The UCLA Football Bruins pulled off one of the greatest comebacks in college football history against the Texas A&M Aggies on Sunday. While the victory itself was fantastic to behold, the Bruins also found a golden connection on the offense.
No matter what your thoughts on the UCLA Football offense, coaching decisions or game preparation, you have to marvel at the talent that is QB Josh Rosen. His arm, his foot work and intelligence aren’t just what make him one of the best players in the country. Those talents also carried the Bruins to the come from behind stunner against the Aggies.
He didn’t do it alone though. Many coaches would agree that a QB’s, especially a young, inexperienced or in this case a rusty QB, best friend is the tight end. He’s the security blanket in most cases, catching all the underneath routes and while he’s not expected to torch defenses he is valued for his consistent catching ability.
This Bruin is no ordinary tight end.
Rs. Sophomore tight end Caleb Wilson came on like gang busters catching 15 for 208 yards against A&M. While the majority of the points scored came during the fourth quarter, Wilson was a steady force throughout the game including the first drive where he made one big catch and was targeted twice.
Wilson ate the the Aggie defenders alive throughout the game but he really turned it on late.
His domination during the fourth quarter when the game was on the line was the stuff of legend. Zone or man coverage it didn’t matter, Wilson was unstoppable and Rosen looked for him on almost every passing play.
His catches kept drives alive, moved the Bruins into striking distance and was generally unstoppable when the offense needed him most.
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A former walk-on at USC, Wilson transferred to Westwood where he was immediately an upgrade to a long neglected TE position group. While he didn’t have many catches to begin the year with Rosen, after the QB’s shoulder injury Wilson became a fond target of then backup QB Mike Fafaul.
Wilson has almost already matched his season totals from 2016 in one game being just one catch and 12 yards shy of last year’s totals. While he still has yet to score while a part of the UCLA Football team that should change relatively soon especially with the headaches he can give a defense.
Used as a traditional in-line TE, Wilson is able to burst off the line and out of his stance while getting up to speed quickly. His long arms allow him to keep defenders from getting into his body and jam him. They also aid him in his run blocking which he can do well he just needs to be more consistent.
Flexed out Wilson was a nightmare for the Aggie defense that just could not find an answer for the athletic tight end. In man coverage he demonstrated nuanced routes and incorporated things like head fakes to help win at the top of the route. More often than not Wilson squared off against DB Armani Watts and won handily.
The offense is still being put together. The Bruins are still finding their groove and seeing where all the pieces fit. But as the UCLA Football schedule rolls on and offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch continues to fully understand the talent at his disposal look for Wilson to continue dominating the competition.