UCLA WR Eldridge Massington Talks Spring Ball

Apr. 21 -- UCLA wide receiver Eldridge Massington spoke about spring practice, the frustration of last year, correcting the drops this season, new position coach Jimmie Dougherty and more...

On how the new offense is going:

I love it. At first it was a little struggle, but now it’s coming together and it’s looking good. 

On how it’s different from last year’s offense:

I think it’s just more organized. We pay more attention to the details and coach Fisch is a great coach, coach Dougherty, all the coaches, they’re great. It’s almost the same, just more details. 

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On offseason improvements:

I pay attention more to the little details. Last season (I) kind of left the fundamentals of things and the little things alone, and it kind of got away from me. But this year, I’m more focused on that, I’m honed in on the details. 

On coach Mora saying he doesn’t want you to overtrain anymore: 

Now I go to the track when nobody’s looking. That’s been the thing with me and coach Mora and all the staff – they always think I overwork. But to me, that’s just how I roll. That’s how I did it my whole life. I’m always just on the go. I tell coach Mora that’s like my therapy – going out and working out, doing stuff, active stuff; I just like to do that. But this year, we agreed that I would just do more treatment stuff for my body and the recovery, instead of actually going out and doing intense workouts after practice or on off days and stuff. 

On how tough last season was personally with all of the offense’s struggles:

It was extremely tough. I was frustrated a lot last year. But honestly, I moved on. We moved on. Left last year in last year, and now I’m ready for this year. 

On what it’s been like to finally have Josh Rosen back:

I mean, it’s great, because he’s a great quarterback. Just to see him out here slinging it and throwing it how he is, it’s fun actually – it’s fun to watch and fun to be a part of. 

On what it’s like working with coach Dougherty:

He wants us to be way more physical. Especially, to play to through our strength; we’re big guys – me, Alex (Van Dyke) and Jordan (Lasley) – so he wants us to be physical, and (to) let the defense feel our presence and our speed. He’s so detailed and so into the details, and the small things. If the route is at 18, and you take it to 18 and a half, then they’re on you in film about everything. They don’t let anything slide. Not saying that our coaches in the past did, but I’m just saying: the new staff is really honed in on our details.

On how the receiver group has addressed its issues with drops from last year:

What a lot of people don’t realize is: Last year, Josh (Rosen) was recovering most of the offseason, so we didn’t really get a chance to really throw a lot in the offseason last year. We really just came out in camp and tried to get a chemistry going with him. But this year, it was like every day this offseason. We were out there three or four times a week, all of us were out there. Every week we had to get at least 500 catches on the jugs, we just get a lot of catches after practice and before practice. So we are just getting more reps and more comfortable catching the ball. Last year, we were just out there.

On whether it’s been more difficult to learn this year’s offense or last year’s:

This offense is harder to learn, only because of its new terminology. Last year, it was still pro-style, I would say, but the terminology of what we were using before (under Noel Mazzone), they still kept that the same. But this year it was like a whole different terminology; new words, the plays are a little longer. Coach Fisch, obviously, he came from the NFL, so he brings that style to it. So it’s difficult. And they put more on us in the installs – they don’t baby us as far as how many plays (they’re adding) or what they’re putting on us. They expect us to learn everything fast, to be in the books. We have install like two or three going in tomorrow. They want it perfect. In order for that, you have to go through and study, and actually read your plays. It’s little things like that. Putting in extra time, pretty much. 

On whether there’s been more emphasis on run blocking this year than last year:

Yes. I mean, we always emphasized run blocking and that was something we always prided ourselves on, was how we blocked in the run game. But this year it’s more of: You have to know where the play is going. It’s not just you going up and blocking a guy. This year, if the play is going to the left, and you’re on the right, you have to get that guy over there and the left side. And you have to go get him; there’s more creative angles. And they expect you to do it. If you don’t do it, you’re not going to play. 

On whether the attention to detail with route-running is applied to blocking as well:

It’s the same thing. Tuesday, we were in film, and we didn’t even watch any of our passes. We watched all of our run plays. And we just honed in on that. Because it’s the little things like that – that’s what separates you from being good and great. That’s what turns a third-and-1 from just getting a first down to springing that run for a touchdown. 

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