UCLA Football: Tom Bradley’s defense ain’t nothing to mess with

PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 31: (Center)Bryce Bobo
PASADENA, CA - OCTOBER 31: (Center)Bryce Bobo /
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PASADENA, CA – NOVEMBER 19: Defensive back Fabian Moreau
PASADENA, CA – NOVEMBER 19: Defensive back Fabian Moreau /

“Dr. Doom, prepare for the BOOM!”

In his first season, Bradley started to show that he was once again a professor of defense as he had the Bruins make strides from previous season.

Mora has done a great job recruiting solid defensive players, so Bradley did not necessarily have the cupboard bare. In his first season he was able to work with players like Ishmael Adams, Fabian Moreau, Kenny Clark, Myles Jack and Deon Hollins. The only thing he had to figure out is how they could all work together under his guidance.

2015 Defensive Stats

  • Total Defense: 401.7 (5th in Pac-12)
  • Scoring Defense: 26.0 (5th)
  • Rush Defense: 198.5 (8th)
  • Pass Defense: 203.2 (1st)
  • Pass Def. Efficiency: 113.4 (1st)
  • Interceptions: 12 (9)

They were improving, but they also displayed a certain level of toughness. No one could necessarily say that the Bruin defense did not do their part as it takes two sides to win a football game. Still, they looked good under Bradley’s tutelage, but there was a blemish on his first season: the run defense. This became more and more evident in the Bruins’ final games of the 2015 season as teams ran right through the defensive line.

Related Story: Can the Bruins be tough again?

The good news was that the run defense seemed to be the only problem, which Bradley focused on correcting heading into his second season. Because of that, his defense took a step forward, but not many people saw this.

2016 Defensive Stats

  • Total Defense: 382.0 (5th in Pac-12)
  • Scoring Defense: 27.5 (7th)
  • Rush Defense: 171.5 (8th)
  • Pass Defense: 210.5 (3rd)
  • Pass Def. Efficiency: 105.8 (2nd)
  • Interceptions: 15 (4th)

Unfortunately, no one really noticed the defensive improvements as the Bruins stumbled on the offensive side of the ball. It also did not help when Josh Rosen went down with an injury in game six and was out for the season. That put a lot of pressure on the defense.