The Bruins are still winless, but that doesn’t concern Chip Kelly.
“There’s never a panic button. … You don’t tear up the root of the tree to see if it’s growing, you just keep watering it,” said the coach following Monday’s practice. “You keep growing it and doing what you’re supposed to do and that’s what happens over the course of time.”
After falling to San Diego State for the first time in the program’s history and starting the season with back-to-back losses for the second straight year, Kelly said he thinks there could have been a correlation between UCLA football’s (0-2) practices last week and the result of Saturday’s game.
“Monday and Tuesday weren’t great, probably a hangover from the Cincinnati game, and we talked to our players about that,” Kelly said. “That you can’t let a team beat you twice, so you how you train during the week is really how you play on Saturday, so we have to really work on the beginning of the week, and making sure we have a good beginning of the week.”
Redshirt freshman tight end Greg Dulcich – who caught his first career touchdown pass on Saturday – said that while the team may have let the season-opening loss to Cincinnati hinder its mindset this past week, he knows the players have to keep concentrated on what lies ahead.
“You kind of just go into each practice trying to give it as best as you can and you can’t really think about what happened before,” Dulcich said. “Whether or not we did, we just got to move past whatever affected us last game to focus on what’s coming up.”
Dulcich also said he thought Monday’s practice was a step in the right direction, but added that the Bruins still have a lot of things to correct before taking the field against No. 5 Oklahoma on Saturday.
UCLA is without a win through two weeks for the second straight season, and there isn’t a break on the upcoming schedule any time soon. If the Bruins fall to the Sooners, they will have to attempt to capture their first victory of the season on the road, either at No. 20 Washington State or Arizona over the following two weeks.
While the outlook of the season doesn’t appear to be as promising as it was two weeks ago from the outside, freshman tight end Mike Martinez said the team’s overall vibe is still positive and that the players are simply looking at the current situation as a challenge.
“Really, it’s just adversity – what are we going to do now?” Martinez said. “We have a whole room full of guys who are hungry and we just want to compete and we just want to prove ourselves so that’s really just the mindset of executing and just playing the way we know how to play.”