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UCLA football looks toward end of spring camp with Spring Showcase

Coach Chip Kelly smiles during spring practice. Kelly and UCLA football will compete in the Spring Showcase on Saturday. (Ashley Kenney/Photo editor)

football


Spring Showcase
Saturday, 9 a.m.

Drake Stadium
Pac-12 Networks

By Jon Christon

April 22, 2022 7:49 p.m.

The Bruins are set to showcase their spring skills.

UCLA football will partake in its annual Spring Showcase on Saturday morning at Drake Stadium. The competition will highlight the near end of the Bruins’ spring camp, which is scheduled to run through the end of April.

While other programs across the country traditionally compete in spring games to usher in the offseason, UCLA’s showcase will liken more to practice. The Bruins will utilize both situational and individual work in an offense versus defense setting.

After coach Chip Kelly said the showcase is a glorified practice, defensive back John Humphrey added that Saturday will just be another day for the blue and gold.

“It’s a lifestyle for me,” Humphrey said. “Every day is a showcase.”

Kelly said the format allows his team to focus on some of the specificities of the sport as it begins to look toward next season.

Whereas a scrimmage holds the variability of a live game, the showcase’s format will allow the blue and gold to create potential game scenarios that the team wants to work on.

“Sometimes you just scrimmage, and the ball doesn’t get to the red zone, then you’re not getting red zone work,” Kelly said. “We’ll specifically move the ball situationally to different spots on the field and then try to get into different situations.”

The Bruins will work on a variety of situational work, according to Kelly, including third downs, two-minute drills, red zone situations, special teams and more.

UCLA has not been able to work on those opportunities in a game setting since November when it beat California in what would be its last game of the 2021 season.

“You can get a little bit more specific in terms of what you’re trying to get accomplished,” Kelly said. “All those things in football that are really the difference in winning and losing.”

One way the showcase will differ from a typical practice is the atmosphere. UCLA held last year’s spring showcase at Wasserman Football Center without spectators. This year, the Bruins will compete in Drake Stadium – the home of UCLA track and field – with free admission for all fans.

For newcomers on the team, Saturday will mark their first taste of the Bruin faithful.

“Absolutely ready to see the fans,” said defensive end Grayson Murphy, who transferred from North Texas in the offseason alongside his twin brother, defensive end Gabriel Murphy. “This is the first time since we’ve been at UCLA that we get to perform in front of fans, so we’re ready to put on a show.”

(Lauren Kim/Daily Bruin)
Defensive end Grayson Murphy (left) performs a drill while his twin brother defensive end Gabriel Murphy (right) watches on during spring practice. (Lauren Kim/Daily Bruin)

After the showcase, UCLA will hold an autograph session with the players and spectators, something the Bruins have not been able to do in the past two years because of the pandemic.

Kelly said the ability to reconnect with the fanbase over the offseason will build momentum for the new campaign.

“There’s a little bit of, ‘Get back to a sense of normalcy,’ because of what everybody has been through,” Kelly said. “So that’s an important thing for our players to get an opportunity to reach back out to our fanbase.”

The Bruins will begin showcasing their spring skills at 9 a.m. on Pac-12 Network.

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Jon Christon | Sports senior staff
Christon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously the Sports editor on the men's basketball and football beats and the assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. Christon was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and softball beats.
Christon is currently a Sports senior staff writer. He was previously the Sports editor on the men's basketball and football beats and the assistant Sports editor on the women's basketball, softball, men's tennis and women's tennis beats. Christon was previously a contributor on the women's basketball and softball beats.
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