#55 UCLA Football Preview

UCLA Bruins

Overall Rank: #55
#9 Pac-12

UCLA Team Page

2010 Record: (4-8, 2-7)
2010 Bowl: none
Coach: Rick Neuheisel (15-22 at UCLA, 81-52 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Mike Johnson
Defensive Coordinator: Joe Tresey

Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Johnathan Franklin, RB, 1,127 yards
Passing: Richard Brehaut, QB, 1,296 yards
Receiving: Taylor Embree, WR, 409 yards
Tackles: Tony Dye, S, 96
Sacks: Sean Westgate, LB, 4.0
Interceptions: Aaron Hester, CB, 3

Other Key Returnees: DT Nate Chandler, RB Derrick Coleman, TE Cory Harkey, OT Mike Harris, DE Damien Holmes, LB Patrick Larimore, DE Owamgbe Odighizuwa, CB Sheldon Price, QB Kevin Prince, WR Nelson Rosario, OT Sean Sheller

Key Losses: LB Akeem Ayers, DT David Carter, K Kai Forbath, S Rahim Moore, TE Morrell Presley, G Darius Savage, C Ryan Taylor, G Eddie Williams

Nothing went right for UCLA last season and Coach Rick Neuheisel has made some wholesale changes to his coaching staff in a last ditch effort to turn things around. Mike Johnson is taking over the offense, while Joe Tresey has a lot of work to do with the defense. The Bruins even brought in Nevada assistant Jim Mastro to help enhance the Bruins Pistol offense. If none of that works, Coach Neuheisel will be the next to go.

The offense has plenty of potential as long as Johnathan Franklin is around. The junior running back rushed for 1,127 yards and eight scores last season and will be the workhorse for this offense. The offensive line should make life easier for Franklin with the return of tackles Mike Harris and Sean Sheller. Center Kai Maiava is also back after missing last season with an injury. Talented sophomores Chris Ward and Stan Hasiak are only going to get better and complete what could be a surprisingly good offensive line. The big question is at quarterback. Kevin Prince started there last season before going down with an injury. Richard Brehaut took over and had an alright season. However, Prince is a better fit in the offense and this should be his team as long as he can stay healthy. He has the experience to have a good junior season, but he also has a lot of work to do if he wants to win games for the Bruins. Nelson Rosario, Taylor Embree, Randall Carroll and tight end Cory Harkey are all better than their numbers from last year would indicate. They just need somebody to get them the ball.

The good news for the defense is eight starters are back. The bad news is that Akeem Ayers and Rahim Moore are gone. Those two were the most talented players on the defensive end by a wide margin. The defense has some playmakers. Defensive end Datone Jones missed last season with an injury and is full of potential if he can overcome the injury bug. With fellow ends Owamagbe Odighizuwa and Keenan Graham also back, the front four may actually be able to get into the backfield relatively consistently. Sean Westgate and is the senior leader of the linebackers, but sophomore Jordan Zumalt has everybody in Westwood excited. He could turn into a great pass rushing linebacker with a year of experience under his belt. In the secondary Tony Dye is the star after leading the Bruins with 96 tackles last season. Corners Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price are also back, but they have higher expectations now that they are upperclassmen.

The Bottom Line:
The defense has potential even though they were pretty awful last season and lost their two best players. What this group really needs is some toughness. Whether or not Coach Tresey can provide that remains to be seen. However, a tough start to the schedule may keep morale and expectations quite low. If the Bruins can get past Houston and San Jose State, they will have to deal with Texas and road trips to Oregon State and Stanford next. That makes the first two games of the year extremely crucial. If they start out 1-4, UCLA will have a heck of a time digging themselves out of that hole.

Projected Bowl: none

2010 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 175.58 (32nd in nation, 4th in conference)
Passing Offense: 141.08 (116, 10)
Total Offense: 316.67 (100, 10)
Scoring Offense: 20.17 (104, 9)
Rushing Defense: 205.50 (108, 9)
Pass Defense: 214.58 (53, 5)
Total Defense: 420.08 (94, 9)
Scoring Defense: 30.33 (86, 9)
Turnover Margin: -.92 (112, 10)
Sacks: 2.08 (54, 8)
Sacks Allowed: 2.33 (81, 6)

Madness 2011 Recruit Rankings

#91 Brett Hundley

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