Players adjust to hiring of new quarterbacks coach ahead of 2021 football season
Rising senior quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson will have a new quarterbacks coach for the first time in his UCLA football career, as Ryan Gunderson will be his new man on the sideline come fall. (Liz Ketcham/Daily Bruin senior staff)
By Jack Perez
May 1, 2021 2:27 p.m.
The Bruins will have a new man in Dorian Thompson-Robinson’s ear.
In the same offseason that it promoted a new wide receivers coach, UCLA football also hired Ryan Gunderson in February to take over as quarterbacks coach following the departure of Dana Bible, who held the position since 2018 when coach Chip Kelly took the reins in Westwood.
Gunderson comes over from San Jose State after helping the Spartans claim their first-ever Mountain West title. With the help of All-Mountain West Second Team quarterback Nick Starkel, the Spartan passing offense ranked 19th in the nation in passing yards per game. UCLA was 68th in the same category during the 2020 season.
Rising senior quarterback Thompson-Robinson – the incumbent starter – said he has taken a liking to his new coach almost immediately.
“Coach Gunderson has done a phenomenal job, really a player’s coach,” Thompson-Robinson said. “(He’s) somebody I can go to. I’m in his office at all times of the day. … It’s just getting a new face and a new voice in there.”
Bible left quite a legacy over his four-plus decades of coaching. Before he finished up his career on Kelly’s staff, he had previously served on the offensive side of the ball at Boston College, Stanford, North Carolina State and others. He also had two stops in the NFL with the Philadelphia Eagles and San Francisco 49ers – the latter as an advisor to Kelly’s team.
Rising redshirt sophomore quarterback Chase Griffin praised Bible for his time developing his game and sounded hopeful about the direction Gunderson was taking the unit.
“I want to thank coach Bible for his time here,” Griffin said. “I think he definitely had an impact on coming in working with him every day. I think that just like I grew under coach Bible, I can grow with coach (Gunderson) as well.”
NFL Draft updates
While neither was picked on the first day of the NFL Draft, two Bruins are ready to make their mark at the professional level.
Osa Odighizuwa and Demetric Felton had to wait until the third and sixth rounds, respectively, before they learned where they would be playing next season. Odighizuwa was picked by the Dallas Cowboys, and Felton by the Cleveland Browns.
However, even before the pair was drafted, coach Chip Kelly said both will excel in the league.
“What they typify – their work ethic, their drive, their love for the game of football – is what the NFL wants,” Kelly said. “They don’t have to pretend to be something that they’re not. They’re both NFL players.”
Kelly added he did leave them with a bit of advice.
“The one thing I told them, don’t get caught up on when or where you go because that’s not in your control,” Kelly said. “What’s in your control is whenever you get that call, the next day you’re ready to go be the best player you can for that organization.”