Nov 23, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Paul Perkins (24) tries to run past Arizona State Sun Devils defensive end Gannon Conway (95) during second half action at Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports
You could go back and read every single piece we have done on the Bruin offense, but we will simplify it for you here.
First off, the Bruins lost three-year starter Brett Hundley to the NFL as well as Devin Lucien to transfer (ASU). Other than that, the Bruins brought in a stellar 2015 recruiting class with several plays that will look to participate as early as game one, but we will get into those players shortly.
So let us start with the quarterback as that has been the question all season long, who will replace Hundley? We now know freshman Josh Rosen has been given the start, beating out Jerry Neuheisel who really made this a good QB competition in the fall.
Sep 26, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; St. John Bosco Braves quarterback Josh Rosen (3) couldn’t help but cast a long shadow over UCLA’s 2016 quarterback recruiting efforts. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports
With Rosen in place, how is this offense going to run. First, you should read this fantastic piece by Go Joe Bruin author Jake Merrifield as he describes UCLA Football’s path to success with Rosen.
What is that path? Well it helps that UCLA is returning one of the most experienced offensive lines in the country, but on a more personal level, this line is the best that has ever been in Westwood for more than decade. Maybe longer.
The Bruins had a bit of a scare with five offensive linemen going down with injuries at some point during fall camp. The most serious being Scott Quessenberry who will sit out the season after shoulder surgery. The one that is still unknown is Simon Goines who was out off fall camp with a “medical condition”.
As far as the guys that will be out there next Saturday, you will see (from left to right) LT Conor McDermott, LG Kenny Lacy, C Jake Brendel, RG Alex Redmond and RT Caleb Benenoch. Last season, the O-line seemed to find a lot of cohesion midway through the season.
A lot of that had to do with McDermott coming on strong on the left side. The rest of the line was good, but McDermott seemed to be the piece that completed them.
With such a strong line, that helped out UCLA’s main running weapon, Paul Perkins, who became the rushing leader in the Pac-12 Conference last season with 1,575 yards. This year, he will be looking to top that whether it is with total yards or big wins, as he told the Los Angeles Times, “The sky is the limit for us.”
But Perkins is not alone. Along with back-up RB Nate Starks, who many of us here at Go Joe Bruin are excited to see, the Bruins got two huge gifts in freshmen Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi.
UCLA looks to have another position group that could be the best it has been in years, the receivers. Jordan Payton and Devin Fuller are the senior leaders that have the most experience in Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone‘s system and although they do not utilize a single go-to guy, Payton and Fuller will be called upon time and again.
The great things about the receivers is that they have a lot of depth and a lot of young guys that WILL contribute. The UCLA Football passing game is best when they spread the ball around to seven or more receivers. Some of those receivers that will be called are both familiar and new as we will surely see Eldridge Massington, Mossi Johnson, Kenny Walker, Jordan Lasley, Alex Van Dyke, Austin Roberts and Stephen Johnson all in the mix.
The interesting bit about the passing game is the use of bigger players (that can block), namely, the Y-receivers and tight ends. With the commitment of 6’5″, 235 lbs. freshmen TE Chris Clark, the Bruins will be looking to utilize more protection on the sides. Part of that attack will consist of Thomas Duarte who has been outstanding in his first two years. The Bruins also get help in this area from Nate Iese and Colby Cyburt.
Projected Starting Line-Up
— Line Of Scrimmage —
LT-McDermott LG-Lacy C-Brendel RG-Redmond RT-Benenoch
WR-Payton WR-Fuller TE-Clark WR-Massington
Roster and Depth Charts
Throughout the summer we had looked at each position group, the group roster and projected the depth chart. Click on the position group to view these articles:
Next: The Defensive Preview