With Spring Training and a potential Spring Game coming up in March, Go Joe Bruin takes a look back on last year’s UCLA Football Spring Game and compared it to what we saw during the 2018 season.
Now that the college football off-season is officially upon us and we begin to look forward to a probable April 20, 2019 UCLA Football Spring game, I thought it would be interesting to compare the 2018 spring game to the 2018 regular season.
I went back and watched last year’s spring game and generated a play log using the same format as our 2018 regular season log. The 2018 Spring Game play log is available here, and the results were not pretty for the offense.
Before we dive in, it’s important to note the mountain of caveats that apply when comparing the Spring game to the regular season. We have 60 snaps from the Spring (the TV broadcast casually missed some plays) to compare with 846 regular season plays, so small sample size limitations apply. This spring game took place as practice #15 for a brand new head coach, staff, program philosophy, and offensive scheme.
Several key regular season offense contributors were not participating (Wilton Speight, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Caleb Wilson, Chris Murray, Justin Murphy), and Joshua Kelley had not yet broken out (and he would have been rotating heavily even if he had). The Spring game was optimized for player evaluation over trying to win. Chip Kelly was not calling the plays; they had various assistants rotating play calling duties by series.
We did see Chip ordering when to go for it on 4th downs though. It’s safe to also assume the defensive scheme was very bland (4-3 soft man coverage with no blitzing). This spring game play log data, therefore, has very low fidelity and should be treated appropriately.