UCLA football: No more gutty little Bruins around Westwood
Sal Alosi, the strength and conditioning coach for UCLA football, received a $40,000 bump in pay this year, from $175,000 to $215,000.
The Bruins slinked home from the Bridgepoint Holiday Bowl after getting a Texas-sized whuppin’ from Baylor. They were outmanned in a 49-26 rout.
“Our guys felt coming out of that game that Baylor was big and more physical than us,” Coach Jim Mora said. “That wasn’t the whole game, but it was something we could control. I think we did a good job attacking that all off-season. I think we have closed that gap.”
Ellis McCarthy is Exhibit A.
McCarthy, a redshirt freshman defensive lineman, had two knee surgeries last year and ballooned up to around 350 pounds. Now he is a lean 320, showing off his agility on the first day of training camp by making a diving interception on a tipped pass.
“I can make that burst,” McCarthy said. “If I find myself stuck behind the line of scrimmage, and see the quarterback running with the ball, I can get there.”
Defensive line coach Angus McClure said, “We needed to be bigger and stronger, and a little leaner. Now we are. The big thing will be maintaining that strength throughout the season.”
The difference has been apparent on both sides of the ball.
“Our guys have more energy and are able to move around,” offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said. “In drills last year, guys were tired halfway through practice. Now they just go. They play at a different level of confidence because they are in such great shape.”
Sophomore tackles Simon Goines and Torian White have beefed up while redistributing some girth.
“Torian played at 265 at times last year, now he’s 290 with low body fat,” Mora said. “Simon was like a deer in the headlights last year, now he has transformed his body. McCarthy, he’s still big, but he looks different. He is moving and is light on his feet.”
Mora lays that at Alosi’s feet. He is the first strength and condition coach at UCLA assigned only to football.
“I think it is so critical to have a strength and condition coach committed 100% football,” Mora said. “He has four other people working with him. That’s Athletic Director Dan Guerrero recognizing a need. It’s going to be fun to see where these young guys go the next couple years.”
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