Thursday, November 15

Football team hangs out off field, welcomes new teammates for upcoming season


Rising senior running back Soso Jamabo and UCLA football will take the field for the first time under coach Chip Kelly on Saturday. Jamabo ran for 446 yards and six touchdowns last season. (Michael Zshornack/Photo editor)

Rising senior running back Soso Jamabo and UCLA football will take the field for the first time under coach Chip Kelly on Saturday. Jamabo ran for 446 yards and six touchdowns last season. (Michael Zshornack/Photo editor)


Saturdays are for the boys, and Sundays are for the offensive linemen.

At least, that’s the case for UCLA football.

The offensive linemen spend most of their time in the trenches on the football field, so off the field, they opt for bonding events at more relaxing locations.

Two Sundays ago, it was the beach and dinner at The Cheesecake Factory, and the following Sunday was Fat Sal’s and a movie in Westwood.

It wasn’t lost on their teammates, especially the ones they block for.

“They haven’t invited us yet,” said rising senior running back Soso Jamabo. “But we mentioned something this week because we were a little butthurt. I think we’ll be in on those from now on.”

Looking ahead

The next O-line Sunday – or proposed offensive line and running back summit – could come the day after UCLA’s spring game this weekend.

Barring any last-minute changes, it will be the public’s first view of a full-speed Chip Kelly offense. At this point, Jamabo said the team knows enough of the playbook to compete in an actual game, but he’s expecting more additions before UCLA suits up Sept. 1 against Cincinnati.

Kelly’s offense could also benefit Jamabo by letting him run more routes either out of the backfield or split wide as a receiver.

“The running back has a lot of routes in the offense,” said Jamabo, who caught 17 passes for 204 yards last season. “I feel like as the offense continues to grow, the running back’s role will obviously continue to grow as well.”

That would be a stark contrast to UCLA’s offenses from the previous two seasons, which have averaged 113.4 and 84.2 rushing yards per game, respectively. Each of Kelly’s offenses in his four years at Oregon averaged at least 231.7 yards on the ground each game.

The Bruins also have a message after enduring losing seasons the past two years.

“We’re out here to play football,” Jamabo said of the impression he hopes to leave on fans. “It’s a new UCLA, a new mindset, and we’re coming.”

Freshman orientation

Only two members of UCLA’s 2018 recruiting class have enrolled early, and they happen to play the same position.

Wide receivers Chase Cota and Kyle Philips have already been learning Kelly’s playbook and working with receivers coach Jimmie Dougherty.

Philips enrolled in winter quarter and has been with the team since the beginning of spring practice, but an injury limited his participation over the past two weeks. Cota joined him shortly afterward, enrolling for spring quarter after missing the first six practices.

The two freshmen could be in line for immediate playing time with former wide receiver Jordan Lasley and former wide receiver Darren Andrews, who are leaving for the NFL.

Still, Cota and Phillips have to continue to adapt to a different style of coaching and different expectations from high school.

“I try to teach them or talk to them about little things that I can change, or that I changed, that I wish I had done earlier, so that they can progress quicker,” said rising redshirt senior receiver Christian Pabico. “Just a lot of teachable moments.”

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