UCLA OC Jedd Fisch on Start of Spring Practice

Apr. 6 -- UCLA's new offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch talked after UCLA's second practice of spring Thursday, discussing the installation of the new offense, the response from the players, Josh Rosen and more...

UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch answered questions from the media after Thursday's practice. 

On what he's seen so far:

I'm excited about the way everybody works. There is a definite mindset of focus and concentration and it means something to everybody on this field. Offensively, it has been fun how much they've embraced the opportunity to learn a new offense and really have been excited about it.

On how much different it will be from the previous offense:

I don't know, I wasn't here or watched much film of what it was. Actually, I don't know really know that answer.

On similarities to his previous offenses:

I think that there will certainly be plays we brought in at all the spots, Michigan, Jacksonville, Miami, but each year you learn and grow and see whats working best and not working best and what players you have. Everyone has a different skill set.  Im trying to break that streak and have the same quarterback for two years. We look at what they do best, what receivers do best. In the running game, we have to see what they do best. 

On distributing the ball:

I think it's always good to get a lot of guys touches and opportunities if they deserve it.  If you went back and looked at Michigan, I think 90% of the offense came from three guys in the passing game. The running game was more dispersed. In Jacksonville, we had guys that almost set the record, two receivers had over 40 receptions as freshman and Marqise Lee had 39. It's really about all we have and what we can do.

On improving the running game:

I'm really excited about Coach (Hank) Fraley, Coach (DeShaun) Foster, those two guys will do tremendous jobs. Having Coach Rip (Scherer) for a second year is big and we'll have a great tight end coach, running back coach, line coach. I think you marry your pass game up.  I hope to have a nice run/pass marriage. And hopefully everyone understands what it takes to have a good running game, you have to fight for the extra yard, make the explosive play if it's there. There is always a lot of runs for 2-3 yards, but the ones that let you have big rushing days, its the ones you can break, a 38-yard run, a 50-yard run, and the rest are what they are.  It helps you be a great running team. 

On why he doesn't watch the previous years film:

I always think its tricky.  Fortunately, unfortunately, I've been in a lot of places in year one, year one in Michigan, in Jacksonville, in Miami, in Seattle, so when you go to those places in year one, there aren't a lot of holdovers, so you start trying to judge on the staff before you or guess and I'm not in to either. I'd rather speak in facts and non-judgmental.  I wouldn't know what they were told, what they were assigned on a certain play. I don't want to sit there and look at the film and guess. I didn't see much value. 

On if that makes spring more important:

No question, it makes it super important. We're trying to run a lot of plays to see what our guys can do.  See who can step up and be good at what we do. I want to see who is good at what we do. We as a staff want to evaluate our guys every day.  We're saying can this guy run that route, can he run the ball on an outside route or a power scheme or are we a better team when we run inside zone.

On his impression of the quarterbacks:

I'm excited about how hard they compete, how hard they work. Josh (Rosen) is a very, very good passer. He really cares a lot about the game. He's really working hard at it. He's really embraced what we asked of him.  Trusting what we tell him.  We might ask him to do something different, we want to help him get higher and better.  He's been phenomenal to coach and we know his talent level is extremely high. Really enjoy the younger guys, Devon (Modster) and Matt (Lynch) and also, Austin (Burton) arrived on campus on Saturday and we're super impressed with the way he carries himself. I've been around guys that are young and never been in the room, eyes and mouth wide open, and he's not like that. He's embracing it and smart.  

On where the offense is in grasping the playbook:

We've got some work to do there, but that's ok, it's only the second day of practice. We have 13 more of those and then it's really up to them. You're a little different from the NFL, where you can take them all the way through June. Here, come April 29th, they're on their own. That's where they have to thrive, they have to become the absolute best.  Looking at cut-ups, looking at video, to be really good.

On what he's teaching Rosen that is new:

There is always going to be a different coaching voice. Maybe there was a play he used to run, that there was one read, and now there is a different read. Maybe the way you take a snap, the drops back, there is always going to be a little flavor we add, a new staff, a new coach. Maybe he learned it one way, I know it another, so we come to a nice compromise. What's the best way for him to do it. I think he would say we're challenging him a little bit to come out of his comfort zone. On the other hand, I'll come out of my comfort zone. The fundamentals to the reads.

On if he compares Rosen to any other quarterback:

I've been thinking that a lot, and there is traits of many, but they've all been a little unique and a little different of a skill set. I would hate to compare him to somebody and that becomes the story.  We don't want the story to become he's the next anything, our goal is for him to become the first Josh Rosen. 

On getting familiar with Pac-12 defenses:

My family hasn't moved up here yet so I have a lot of time.  I've been able to get a little feel for what we're playing and really spending a lot of time, now that we have some film to look at, we can get a nice sense of where we stand and hopefully Saturday's practice will be better than today's.

On what kind of label he'd put on this offense:

Just an offense. One in which we try to play ball, move the ball the best we can with the guys we have and we like to look for matchups if we can find them and find different guys who can run the same plays, maybe a tight end for one play, a receiver for another and a running back for another. Run what I'm accustomed to running and I've been around for most of my career, see what our guys do best. We don't really label our offense, just hopefully one we can move the ball.

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