irby. At the goal line, Thompson-Robinson threw a pick in the end zone on a skinny fade to DB Je’ Vari Anderson.
There Are Still Some Question Marks On Offense
Coach Chip Kelly changed the game format since eight offensive linemen were inactive in the game. The running game looked lethargic at times when the Bruin defense plugged holes and made critical stops on fourth downs. The flow and rhythm of the offense seemed slow.
Kelly might be holding back on his most potent schemes on offense. Only time will tell, but with youth and athleticism, the UCLA squad has nowhere to go but up in 2019. All in all, the UCLA Spring game produced the results Kelly and staff expected.