UCLA Football: The Bruin TEs are ready to feast against A&M

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Head coach Jim Mora of the UCLA Bruins celebrates a first down with Josh Rosen
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 24: Head coach Jim Mora of the UCLA Bruins celebrates a first down with Josh Rosen /

Go Joe Bruin has talked a great deal about the emergence of the tight ends in the UCLA Football offense. They’ll have a great opportunity for success against the Texas A&M Aggies.

Plenty has been made about the UCLA Football receivers and their lack of ball catching prowess in 2016. One group that seemed more sure handed was the tight end group led by Austin Roberts and Caleb Wilson. That group has now doubled in size with Jordan Wilson and Jimmy Jaggers looking to make waves in 2017.

A tight end is a QB’s best friend and Josh Rosen could use all the friends he can get on this offense. Last year his offensive line under performed, running backs couldn’t find holes to run through and when there was time to get a pass off there was a solid chance it was going to be dropped. Rosen dealt with this and questionable coaching all before being knocked out of the lineup six games into the season.

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From all reports and from what I’ve seen with my own eyes, Rosen looks to be back and his arm looks very good. Of course we won’t know for sure until game action but the signs are encouraging on that front.

Also enter new OC Jedd Fisch who comes over from Michigan. Last year he leaned heavily on his TE group and they responded by being some of the more reliable and safe intermediate range pass catchers. Michigan head coach Jim Harbaugh has built stables of TEs wherever he has gone and Michigan is no different. Fish is sure to bring plenty of that over.

I could see Caleb Wilson being used like former Michigan TE Jake Butt whereas Roberts is more of an H-back or TE that can be flexed out to create mismatches against opposing defenses.

That should mean we will see plenty of Rosen to TE connections this year. Which guy will set the tone early though?

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They should all get plenty of chances against an Aggies defense that is thin and inexperienced at linebacker. The Aggies were able to secure the commitment of four star LB Anthony Hines and he enrolled early in an effort to get on the field early. While he isn’t listed as a starter on the recently released Aggies’ depth chart I fully expect him to take over after getting a couple games under his belt.

Defensive coordinator Jon Chavis might be one of the best and most well known in the country, there is only so much he can control when it comes to experience and returning talent. While much of the front seven is in flux, the defensive line at least has some proven talent returning to them to ease some of the concern.

That being said, this linebacking group will be heavily stressed to deal with TEs in coverage and if the UCLA Football offense can establish the run those linebackers will be susceptible to play action. Sucking those linebackers up will open up the intermediate passing game which plays right into the Bruins’ hands.

If the Aggies go to zone coverage underneath with their linebackers in an effort to ease the stress on them, the Bruin TEs should be able to settle into the voids in those zones and Rosen, given any semblance of time, is adept at picking zone coverages apart.

Man coverage would be an anxiety provoking choice given the athleticism of the UCLA Football tight ends and the general youth of the Aggies LBs.

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All of this sounds great but of course this is all predicated on the Bruins protecting Rosen and having balance on offense. The tight ends should still have big days even if the Bruins must be pass heavy because of the thin nature of this Aggies LB group. Still, offensive harmony has to be a priority not only for this game but going forward for the rest of the season.