UCLA Football Spring Practice Preview 2018: Defensive Line

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 03: Jacob Tuioti-Mariner
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 03: Jacob Tuioti-Mariner /
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PASADENA, CA – NOVEMBER 24: Ross Bowers /

Here are the UCLA Football Bruins who will likely be receiving the bulk of reps during Spring practice.

That’s quite the number of bodies vying for playing time at three down linemen positions. But are they the right kind of bodies? Also, Kelly’s defenses tend to employ a “rush” DE/OLB position that can act as a fourth lineman. Who occupies that role?

Moore was a pleasant surprise as a pass rusher last season showing an array of moves and burst to allow him to win the edge. He’s not quite big enough for a DE position but would be a very good fit as the “rush” end.

KLS is another guy that fits well as the “rush”. He’s long, lean, athletic and raw. He still has some pass rush skills to learn but Kelly has had a guy like him before in Dion Jordan. Now KLS isn’t going to be lining up as a gunner on punts but I expect him to be used in much of the same way. As a stand up, rush end who can win with speed around the edge and use his length to make running outside difficult.

Phillips is an athletic freak but was hampered by injury during his freshman year. Of course we can’t predict his health moving forward but let’s just say that he doesn’t miss any time next season. Physically he’s a DE in this scheme but with his athleticism he could occupy the “rush” position. However given the lack of length in the UCLA Football DL group, we could see him easily snag a starting DE position.

He and Wade are the most prototypical 3-4 DEs on the roster but there’s not question about Wade’s fit in this scheme. He’s a lock for one of the DE positions and it’s not just because the pickings are slim. A long, active defensive lineman, Wade has been a prized reserve for most of him time in the UCLA Football program but is now taking a major step forward in a starting role. He isn’t just a block eater either as he provides a pass rush often attacking the B gap between the tackle and guard.