2013 UCLA Spring Football Analysis
UCLA Bruins 2013 ...
Head Coach: Jim Mora
Why To Get Excited … for the first time in over a decade, the Bruins have the luxury of momentum. The program surprisingly won nine games in Jim Mora’s debut at the helm, and the staff has cobbled together back-to-back dynamite classes. In other words, UCLA is in the process of passing crosstown rival USC, which was not long ago unimaginable. The Bruins are trending north, which is having a positive impact on everyone involved with the team.
9/7 OPEN DATE
9/14 at Nebraska
9/21 New Mexico St
9/28 OPEN DATE
10/3 at Utah
10/19 at Stanford
10/26 at Oregon
11/9 at Arizona
11/23 Arizona State
11/30 at USC
Why To Be Grouchy … as revelatory as UCLA was in 2012, it’ll still begin the new year on a three-game losing streak. The Bruins slumped to the finish line, exposing their youth and flaws on defense and along the offensive line. Despite receiving constant support from the pass rush, the secondary still allowed too many long balls over the top. And now that unit must replace three starters, leaving FS Tevin McDonald to bloom into a physical and emotional leader.
The Number One Thing To Work On Is … shoring up the offensive line. The good news is that the Bruins were extraordinarily young up front in 2012, using a bunch of freshmen and sophomores. The concern is that they ranked 118th in the country in sacks allowed. LT Xavier Su’a-Filo is a rock and a potential All-American, but the staff is counting on Torian White, Simon Goines and Jake Brendel to evolve into veterans between now and September.
Non-Conference Games: Nevada, at Nebraska, New Mexico State,
Games Against The North: California, at Oregon, at Stanford, Washington
Realistic Best Case Record: 10-2
Worst Case Record: 6-6
Likely Finish: 8-4
Pre-Preseason Projected Wins: Nevada, New Mexico State, at Utah, California, Colorado, Washington, Arizona State, at USC
Pre-Preseason Projected Losses: at Nebraska, at Stanford, at Oregon, at Arizona
Schedule Analysis: Is this when UCLA take a huge leap forward under Jim Mora, or is it going to be inconsistent again as it tries to navigate its way up through a rough Pac-12 schedule? Starting out against Nevada isn’t going to be a breather, but there’s a week off to figure out what needs working on before a huge date at Nebraska. Win that, and 5-0 is a must with New Mexico State up next before an off week to prepare for easy games against Utah and Cal – forget about last year; beating the Bears shouldn’t be a problem.
As if having to play Stanford and Oregon from the North wasn’t bad enough, the games are back-to-back and on the road. Fortunately, three of the next four games are at home and the trip to Arizona is the only remaining game outside of Los Angeles. Colorado, Washington and Arizona State are all winnable home games to crank up the record, but the South title should come down to the showdown at USC.
Team Concerns For 2013: The needle is pointing up for the program, but first, the offensive line has to be far better. It was good for a strong running game, but it was miserable in pass protection. Replacing star running back Johnathan Franklin will be a big priority, and tight end Joseph Fauria is gone, but again, more than anything else the line has to be more effective at protecting Brett Hundley. Penalties were a
huge problem with a horrible stretch of four straight games getting flagged 12 or more times and committing double-digit penalties six times on the year.
The 2013 Class Is Heavy On ... Offensive lineman. WHOA ... Jim Mora came up with a phenomenal haul that's every bit as good as anything USC has been able to put together over the last several years. Quarterback Asiantii Woulard was a good late get out of Florida, while middle linebacker Isaac Savaiinaea out of Hawaii along with linebacker Cameron Judge and offensive tackle Christian Morris made this an special offseason signaling a possible shift in power.
Wide receiver Eldridge Massington is a future No. 1 target and corners Priest Willis and Johnny Johnson are terrific. Throw in safeties Tahaan Goodman and Tyler
Foreman along with tackle Kenneth Clark and linebacker Myles Jack and the defense has its share of future stars. However, the key is the offense with more than enough prospects to play around with. Tackle Poasi Moala is the best of the lot, but guards Caleb Benenoch and Alex Redmond have the bodies to be rocks for the interior.
2012 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 10. That Class Was Heavy On ... Jim Mora is doing a good job keeping many of Rick Neuheisel’s recruits coming in. The Bruins loaded up two years ago and had a smallish class last season, and now it’s about bringing in as many good prospects as possible across the board. The defense has been improved over the last several seasons, and now it’s time to work harder on the offense with QB Devin Fuller a major coup, even through Brett Hundley was the star of last year’s class. The defense is getting plenty of bodies for the secondary with a tremendous group of corners coming in.
2011 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 25. That Class Was Heavy On ... Brett Hundley. The 2010 class was the big one in the Rick Neuheisel area, so this one was about getting a few decent players here and there. There aren’t any stars, especially compared to last year, except for Hundley, a 6-4, versatile passer who can run as well as wing it around the yard. For a program desperate to get something going offensively, Hundley will be seen as a savior. For the Neuheisel era, he had better be. The hope will be for Devin Lucien to quickly develop into a consistent target, while the defense will look to tackles Kvin McReynolds and Brandon Tuliaupupu to soon become anchors inside.
2010 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 7. That Class Was
Heavy On ... Defense. Last
year's class was terrific, but this one is even
better. RB Malcolm Jones is the centerpiece of the
offensive class and Paul Richardson is a
good-looking receiver, but the focus was defense,
defense, defense. Getting safety Dietrich Riley away
from USC was a major coup, but that was nothing
compared to getting top end prospect Owamagbe
Odighizuwa to put on the Bruin hat instead of USC or
Nebraska. Cassius Marsh doesn't make up for the loss
of Brian Price at defensive tackle right away, but
it eventually will. Locking down the secondary will
be Anthony Jefferson, Tevin McDonald, and Shaquille
Richardson, three talented corner prospects.
2009 CFN Recruiting Ranking: 6. That Class Was
Heavy On ... cornerbacks. In a Pac-10 that’s usually flush with quality passers, the Bruins wisely answered with a quartet of really good cornerbacks. All four earned no less than three stars and were ranked in the top 50 at the position. The best of the bunch is Marlon Pollard, who fielded a slew of offers, and has an enormous upside to match his leaping ability.
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