LOS ANGELES — Darren Andrews can do nothing but watch. The senior wide receiver stands on the sideline, surrounded by the rest of his offensive teammates, and watches the UCLA defense jog across the field and back. He’s mad. He wanted to run.
That’s how these Bruins gloat. The unit that wins the designated competition period at practice gets to run while the other watches enviously. It’s also how these Bruins get better.
As UCLA passed the midway point of training camp Thursday, competition between the offense and defense remains high. The rivalry will fester for three more weeks on the practice field until UCLA’s season opener against Texas A&M, then it will all be worth it.
“Even though they’re running and we’re not, in our mind we gotta beat them, so in a way, we’re still working together for that same goal,” running back Bolu Olorunfunmi said. “Sept. 3, it’ll all come together on the field.”
The defense won the first two competitions of training camp and the offense got on the board with its first win Wednesday.
Olorunfunmi considers the UCLA defense “one of the best in the nation, if not No. 1.” On defense, the Bruins mix experience and youth with great talent at every level. They’re entering their third season in coordinator Tom Bradley’s system. Meanwhile, the offense is still getting its bearings under first-year coordinator Jedd Fisch.
“Every day is a battle,” Fisch said of competing with the defense. “It really makes it fun to scrap and claw and go against really, really good corners and really, really good defensive linemen and you really know you’re going against a really good Pac-12 defense so you can measure what your team looks like and you can know where we are offensively and where we need to be.”
While Thursday’s practice did not include an official competition period with an extra cardiovascular prize, the offense seemed to take another step forward. After leading the offense to a win on Wednesday, quarterback Josh Rosen remained sharp with throws down the middle to Andrews and pin-point passes toward the sideline to Christian Pabico.
Andrews said he gets mad when he watches the defense celebrate its victories, but it’s “a good mad” that motivates him to watch the practice film and get better. After he had to watch the offense collect its first win Wednesday, linebacker Kenny Young jokingly refused to admit defeat to a reporter.
While the unit that wins is afforded the opportunity…