UCLA Football: The defense is what will make the Bruins a good team

PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 03: Jacob Tuioti-Mariner
PASADENA, CA - SEPTEMBER 03: Jacob Tuioti-Mariner /

Many are expecting the UCLA football team to have an effective, uptempo offense under Chip Kelly, but it will be nothing if the defense isn’t top-notch.

UCLA football head coach Chip Kelly gave a lot of information at Pac-12 Media Day, despite being a man who doesn’t like to reveal his secrets. Although it was mostly answering questions broadly to appease the large crowd of reporters who were interested in what the coach who had finally returned to college football had to say.

RELATED: The 2018 UCLA Football Roster

But among everything he said, one comment really stood out. It had to do with his perception of the importance of defense.

More from Go Joe Bruin

“One thing that people don’t realize or maybe just kind of glossed over is when we were really good at Oregon is because we were really good on defense.”

Kelly knew that he had to have a balance between both the offense and the defense for the entire team to be successful. That is something that has been missing from the UCLA football program the last several seasons.

For example, in the last few years, UCLA ran a very conservative defense which did not fit well with the offense they were trying to run. With Josh Rosen and the offense scoring or turning the ball over in a short amount of time, it did not give the defense enough time to recuperate on the sideline.

In the last few years, UCLA has not done well in time of possession. In 2018 they averaged 26:29 minutes with the ball while their opponents had it for 33:31. That is not exactly taking control of the game.

UCLA Football: The importance of Darnay Holmes in the new defense. light. Also

This is something that Chip Kelly has deliberated on over and over. His philosophical stance is not just to run the ball down his opponent’s throats and score at breakneck speed, but he needs a defense that can keep up with the amount of time the offense is on the field.

So far, this is exactly what we’re seeing with UCLA under Kelly. In the spring, it was quite apparent that the offense was going to need some time to get up to speed, but the defense seemed to catch on a lot quicker. This is going to help UCLA improve during the time Kelly gets his offense up to speed.

UCLA is not going be conservative in any way. There will be none of this “bend-but-don’t-break” mentality. They are going to be aggressive, attacking, and violent. Defensive coordinator Jerry Azzinaro wants his players to get after the ball. If they miss it on one play, they will try to do it again on the next. They might give up some big plays, but they will also make so effective stops with their aggressive style.

Next. UCLA Football: 10 bold predictions for the 2018 season. dark

The mentality of the defense will be to get after the ball and get it back into the hands of the offense as quickly as possible so that they can do what they do. With the defense leading the way, we should eventually see Kelly’s plan come to fruition. This is his plan, and even though it will take time to develop, it will be something to behold.