For 14 practices this spring, UCLA football players have tried to make a good first impression on their new coaching staff.
Saturday, they hope to leave one good last one.
While UCLA’s spring game at 5 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Bowl will be scaled back because of injuries, the players are approaching the game as if they have just one more shot to stake their claim to a starting spot.
“They only remember the last one,” said senior running back Johnathan Franklin, who has one of a handful of spots that are locked up without question. “It’s going to be a lasting impression. I’m not going to say they’ll base they’re entire judgment off the spring game, but that will be what they’ll remember us for.”
How much of a chance they’ll actually get to make some memories, that’s still in question.
Not only will the physicality be scaled back simply because of the sheer numbered of injured players, but offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone made it clear that he’s not about to give anything away.
“We’re going to be pretty vanilla,” Mazzone said. “Nothing earth-shattering. We want to give them the chance to play with good tempo, make good decisions. We have to tighten a nut over here, put a little oil over there.”
Who’ll drive the machine remains the biggest going in – and likely coming out – of the spring game.
The UCLA quarterback battle wages on and the coaching staff is being relatively mum, as Mora said he knew the distribution of the reps but wouldn’t reveal them going into the game. Mazzone makes it clear that he’s not basing any decision on just one day.
“I’ve been looking hard at the last week, week-and-a-half,” Mazzone said. “Can a guy consistently do this? Not can he flash for one drive and everyone thinks he’s the best thing ever. Can he do it snap after snap?”