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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PROVO, UT – SEPTEMBER 17: Adarius Pickett
PROVO, UT – SEPTEMBER 17: Adarius Pickett /

“Coming’ to a fork in the road, which way to go? Just follow.”

With anything and everything going wrong on the offensive side of the ball, the defense had to be the saviors, to a certain point. Unfortunately the Bruins’ woes were too much to overcome and UCLA fell to 4-8 on the season, missing a bowl game for the first time in Mora’s tenure.

With the offense producing more four and outs than than touchdowns, that meant the defense was on the field more often than not. They were tired. They were beat. They were overworked. Sill, they were mighty.

UCLA’s Offensive Production

  • 2015: Total 465.8 (6th), Scoring 32.2 (7th), T.O.P. 25:55 (12th)
  • 2016: Total 379.8 (10th), Scoring 24.9 (11th), T.O.P. 26:44 (10th)

*Stats in (  ) determine Pac-12 ranking, T.O.P. Is time of possession.

In 2015, the defense had to work with a Noel Mazzone offense that got down the field and scored quickly (hence the low T.O.P.). In 2016, the defense had to deal with a Kenndy Polamalu offense that barely got down the field. Despite the imbalance in offensive/defensive play, Bradley’s guys did all they could to hold teams back, but that was to change as several defenders would be gone after the season.

After 2016, questions arose about how the team would be as a whole with the defense losing several key players. As the stength of the team, the defense was one of the few shining lights, and it seemed to be dimming after going 4-8, but for those that truly pay attention to UCLA Football know that Bradley’s defense was far from depleted and would continue to shine bright

Losing Eddie Vanderdoes, Jayon Brown, Fabian Moreau and the one and only Takkarist McKinley would be a problem at most schools, but most schools don’t have a coach like Bradley.

The Bruins have recruited well, they have developed their players and with Bradley in charge, the defense heads into every season and every game prepped and ready for battle. That is why it should be no surprise that the Bruins will continue to be tough heading into 2017.