UCLA Football: Phil Steele picks Bruins to be most improved in run game

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Soso Jamabo
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 10: Running back Soso Jamabo /

Last season the UCLA Football run game was one of the worst in the country. While it seems logical that the quality of the run game can only improve, one college football guru has a lofty prediction for the upcoming season.

If you love UCLA Football then I imagine you love college football period. Few minds are better equipped to analyze and predict the trends or surprises that come along with college football than Phil Steele.

If you aren’t familiar with Steele let me give you a quick breakdown of who he is. Steele writes an annual college football magazine, “Phil Steele’s College Football Preview”, which is now thought of as a must have item for CFB fans.

This year Steele went out on a small limb and said that the UCLA Football running game would improve this season. That isn’t saying much considering the Bruins ranked 127 out of 128 FBS teams running the ball. What was key in Steele’s prediction was that he said the Bruins would have the most improved running game in 2017.

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The UCLA Football program clearly realized the running game was an issue and brought in a new offensive coordinator and offensive line coach. New OL coach Hank Fraley comes over from the Minnesota Vikings who prioritize running the football to set up their intermediate passing game. Add into the face that he has a Outland Award candidate on his line and you can say the cupboard isn’t completely bare. Spartan yes but not bare.

Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch came from the Harbaugh coaching tree that preaches strong running games to set up the pass.

Let’s not forget one of the biggest parts of this equation. Josh Rosen makes his return in 2017. No offense to Mike Fafaul last year but putting Rosen into a game puts fear into the hearts of opponents.

Now while all of this sounds great lets not go crazy and misinterpret what Steele is saying. He isn’t saying the Bruins will run for 300 yards a game or be the Stanford of the Andrew Luck years. What he is saying though is that there will be a major jump in production this year.

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What will that jump look like is the fun part. If the Bruins double their production from last year they would have tied for 73 in the country. A jump of 52 spots and still not in the top half of teams in the country. Would Bruin fans be happy with that? A capable running game will take mountains of pressure off Rosen which will only give this passing game a welcome shot in the arm.