The change might not seem so drastic, just a handful of feet on a football field, but for UCLA junior Glenn Love, linebacker is miles away from safety.
After narrowly losing a preseason battle for the starting strong safety spot to Tony Dye, Love excelled on special teams and played well in spot duty for Dye. But with little experience returning at linebacker, the Bruin coaches called on Love to make the move.
It has appeared to pay off midway through spring ball, as Love has been consistently lauded by the coaching staff for his play.
Now, it’s the title that will take some getting used to. Glenn Love, linebacker.
“Sounds pretty good,” Love said with a big grin. “A little different from Glenn Love, the safety. I’m having fun out here. This is good.”
With the safety spots seemingly locked up in returning starters Rahim Moore and Tony Dye, Love is embracing his opportunity.
The Bruin coaches are embracing him back.
At 6-foot-4, 220 pounds, Love has the frame to add bulk but stay lean and quick. With a budding star in junior Akeem Ayers at the other OLB spot, the Bruins could potentially matching 6-4 beasts to combat the opposition.
“You love the frame,” said UCLA linebackers coach Clark Lea, who was promoted from defensive graduate assistant during the offseason. “You love the fact that he can put on a lot of weight. He needs to grow and get bigger. But those are positive things.”
But for Lea, Love’s size isn’t the only thing that matters.
“One thing that we always loved was about Glenn was how physical he was,” Lea said. “He just loved to hit and he loved to come downhill. That has carried over to his ability at linebacker. In the end, the things that made Glenn an effective safety for us have made him an effective linebacker for us, too.”