Spring Practice Begins
At 7:25 a.m., the team broke into smaller groups. Kickers were kicking, defense was broken up into position groups while coaches had them work on stances, footwork, hand positioning and hitting at the point of attack. The offense was on the other side of the field getting prepped for the upcoming drills.
At one point I heard a coach yell a John Wooden quote to his defensive players, “be quick, but don’t hurry.” It looks like Kelly’s staff has not only possessed UCLA, but UCLA has possessed the staff.
At 7:35 a.m., the drills began. Quarterbacks and receivers were lining up practicing routes, runners were practicing handoffs and the defense was working on fundamentals on the far field.
One interesting thing about the QB/WR drills was that a two QBs were throwing to the WRs running two different routes, a way to get more reps in to more QBs. The same happened with running/handoff drills. There were four separate drills running at once. Two QBs and their group of RBs were side by side, facing two other QB/RB sets, basically running more drills in the limited time they had. This is a staple of Chip Kelly football. Go fast, go now, get in as much as you can.
There were not a lot of standout plays, but one player that had a few highlight catches was Theo Howard who caught a 40-yard corner route two steps before going out of bounds in individual drills.
WR Damian Alloway also had a nice catch as he pulled in a 40-yard reception in the end zone with a defender giving him little space. The speed that I saw at practice was good, but I think there is a lot more Kelly has in his back pocket. For now, it was about getting everyone on the same page.