UCLA spring football standouts: Offense

Andre James (top), Eldridge Massington (bottom right) and Brandon Stephens (bottom left) were among the standouts on offense for UCLA during spring practice. (Photos by John Cordes/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images and Keith Birmingham/SCNG/Pasadena Star-News)

UCLA finished another phase of its offseason last Saturday. Players now hit the weights while coaches hit the recruiting trail. The Bruins will reconvene in late July for training camp, but let’s break down some of what happened during April.

Here are four things we learned about the Bruins during spring practice

Here are three of my standouts on the offensive side of the ball. (Three defensive players coming tomorrow.)

WR Eldridge Massington

Eldridge Massington #82 of the UCLA Bruins catches a pass as Jace Whittaker #17 of the Arizona Wildcats defends during the first half of a game at the Rose Bowl on October 1, 2016 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images)

If you can, forgive Massington for his drop on the first play of the spring game because he had an impressive spring overall. With the help of new wide receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty, Massington has embraced his 6-foot-2, 212-pound frame and the physical advantage it gives him against defenders. He uses his body to gain separation and it showed during spring practices. After he admitted that the fundamentals “got away from (him)” last year, he has a renewed focused on details. It applies to everything he does during practice and after. Continue reading “UCLA spring football standouts: Offense” »

UCLA spring football week 4 wrap up

Jaelan Phillips (15) rushes the quarterback past running back Brandon Stephens (20) during UCLA’s spring game. (Photo by Keith Birmingham/SCNG/Pasadena Star-News)

After four weeks and 15 spring practices, the players part ways with their coaches heading into the summer. Armed with their playbooks and weight-lifting instructions from strength coach Sal Alosi, the Bruins must now push the team to the next level on their own.

“It’s very important leading into the season that we haven’t lost track of what we’ve accomplished this far already,” safety Adarius Pickett said. “These next three, four months going into the season will be real critical for our success this season.”

More analysis of UCLA’s entire spring practice coming Monday, but here are all the links from the fourth week of practice: Continue reading “UCLA spring football week 4 wrap up” »

UCLA spring football day 15: Bruins move into ‘summer of improvement’

Bolu Olorunfunmi (4) bowls over Darnay Holmes (bottom) during the UCLA football Spring Showcase on Saturday, April 29, 2017 in Los Angeles. (Photo by Keith Birmingham, Pasadena Star-News/SCNG)

Kenny Young and Nate Meadors can be friends again.

The two were briefly pitted against each other in the team’s Blue vs. White spring game on Saturday, but after Young’s White Team won 17-10 over Meadors’ Blue squad, the two will reconcile over a dinner of Roscoe’s chicken and waffles on Meadors’ dime. (Meadors was hurt and didn’t play in the game, but is still on the hook for the pregame bet, Young said.)

But more importantly than chicken-fueled bets for the Bruins is the completion of their spring campaign and the beginning of the next phase of their offseason.

“This is the summer of improvement,” offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said.

With their third offense in as many years after their worst season of the Jim Mora era, the Bruins enter a critical summer during which the players must take responsibility to push the team forward.

— More on UCLA’s summer plans.

— Photos from Saturday’s scrimmage

— Video: Jonathan Khamis and I break down the spring game from Drake Stadium

Video interviews

Here are notes/observations from the spring game: Continue reading “UCLA spring football day 15: Bruins move into ‘summer of improvement’” »