In our last Spring Practice Preview we took a look at the UCLA Football defensive line, one of the more maligned units in 2017. Still, they weren’t the biggest problem on the defense last year. That title unfortunately belongs to the linebacker group. Let’s dive into what this unit could look like in the Spring for their first practice under a new head and positional coach.
How could I best describe the 2017 UCLA Football LB group in two words? Hesitant and undisciplined. While that might be a harsh description, this group was far from a strength in the Bruin defense. Banged up, spread thin and, if I’m being honest, poorly coached, last year’s group should have made you long for the days of guys like Sean Westgate never mind the even more stellar units. Yes I said Sean Westgate.
It often seemed as though the LBs as a whole were being told to wait till ball carriers ran right into them instead of attacking downhill. They hesitated in the hole often costing them valuable positioning when it came time to make a tackle. Instead of taking on the role of the enforcers in the defense the way the LB group did early on in Jim Mora’s tenure, they looks liked they might be trying to lull opposing offenses to sleep with their play.
That situation was only compounded with injuries, suspensions and inexperienced players doing their best to learn on the fly. At the end of the season and with Mora out as head coach it wasn’t surprising to see Chip Kelly make finding a new LB coach his top priority.
Now with former Oregon Ducks LB coach Don Pellum poised to take over, the Bruins can expect to see a much more aggressive and well disciplined unit on the field. But with the switch to the 3-4 defense, does the UCLA Football team have enough bodies for a two deep in this group?