In two days, UCLA Football lines up against Texas A&M to open the season. Here are 3 Keys to focus on to get a win.
Around this time last year, UCLA Football was riding high. A gifted quarterback led the offense, the defense was bursting with talent and the sky was the limit. Then the season started and things quickly went south.
It all began with the Texas A&M game. UCLA Football were favored to win but Josh Rosen threw three picks and the Aggies ran all over the Bruins’ defense. The result? A 31-24 A&M win in overtime. Four games later, Rosen took a sack during the Arizona State game and was out for the season. Without Rosen, UCLA went 1-5 in their final six games finishing the season at 4-8.
In two days, the 2017-18 season begins and the UCLA Football team will be looking to bounce back. Once again, the Bruins start their campaign by facing off against Texas A&M. A win in this game would be a good first step towards a successful season. To achieve this, here are 3 Keys that UCLA Football needs to focus on.
1. Contain the Run
The UCLA Football team struggled to stop the run last year. A&M took advantage and racked up 203 yards on the ground in their first matchup. Top rushers Trayveon Williams and Keith Ford returned while senior quarterback Trevor Knight moved on to the NFL. Two days from kickoff, the Aggies are yet to announce a starting quarterback. Coach Kevin Sumlin is probably holding his cards close to the vest.
Regardless, running the ball factors heavily into A&M’s plans and to win the game UCLA Football will have to neutralize the threat. This is a tall task since UCLA lost four starters out of their front seven to the NFL. Despite this, UCLA’s defense has to find a way to slow down the run to be victorious in game one.
2. Hold the Line
Coach Jim Mora is entering his sixth season in charge and UCLA Football is yet to have consistent offensive line play. After last season’s subpar performance, Mora fired offensive line coach Adrian Klemm. Replacing Klemm as offensive line coach is Hank Fraley. Fraley has his work cut out for him.
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He is tasked with transforming a team that averaged 84.2 yards per game and could not protect Rosen. Line depth has already suffered a blow with the loss of Kenny Lacy to a potentially season ending injury. Creating running lanes and keeping Rosen upright in the first game would start things off the right way.
3. Bowling with Bolu
Should the Bruins’ offensive line accomplish key #2, Bolu Olorunfunmi will have some room to operate. After being locked in a running back battle for two years, Bolu has finally taken a step forward.
He got most of the first-team reps infall camp and is ready for his closeup. The 5’11” bruiser is a power back who runs with purpose but has enough speed to break away from defenders. He is also in the best shape of his life and has added better agility to his power.
If all this translates to the field, then Bolu will be bowling people over on Sunday and UCLA Football will be celebrating their first win.