Monday, 15 May 2017 14:44

Thinking UCLA Football 2017

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UCLA FootballWhat did we learn from UCLA’s spring ball of 2017? The Bruin defense, though they lost playmakers on all three levels, looks like they have the talent to come in, be productive and successful.

On the defensive side of the ball, based on what was seen this spring, UCLA’s defense looks like they have the potential to be very good. The Bruin defense may not have a player who ends up being as productive as Atlanta Falcon first-round draft choice, Take McKinley, but it looks like they will be able to make plays by committee and that could make the defense even better than the one that took the field a year ago that kept the Bruins in every game until the end of the season.

Having talent ready to step up for departing players is an indication that the program is on solid footing. The true test, as is always the case comes when the Bruins line up against Texas A&M on September 3 at the iconic Rose Bowl.

There are many more questions regarding UCLA’s offense. This is always the case, especially in spring. It takes more time for an offense to click and be on the same page.

The Bruins will benefit with the return of junior signal caller, Josh Rosen, who showed no ill effects of his shoulder injury. At times this spring, the timing was off with Rosen and his receivers. Again this is to be expected breaking in a new offense, with a new offensive coordinator and all the new verbiage running the through the brain slows things down, but it must be said that as the spring progressed, the offense played faster and showed improvement.

Perhaps the biggest question mark will be along the offensive line, especially the interior where a year ago the guards struggled. New offensive line coach Hank Fraley moved Kenny Lacy outside to right tackle and moved Andre James to left guard. Najee Toran played right guard, Scott Quessenberry manned his familiar center spot and Kolton Miller lined up at left tackle after playing on the right side a year ago.

It is going to be a long summer until the Bruins take the field in September. It was a disappointing season in 2016 and the coaches and the players want to prove that performance was a fluke.

UCLA’s offensive line and how they play will be key. The running game was nil last season, and a talented group of running backs could never get going, forcing the Bruins to become one dimensional offensively and very predictable.

Even with a spring session behind the Bruins, it still not clear how good this team can be. There were times when the offense played with the physicality that UCLA head coach, Jim Mora wants out of that unit, but at other times, the offense line looked like a work progress.

Defense looked like they are ready for prime time. The offense showed potential, but have some work to do.

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