What went wrong with UCLA football? Was it that the Bruin coaching staff was too ambitions and moved to quickly to change into a physical football team when they didn’t have the personnel?
Who knew that the Bruin interior offensive front would miss the presence of Caleb Benenoch and Alex Redmond that much. It was a revolving door trying to fill those two vacancies all season long.
You will never have a great offensive line if you can’t create chemistry, and it is a rare thing indeed to create chemistry along the offensive front, when you are playing so many players. Without a set five it is hard to create the kind of cohesiveness that you need to have a good offensive line.
While the Bruin offensive line improved as pass blockers as the season progressed, they never really clicked at the fundamental change the offense was trying to achieve and that was being a physical running team.
It appeared during training camp that the Bruins were going in the right way. They had three young, but veteran backs that showed some talent the season before in junior Nate Starks and sophomores Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi. They were being pushed by talented freshman, Jalen Starks and Brandon Stephens.
Everything looked good on paper and everything was pointing that this change would work. It appeared the running back position was a strength and would be able to carry the team into the desired direction.
The truth was a bitter pill to swallow. It was a tough slog, all season long for the Bruin offense. With very little running game the Bruins became too one dimensional and had to depend on the receiving game.
At the receiving position the Bruins were trying to replace three very dependable and productive receivers. The 2016 crop of receivers suffered a case of the dropsies from game one against Texas A&M and that disease inflicted the Bruins all season long. There is some hope for the receiver position. Look for a rebound next season.
The biggest blow of all came when sophomore quarterback, Josh Rosen was sidelined for the season after being hurt multiple times against Arizona State.
The Bruins were 3-3 and still master of their fate, but Rosen wouldn’t take another snap and was sidelined for season.
If there was a silver lining to this season the defense played extremely well that despite the Bruins struggling offensively all season long UCLA was able to be competitive and had a chance to win each and every game until the last two against two. Unfortunately the last two games were against two of UCLA’s bigger rivals, USC and Cal.
This Bruin football team were so close and yet so far. What will the offseason bring? Offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu has been dismissed of all his duties.
Will there be more? We will have to see. The Bruin basketball season in 2015-16 was very disappointing, but they didn’t make any wholesale coaching changes, stayed the course, recruited a top class that is already paying off dividends in the early going of the season.
Perhaps the future of the football team will have the same kind of turn around. It’s going to be a very long off season for UCLA football fans.