UCLA offensive coordinator and offensive line coach Justin Frye showed us how the Bruins’ approach to practice can be a model for the future, and his holistic approach to coaching line fundamentals.

0:25 — Setting the table for a post-COVID world

Chip Kelly’s approach to short, high-intensity practices was well ahead of its time. Could it be a blueprint for the future? Frye says right now, the Bruins are battling quarantine by trying to keep everything as normal as possible.

1:30 — Not “no”, but “whoa, let’s take a look”

A phrase you won’t hear often at UCLA practices? “No, we can’t do that.” As Frye applies Kelly's open-mindedness, it also expands what his coaches are able to do. 

2:50 — High school football: The most thankless profession

Frye, an Indiana native, grew up a coach’s son. He shares a story from his waterboy days that underscores his appreciation for the many hats that high school coaches wear.

5:40 — Frye’s philosophy with motivation

“Are you as hungry now as you were when you started your journey?” Frye asks. Part of keeping that fire and excitement as you move up the coaching ladder, he says, is a willingness to get out of your comfort zone.

7:00 — “Be the head coach of your position.”

Take pride in being the authority at your niche, Frye says. How do you get there? Great fundamentals, great execution and brutal honesty.

9:00 — Focus on execution, not scheme

Every play looks great on the drawing board, Frye reminds. But the players still have to go out and perform.

11:00 — Intro to UCLA’s practice structure and workflow

Frye talks about the process of teaching progressions built into his weekly gameplan.

17:40 — About that crazy win at Washington State

“What the heck just happened?” Frye recalled of the Bruins’ epic 67-64 comeback win over Washington State, one of the most talked-about games in years. But it also provided plenty of teaching moments.

19:15 — Weekly game prep thoughts

Frye goes over each day of the week’s practice approach:

  • Monday: ”Sticky noodles” and experimentation (19:25)
  • Tuesday: Gearing up to full speed reps (20:20)
  • Wednesday: Situational football (21:00)
  • Thursday: Short practice with “clean up” (22:00)
  • Friday: “Openers” (22:45)

23:45 — Remember: It’s a sprint, not a marathon

One thing coaches should take from his practice week? Frye says to remember to pace yourself. It’s a long week.

26:00 — A lesson on just how hard coaches actually work

“How are the coaches exhausted?” Frye recalls first asking himself upon joining a college football team. Oh, he found out real quick as a graduate assistant.

29:00 — Why Frye stays away from the five-man sleds

Defenders are rarely stagnant before the snap in today’s game. So why practice as if they are? Frye explains his back-to-basics approach with line drills.

31:00 — Frye’s drive block progression

Frye takes us inside all of the different drills and techniques he teaches, including:

  • Board drills (33:00)
  • Wide zone steps (33:40)
  • Gallop step (aka “up and in”) (34:30)
  • Bag progressions (35:00)
  • Firing out with a knee on a medicine ball (36:15)
  • Chute movements (36:50)
  • One-man sleds (38:00)
  • Hip-to-hip double teams (39:10)
  • TCC climb (40:30)
  • Takeoff versus movement (41:50)
  • Generic combos (42:35)
  • Wide zone combos (43:30)
  • Pods (43:55)

45:50 — Lessons from recruiting a future first-round draft pick

One of Frye’s best finds was a skinny kid from rural Massachusetts named Chris Lindstrom, who held just one other FBS offer but started as a true freshman in the ACC from day one—and was drafted 14th overall in 2019. It’s an encouraging tale for anyone trying to get on the radar.