LOS ANGELES — Coach Chip Kelly and backmost Dorian Thompson-Robinson are opening their 4th seasons astatine UCLA this weekend, and Thompson-Robinson is speedy to admit however accelerated clip has flown by.
“It truly each feels similar a blur being successful college,” helium said. “All the years benignant of consciousness the aforesaid arsenic you’re rolling done it, but evidently it’s a antithetic feeling and guys cognize what’s astatine stake. We got the team, finally.”
Thompson-Robinson has watched galore of the players connected this year’s roster amended and advancement on with him. Redshirt inferior Kyle Philips has started astatine receiver since helium was a redshirt freshman, and juniors Sean Rhyan and Duke Clemens are opening their 3rd play arsenic starters connected the violative line.
The Bruins’ discourtesy produced an mean of 35 points per crippled successful 2020, which ranked 2nd successful the Pac-12 Conference and 20th successful the nation. The discourtesy besides finished 2nd successful the league and 21st nationally successful full yards per crippled (455), but Thompson-Robinson told reporters astatine the conference’s media time that “scoring touchdowns and winning games” is what makes Kelly smile.
The second hasn’t travel arsenic easy. The Bruins are 10-21 implicit the past 3 seasons nether Kelly, who mislaid conscionable 7 games successful 4 years arsenic Oregon’s caput coach.
“(Kelly is) conscionable arsenic important arsenic everyone other connected this team,” Thompson-Robinson said erstwhile asked astir wanting to triumph games for Kelly and beryllium helium is the close manager for this team. “We’re going to spell retired determination and execute and bash what we person to do.”
A triumph against Hawaii successful Saturday afternoon’s play opener successful the Rose Bowl would springiness UCLA its archetypal nonconference triumph nether Kelly.
The Bruins cognize they person to bounds their turnovers if they privation to nutrient a winning season. Twelve of their 13 turnovers successful 2020 came successful their 4 losses, and opponents scored connected 11 of those 12 turnovers (71 points) successful the losses.
Thompson-Robinson is locked successful arsenic the starter but Ethan Garbers has earned the backup job aft transferring from Washington.
Garbers adds extent astatine a presumption that includes returning players Chase Griffin and Chase Artopoeus.
Griffin is the astir experienced subordinate extracurricular of Thompson-Robinson successful the backmost room, aft playing successful 4 games past play and starting 2 of them.
Griffin kept the Bruins competitory successful a losing effort astatine Oregon and earned his archetypal triumph arsenic a assemblage starter astatine location against Arizona.
The backfield remains successful bully signifier and is expected to prime up wherever things near disconnected past play contempt opening with a antithetic starter for the 3rd consecutive season.
UCLA’s rushing onslaught ranked 2nd successful the Pac-12 and 30th successful the federation astatine 135.7 yards per game. The Bruins’ 5.1 yards per transportation mean was their champion people since they averaged 5.4 during the 1976 season.
With Demetric Felton moving connected to NFL’s Cleveland Browns, Brittain Brown volition bash much of the dense lifting arsenic the pb back.
Brown served successful a complementary relation past season, moving arsenic portion of a 1-2 punch with Felton.
Zach Charbonnet transferred successful from Michigan and volition determination into the relation Brown played past year.
Kyle Philips proved to beryllium a reliable people each of the past 2 seasons, and there’s nary question astir the extent disposable astatine the position, adjacent with the suspension of Delon Hurt, but there’s a drop-off successful accumulation aft Philips.
Philips’ 38 receptions ranked 2nd among Pac-12 receivers and archetypal among the Bruins successful 2020, erstwhile helium finished with 370 yards and 2 touchdowns. Chase Cota (11 catches, 79 yards, 2 TDs) returns arsenic the No. 2 enactment astatine the position.
Sophomores Matt Sykes and Logan Loya could instrumentality a measurement guardant this twelvemonth aft their archetypal afloat offseason arsenic Bruins. Cota said helium has noticed a important quality successful the duo already.
Redshirt inferior Greg Dulcich provides stableness arsenic the archetypal returning starter astatine choky extremity since 2018, due to the fact that Devin Asiasi (2019) and Caleb Wilson (2016-18) decided to forgo their respective elder seasons to participate the NFL draft.
Dulcich averaged 19.9 yards per drawback (13th successful the nation) and 73.9 receiving yards per crippled past twelvemonth – some marks ranked 2nd successful the state among choky ends successful 2020. Dulcich’s 167 receiving yards against USC marked the seventh consecutive play successful which a UCLA choky extremity logged a 100-yard game, and helium finished the play with a team-high 517 yards and 5 touchdowns connected 26 catches.
Mike Martinez and Michael Ezeike person looked awesome passim the offseason and volition find ways into the rotation arsenic contributors.
The violative enactment is 1 of UCLA’s biggest strengths, with each 5 starters and immoderate cardinal contributors returning.
UCLA mightiness commencement the play without halfway Sam Marrazzo, who has been plagued by an wounded suffered successful the last crippled of the 2020 season. Redshirt inferior Jon Gaines volition commencement astatine halfway connected Saturday.
Gaines is the latest illustration of the versatility the enactment has due to the fact that of its depth.
“That’s the convoy close there,” Brown said of the line. “I archer them each the clip conscionable springiness maine a crease due to the fact that those guys are immoderate monsters up there. … I conscionable cognize we person 1 of the astir diversion lines successful the nation.”