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Spring Football Roundup: May 3-7

May 7, 2021
Ethan Fernea (Photo: Jan Kim Lim)

The UCLA football team moved into the second full week of training beginning May 3 on Spaulding Field as it heads toward its August 28 season opener with Hawai'i on Spieker Field at the Rose Bowl.

Stephan Blaylock, who ranked second on the team in tackles last season with 42 and tied for the team lead with a pair of interceptions, talked about the play of the Bruin safeties early in the week. "As a safety group, I feel we did pretty well, he said. "We led the team in tackling and had the majority of the turnovers, too." Asked what he needed to work on, Blaylock responded, "Finishing games, getting better on my mental reps and just helping the guys out around the team so we can be more connected to one another while we are out there."

Blaylock/Lake Availability | Fernea/Coach Neuheisel Availability | Eboh/Shaw Availability

Ethan Fernea shifted late last season from wide receiver to running back after depth at the later position was depleted by injury and COVID protocols. The sixth-year senior is now lining up full time with the Bruin running backs and talked about the transition. "I am loving it," he said. "I can be in the room with Coach (DeShaun) Foster. He is really one of the first coaches I met when I got here. He has been here and done that and is an NFL guy. So, it is pretty awesome to be able to pick his brain throughout practice and in the meetings."

Head coach Chip Kelly added, "… I think we have found a diamond in the rough in Ethan Fernea … because when (Demetric) Felton was banged up at the end of the year we needed another running back. We had a couple of kids out with COVID and we were really down at that position and necessity is the mother of invention … we gave up some depth and moved Fernea over and he has done a really good job … he is one of the fastest kids on our team, he is almost 200 pounds, he is really physical and tough … he has really taken to Coach Foster."

Former Bruin quarterback and now first-year full-time assistant coach Jerry Neuheisel talked about his return and the special place that is UCLA. "Since I was born here in 1972, I think I always knew I was going to find my way back," he said. "I was eight years old when my dad was coaching the University of Washington in the Rose Bowl and I took a tour of this place. Most of the time, you do not really remember a lot of the memories from when you were eight years old, but I can't forget walking around here and I always knew I wanted to be here. I believe in this place. This place is unbelievably special and it is different than any other place in the country … And there is nothing like this place where you have a university that is daring enough to be great at everything they do. We are not just an academic school, we are not just a sports school … we are the No. 1 public university in the country … we play in the Rose Bowl, which has been ranked as the No. 1 stadium in college football … We have a basketball team that was just in the Final Four. This university has the guts to say we can be great at everything we do. Since I have been here, that is what I believe in."

UCLA football spring training continues through May 27.