UCLA Football: Any Reason To Worry?


We have written at length about how good we think UCLA Football will be this season, but they are not perfect. So are there certain parts of their game we should worry about?

Yes. there are several things to worry about with UCLA Football this season. The Bruins are no where near being a Top 5 team and are even being looked over in their own conference. There are laundry issues they have to worry about and even have some depth issues (“some” is the key word).

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Even though we think UCLA Football will have a fantastic season behind players like Paul Perkins and Myles Jack, there are still a few things that could put a dent in their Conference Championship hopes.


UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

Here is the thing. UCLA was 117th out of 125 teams in penalties last season. We know this. We dislike this. The Bruins had 104 penalties for 979 yards which comes out to 75.3 yards per game.

If you are thinking “woah!”, you are not alone.

Although Head Coach Jim Mora has done one hell of a job leading UCLA Football to success in his first three years, one thing he has been unable to do with the Bruins is cut out the mental mistakes that have led to loads of field laundry.

How many times have Bruin fans gone from elation to deflation on a great play, only to see flags on the field? Plenty. We will see if that ends this season.

There Is Depth, But Are They Ready?

Sure the coaching staff have recruited well and properly developed players over time, but are the players that are coming off the bench truly ready to participate? Honestly, it depends on the position.

For example, the running backs, receivers, linebackers and defensive backs not only have depth but they have the talent that can step in at any time and take over. The trenches are a different story.

Jake Brendel (54) leading the offense for the 3rd straight year (literally, the Center’s hand is way out in front): Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

In fall camp in San Bernardino, senior center Jake Brendel was injured, though not seriously. During his recovery he missed the scrimmage in the second to last day of the fall camp which meant other offensive linemen would take his place.

What we saw was inconsistency, missed cues and a lot of bad snaps. Sound familiar? That was the story of the offensive line in UCLA’s season opener last season against Virginia.

As for the defensive line, though they have to brutish talents in Eddie Vanderdoes and Kenneth Clark, behind them they are thin. They have talented youth with guys like Matt Dickerson, Jacob Tuioti-Mariner, Najee Toran and Eli Ankou, but there has not been a player that has shown he could step up and handle the D-line responsibilities as well as the starters can.

Freshman QB

Yes, UCLA Football has a freshman quarterback in Josh Rosen and although he is very good, he is still a freshman. No matter how prepared he is, no matter how many CIF playoff games he has played in, no matter what the coaches tell him, Rosen will not be the cool, calm and collected QB he was in high school… at first.

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There is going to be a learning curve with his transition to Division I football and with that the jitters that come with stepping onto the Rose Bowl field for the first time and commanding the #13 team in the nation.

Go Joe Bruin writer Jake Merrifield recently wrote how UCLA can assist Rosen in his article Chosen Rosen: UCLA’s Path To Success With a Freshman QB. Simply, run the ball, play conservatively, protect the newbie and they should do okay until Rosen is completely comfortable with his role.

The Rest of the Freaking Pac-12 South

November 22, 2014; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins running back Nate Starks (23) runs the ball against the Southern California Trojans during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Yes, the majority of us at Go Joe Bruin have the Bruins winning the Pac-12 South Division, but we have to be very conscious of how strong this division (and conference) is. Last season, the majority of us also picked UCLA to win the South and we were very close in our predictions, but as we saw, the Pac-12 brings a lot of calamity.

The Bruins were four quarters away from the Pac-12 Championship Game… but they lost to Stanford in the final game of the season and Bruin fans were crushed.

That could very well happen this season with five teams (UCLA, Arizona, Arizona State, USC and Utah) all expected to compete for the division. One slip up for the Bruins and things could end just like they did last season.

The point is, UCLA Football has issues which they are trying to figure out. They might not get figured out in the first game, but seeing how Mora demands excellence from his team, you should know that it will come.

Next: Know Your Opponent: Virginia vs UCLA

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