UCLA's Thompson-Robinson is a mixed bag in Spring Showcase
June 3, 2021
BY ERIC LAMBKINS II
Special to the Culver City Observer
Fans of UCLA football want nothing more than to see the Bruins compete for a National Championship. After the team's "Spring Showcase," last week they should expect UCLA football to look like it always does -- an average team with a few bright spots.
With Bruin coach Chip Kelly opting for a cautious approach towards the spring work outs, the team has focused on remaining healthy. After last Thursday's practice, they were able to accomplish that mission. "The biggest fear was to lose someone to a long-term injury," Kelly said. "We get out of camp clean, and we're pleased from a health standpoint."
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic providing players with an extra year of eligibility, the Bruins tout 116 players on the roster. But the success and failure of this team hinges upon the performance of quarterback, and presumptive starter, Dorian Thompson-Robinson who was a mixed bag during the showcase.
What the Bruins lack is a culture of competition. If perfect practice makes perfect, successful programs use every rep to improve. Coaches demand players to focus and hone their technique. Players push teammates to their limits. At the moment, UCLA has no one to challenge Thompson-Robinson, and if the Bruins are to take a step forward as a program, their season will hinge upon Thompson-Robinson improving.
The athletic quarterback has the skills to make plays with his legs, but if UCLA is to compete for the Pac-12 South championship, and the conference title, or a major bowl game, Thompson-Robinson will have to make plays from the pocket. The rising senior made a tremendous 20-yard scamper for a touchdown on the opening play in the final team period, and he hit tight end Greg Dulcich on a remarkable 15-yard pass. However, the quarterback also missed open receivers, which highlights an inability to read the field.
Despite the shaky performance, Thompson-Robinson seems to be enjoying his last year of eligibility and relishing being in the moment. "I've been here for this going on my fourth year. Time is passing by, so I figured I'd enjoy it," Thompson-Robinson said. "Today was my last day of spring ball here, possibly. Just taking it every day, day by day, and making sure I enjoy every part of it and every moment of it and being able to celebrate with my teammates."
The Bruins still have time to take a step forward to compete for the conference title. The Bruins will need Thompson-Robinson to make his last year memorable.