UCLA Football: 5 position battles to watch for in Spring Training

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Head coach Chip Kelly of the UCLA Bruins during warm up before his home opening debut against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Rose Bowl on September 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 01: Head coach Chip Kelly of the UCLA Bruins during warm up before his home opening debut against the Cincinnati Bearcats at Rose Bowl on September 1, 2018 in Pasadena, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /
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(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images)
(Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) /

4. The Cornerback Spot Where Darnay Holmes Isn’t

Elijah Gates vs. Jay Shaw

The Bruins are losing a solid cornerback in Nate Meadors who was a hard-hitting veteran that fans loved. Unfortunately, with Meadors graduating, the UCLA coaches need to find his replacement and they have a lot to choose from.

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Both Meadors and Darnay Holmes did a solid job of locking up the sidelines for the Bruins last season and UCLA wants to keep as much of that consistency as possible. That will work with Holmes retaining his starting position at one cornerback spot, but who is going to be his new partner in crime at the other?

The secondary has a lot of depth, but they’ve been slightly inconsistent. That doesn’t mean they haven’t been productive, but the Bruins need someone to stand out and take that position for themselves.

Elijah Gates seems like the most likely candidate as he had a very productive 2018 season. Last year, he was 7th on the team in total tackles (39) and added five pass breakups and one interception to his stats.

His closest competition will be Jay Shaw who played limited minutes last season but showed a lot of potential. If his development takes off in the Spring, then he could close the gap to take that starting spot.