Depth Chart |
By almost any measure, UCLA had a fabulous year full of
thrilling comebacks, a win over Oklahoma, and a Sun Bowl victory
over Northwestern, but yet another march to the BCS by USC and a
humiliating 66-14 loss to the hated Trojans put a sour note on last
year. The biggest problem now isn't trying to keep up with the
Joneses, or, the Carrolls, it's trying to be as good as last year.
how badly the Bruins were blown out by USC, at least they were in a
position to make some really big things happen. Think about where
UCLA was last year before the first Saturday in November. At 9-1
they had a chance to win a tie of the Pac 10 title, would've
gone to the BCS with a win over USC, and very possibly would've
played for the national title considering the love and respect the
Trojans were getting at the time. QB Drew Olson would've been a last-second
Heisman candidate and this would be the hot program going into
2006. Just to be in that kind of a spot shows how far the
program has come in a short time under head coach Karl Dorrell, but
expect a slip this year.
coach: Karl Dorrell
4th year, (22-15)
Off. 24, Def. 22, ST 2
Lettermen Lost: 15
Best UCLA Players
2. PK Justin Medlock, Sr.
3. OG Shannon Tevaga, Jr.
4. DT Kevin Brown, Jr.
5. DE Justin Hickman, Sr.
6. CB Trey Brown, Jr.
7. RB Chris Markey, Jr.
8. WR Joe Cowan, Sr.
9. WR Junior Taylor, Sr.
10. FB Michael Pitre, Jr.
at Notre Dame
at Arizona State
2005 Record: 10-2
2005 predicted wins
at San Diego St
Oklahoma W 41-24
California W 47-41
at Wash St
W 44-41 OT
Oregon State W
at Stanford W 30-27 OT
Arizona State W 45-35
at USC L 66-19
Northwestern W 50-38
For one thing, UCLA can't afford to play with fire in every game
again. There were four fourth quarter comebacks along with a
thrilling second half comeback to beat Arizona State. There was a fantastic
year by Olson, who couldn't seem to do any wrong before the USC
game, which will have a hard time being repeated by the new Olson,
Ben. And then there was the run defense, which was the second-worst
in America and was saved only by the prolific offense.
This year's UCLA team has to replace the entire linebacking corps,
is still smallish up front for a national power program, loses top
playmakers Olson, Maurice Drew and TE Marcedes Lewis from the
offense, and lacks proven playmakers on both sides of the ball.
Factor all that into a better Pac 10 and it'll be a stunner if UCLA
can even dream about double-digit wins at some point this year.
Expect more high scoring
games and several young players to quickly grow into Pac 10 household
names, after all, this is an athletic team, but also consider this a
stepping stone season to 2007 when the team will be loaded with
experience. The Bruins just hope the road to rebuilding isn't too rocky.
The Schedule: It's
not bad as long as the Bruins can play well at home.
With the offense UCLA should have, it has a puncher's chance on the
road against Notre Dame and should be able to hold its own at
Oregon, Cal, and Arizona State. Winning two of those four would be a
huge success, but the key will be winning in Pasadena where
victories against Utah, Rice, Stanford, Arizona, Washington State
and Oregon State are a must before the season ender against USC.
Offensive Player: Junior OG Shannon Tevaga. QB Ben Olson is the
key to the season, but Tevaga is a critical player on the young line
mostly due to his size. At 310 pounds, he's one of the team's
biggest lineman and he needs to not only be an anchor and a leader,
he also has to be the team's key run blocker.
Defensive Player: Junior DT Kevin Brown. On a defense woefully shy
of sure-thing playmakers, the 297-pound Brown has to be the key
factor in toughening up the run defense. He missed all of last
season with an ankle problem that was missing his quickness
inside and his beef against the run. If he's fine all year he'll be
in the mix for All-Pac 10 honors.
player to a successful season: Sophomore QB Ben Olson. He lost the
quarterback derby last year to Drew Olson because he had accuracy
issues, and then Drew came out and was one of the nation's most
efficient passers. Now the big BYU transfer looks ready to not only
be a leader, but a star. The offense needs a mature, steady
ringleader, and Olson should be it.
season will be a success if ... UCLA finishes in the top four of
the Pac 10. There are simply way, way too many question marks and
way too much youth to reasonable expect a run for the Pac 10 title.
The rest of the league is too good for the Bruins to finish second,
but a top four finish would mean the program didn't slide all that
much before what should be a big 2007.
game: Oct. 14 at Oregon. If UCLA is above-average, it should at
least be 4-1 going into the nasty road trip to Eugene, and should
reasonably expect to be 5-0. A win at Oregon would do wonders for
the young team's confidence going into the Notre Dame game and
would be a must with Pac 10 games ahead against heavyweights Cal,
Arizona State and USC.
- Fourth quarter scoring: UCLA 156 - Opponents 68
- First quarter scoring: Opponents 132 - UCLA 83
- Average yards per carry: Opponents 5.4 - UCLA 4.4
The Last Time UCLA…
…played in a bowl game…2005 (Sun Bowl vs. Northwestern)
…missed a bowl game…2001
…pitched a shutout…2004 (Stanford)
…was shutout…2001 (USC)
…scored 50 points…2005 (Northwestern)
…won a conference title…1998 (Pac-10)
…had a 3,000-yard passer…2005 (Drew Olson)
…had a 1,000-yard rusher…2004 (Maurice Drew)
…had a 1,000-yard receiver…2003 (Craig Bragg)
…had a first-round draft choice…2002 (LB Robert Thomas)