Fans may be the big winners at UCLA’s spring showcase next week.
Bruins Coach Jim Mora said Thursday that he planned to stage a spring game on April 29 at Drake Stadium on campus as opposed to just drills and a scrimmage, as the team conducted last year, giving fans a more complete view of the new offense as UCLA tries to rebound from a 4-8 season.
“Our objective is to come out here for the spring game and make it an actual game,” Mora said. “That doesn’t mean all the special teams will be live, but we’d like to think that if we could stay healthy the way we have then we’re able to put together two squads and have a blue-versus-white actual game [at] Drake, which I think a lot of people want to see and I’d like to see us be able to accomplish.”
Mora said coaches had considered holding a draft to pick players for each team but would probably work cooperatively to split the teams as evenly as possible.
“I don’t want it to be a bloodbath,” Mora said. “I want it to be competitive.”
Part of the reason the Bruins can hold a spring game is because they have avoided major injuries in their first 10 practices. Linebacker De Chaun Holiday suffered a shoulder injury last week and defensive lineman Boss Tagaloa was slightly banged up Thursday, but no one appears to have been sidelined with any ailment that could impact his availability for fall camp.
“I’ve been impressed with the way guys have pushed through” minor injuries, Mora said. “I just see guys that are really trying to push through a little bit of pain and get better.”
The spring showcase will give many fans their first look at UCLA’s new offense. Backup quarterback Matt Lynch gave the most insightful description of it to date on Thursday, saying it was “kind of a different, more pro-style offense” based on concepts used by the NFL’s Atlanta Falcons and New England Patriots.
Lynch said the Bruins quarterbacks had watched video of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady and Falcons counterpart Matt Ryan in an attempt to learn how they should run their offense under Jedd Fisch, UCLA’s new offensive coordinator. Bruins quarterback Josh Rosen has looked increasingly sharp in recent practices, completing long touchdown passes Thursday to receivers Darren Andrews and Jordan Lasley.