UCLA OC Jedd Fisch Sees Offensive Progress

Apr. 14 -- UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch spoke about the progress he's seen this spring, the state of the run game and more...

On how the offense is progressing so far (six practices in)

We’re progressing, getting better. There’s flashes that are really promising, exciting. And I think that we definitely are beginning to learn the offense better so we can execute better. We have a chance to make some plays now down the field, the running game is improving – excited about that. And being able to hit some passes down the field. It’s been a better last two days, so hopefully we can progress and get there Saturday, we can be better. 

In what ways is the running game getting better?

Well, we’re blocking better, we’re running better, we’re lower. We’re at a better pad level, we’re getting through the line of scrimmage, advancing the football. We’re just having good contact periods; we’re getting some nice yardage out of some of the runs. 

On outside zone concepts being integrated into the offense

Yeah we run it all, we’ll run outside zone, inside zone, some gap schemes. But yeah they’re definitely doing a nice job with embracing what we’re trying to get done in the running game, and hopefully we’ll continue to improve the execution that we started. Really, the best execution has probably come in the last two practices. 

On how the competition period went in Thursday’s practice

We competed in two periods today – we competed in short yardage and we competed in third down. And then at the end a two-minute (drill), but that was not one that we counted. So we counted the competition of short yardage and third down.

On the offense finally winning a competitive period against the defense for the first time this spring

Well, we just have to win more than one period. But we try to have different periods every day. We choose one, maybe two, periods that we are going to consider a period that we’ll run after. And then whatever that period is, we wound up losing the last couple days on that competitive period. Today, we wound up being fortunate enough to get a couple wins. 

On yelling at Josh Rosen in practice about his command of the huddle

No, I think we’re just trying to demand a certain tempo in and out of the huddle, we’re trying to demand a way you call a play. We’re trying to really teach him and all of our quarterbacks, when you walk into a huddle, what your presence should look like; there’s moxi when you leave a huddle, there’s a way you leave a huddle, there’s a way you call a play in the huddle. And there’s an ownership, and you have to be an expert. We want to train our quarterbacks to be NFL quarterbacks, that is the mentality. So to do that, we are going to hold them to a standard of what an NFL practice sounds like, so you can’t not be able to call a play as fluently, or you can’t break a huddle in four parts – you have to break the huddle, attack the line of scrimmage like you mean it, with a sense of urgency. 

On the team phrase ‘get one percent better’ each day 

Yeah, coach Mora and coach Alosi have used that term before I got here, and it has just carried through. We tried to just continue to raise the bar. If we can get one percent better every single day, we feel as if we’ll make a little bit better tomorrow than today, a little bit better today than we were yesterday, we’ll have a chance to have good success. 

On whether there’s a battle for the starting spot at fullback

I’d say there’s a battle for the starting position and nine of the eleven positions probably. And that one (at fullback) is a big battle. That one is a full-on, strap-it-up and let’s see who can win in goal-line, let’s so who can win in short yardage, let’s see who can make plays for us. That one is a big-time battle, and they’re both competing very hard for it. 

On which players have firmly solidified their position on the first-team offense

(Aside from Josh Rosen at QB) I think we have a tackle and I think we have a center. So probably there’s a couple spots that we have some starters that are pretty much set. We have a tackle, we have a center, we have a quarterback that I assume will be the starters. And the other eight spots are wide open, and I love that. I think that’s the way you do it. It’s spring football. 

On how the players are embracing the open competition on offense

They’ve embraced it, because they know that’s just the way we’re going to do it. They know that you’re going to sit based on your depth chart (position) in the meeting room, you’re gonna go out with certain groups – the 1s, the 2s, the 3s, whoever it might be. We practice with a lot of fields, we try to get as many guys reps as possible, but they also know they’re being evaluated every day to try to get better. 

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