The UCLA defense is very good. There are so good that they kept the UCLA offense off their rhythm during practice Friday at Cal State San Bernardino. The offense run by Heisman hopeful Brett Hundley, is tested every day in practice, which will only make them better, but right now, the defense is the star of the program.
The Bruins have a deep defensive line that will be shifting back and forth from 3 to 4 players at any given time in the 3-4 and 4-2-5 formations. The linebackers have talent behind Myles Jack and Eric Kendricks, but also have a nice group that is fighting for an open spots at both inside LB and outside LB. As for the secondary, a year ago they were perceived to be the weak point of the Bruins, while this year they are thought to be one of the best in the Pac-12.
So yeah, the UCLA defense is good and they are deep. They might even be better than last season.
During Friday’s practice, the time between big defenses plays was not long. Kendricks would make athletic diving tackles, LB Isaako Savaiinaea had an interception during 7-on-7 drills and Jack intercepted a ball in 1-on-1s that ended with him holding it high in the air from the receiver, like a big brother taunting his younger brother trying to keep his toys away.
In addition, several freshmen are looking to make a big impact this year as they also had handful of great plays. Jaleel Wadood recovered a fumble in a scrimmage and took it 40 yards for the touchdown. Adarius Pickett smothers his opponents in coverage so much that he was able to snag an interception for himself in 7-on-7s. Zach Whitley, who has been limited in practice due to an injury, is still one of the top guys defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich thinks can claim one of the two open LB spots.
That is what so awesome about this year. Every year I’ve been here, there hasn’t been a whole lot of competition. There have been guys that emerged right away. Myles [Jack] was the closest thing to competition and he emerged pretty quickly. We got two spots that are wide open. Wide open. And there a lot of guys a lot of guys vying for those two spots. -Jeff Ulbrich
Basically, there is a lot of talent and they are deep and they are going to give the competition hell this year.
With the first day in full pads in the books, the Bruins now look to pick up the pace as they start two-a-day practices today, the first of four in the next week. Expect to see more progress from a defense that just gets better and better.