UCLA football: Takeaways from the spring game

UCLA Spring game notesucla bruins

As Coach Jim Mora continues to review film and make evaluations from the spring game, here are a few takeaways to consider:

  • WR Devin Lucien was active with 5 catches for 79 yards. Jordan Payton was all over the field with 8 catches on the day. No other player had more than 2 catches in the game. The raises the question: does this solidify the receiver position with two guys stepping up big or does make it a question mark with no one else making plays.
  • Owa Odighizuwa missed last season and came back hungry with constant pressure tying a team-high in sacks with 2. He is a former 5-star recruit and if he remains healthy, he should do a fine job replacing Anthony Barr’s pass rushing presence this year.
  • Ishmael Adams made his presence felt being active all game. He had one of two interceptions on the day. His play was one of the reasons receivers didn’t have many catches.
  • Myles Jack has done everything he has needed to do to have a bigger season this year than last. He is active all over the field and is a legitimate two-way talent.
  • There is still no clear number one running back with a mix of a couple big plays and many neutral plays. Brett Hundley’s Heisman hopes will improve if he is the leading rusher on the team again, but the team will be better off if another player can step up and carry some of the load.
  • Kenny Orjioke, a player I highlighted to help replace Anthony Barr and Jordan Zumwalt, was not present at the game. Coach Mora had nothing to say about his whereabouts, and Orjioke is still expected to have a large role at linebacker this year.

This year will be exciting for the Bruins. Following Hundley’s Heisman campaign will be exciting. Other players at the running back and wide receiver position will need to step up to help him, but Hundley will no doubt shoulder most of the load. He is talented enough to do so, and Coach Mora will help him in any way he can. The defense was a concern of mine before the game, but with the play of Odighizuwa, Jack, and Adams, this unit has enough players capable of making big plays. As with most spring games, the coaches only show a limited amount of the playbook. It will be interesting to see how Coach Jeff Ulbrich can command this defense and how OC Noel Mazzone can continue to make use of Brett Hundley’s talents.

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