The New UCLA Football Defense Is Plenty Improved


The UCLA Football team started a new era on the defensive side of the ball as Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley made his debut with the Bruins.

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So how did Tom Bradley do in his first game? He had the defense improve.

The defense was as good as we raved since Bradley took over just before Spring Practice, but in this game they started off a bit slow, especially the passing defense.

In three of their first five drives, Virginia was able to go more than 60 yards for a score and the majority of those plays came though the air.

The defensive line with Eddie Vanderdoes, Kenny Clark and Takkarist McKinley, were doing a great job holding back the Cavalier run game. UCLA allowed only 98 yards on the ground for the entire game.

It was Virginia’s air attack that had the Bruins on their toes, at least for the first half.

September 5, 2015; Pasadena, CA, USA; Virginia Cavaliers quarterback Matt Johns (15) comes under pressure from UCLA Bruins defensive lineman Eli Ankou (96) during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

Though the Bruins allowed that many yards, they were able to limit the Cavalier’s scoring chances to only field goals which they had three of in the first half.

To dig in and stop a drive like that is big. That is what Bradley is doing with the Bruins. He is giving them a chance to take the next step because as we saw in this game, improvements were everywhere.

In the second half, UCLA was able to decrease the amount of yards they gave up, especially against the pass. UCLA allowed 158 yards through the air (20 less than the first half), but 62 of those came in the Cavalier’s final drive of the game after it had essentially been decided.

What we saw today was the Bruins adjusting via Bradley’s expertise. They started making big plays which started to center the defense as a whole. As for big plays, here is a sample of what the Bruins did individually.

  • UCLA had five pass break-ups which came from Takkarist McKinley, Jaleel Wadood, Kene Orjioke and Matt Dickerson.
  • Redshirt freshman Adarius Pickett had his first career interception.
  • Deon Hollins continued where he left off and had the Bruin’s only sack.
  • Hollins, Eddie Vanderdoes and Kenneth Clark were all part of three tackles for a loss.
  • 21 total players recorded at least one tackle.

That is what stuck out about this D. They kept attacking until they found their groove.

When they did start clicking, the Bruins then suffocated the Cavaliers and slowly wore them down. It is a good quality to see the Bruins have. They do not need to attack all the time, just at the right time. And if they do it right, they will break down the opposition one play at a time. Good times.

Good night, everyone.

Next: The Go Joe Bruin Video Recap of Virginia vs UCLA

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