The duo from the B-Team Podcast assigned grades for the UCLA football coaching staff after their first year. How did they perform and what do they need to improve on?
In addition to the excellent coverage of UCLA football by the What’s Bruin Show, hosted by our very own Mike Regalado along with Jake Merrifield and Bill Shirley, GoJoeBruin.com is affiliated with another podcast, the B-Team, hosted by writers Nathan Eberhardt and Michael Hanna. You can subscribe to this show on iTunes or wherever fine podcasts are found, and it comes out weekly, usually on Thursday, give or take.
In the November 27 episode, the guys doled out coaching grades to all of the position coaches and coordinators for the 2018 season. We have recreated that discussion here for your reading enjoyment. If you like this content and would like more, check out the November 27 and December 4 episodes, which serve as Part I and Part II of the 2018 UCLA Football retrospective.
Hanna: It’s hard to give a grade here because of the amount of true freshmen that were in the rotation. Now, the defensive line in this system is not meant to be producing pass rushers. It’s meant to be occupying blockers with the occasional guy who’s able to knife through for a tackle for loss. But it’s not meant to be giving you a pass rush. So, in that sense, you’re really grading them on the run defense. And the run defense was not amazing, but it was clearly affected by depth. Can you give an incomplete grade for a full season, though?
Eberhardt: I’m comfortable with an incomplete because we don’t really know what he can do with the tools at his disposal because he didn’t really have a set of tools at his disposal.
Hanna: Well, we saw flashes from Osa Odighizuwa; Otito Ogbonnia we saw flashes from; Atonio Mafi we saw flashes from. Even Tyler Manoa we saw flashes from. We didn’t see the development I was expecting from guys like Chigozie Nnoruka and Rick Wade – those are the two who really stand out to me as guys who I thought would be a lot better in this system. And unfortunately they weren’t able to get anything out of Moses Robinson-Carr, who I fear is not going to be part of the program going forward, or at least he’s very, very deep in the doghouse right now.
So, C+ or B-? I’m going to say C+, but it has the potential to be far better based on the talent he’s going to be working with being more experience going forward. If they bring in a couple of JC linemen like I’m expecting them to, guys like Datona Jackson or Nick Figueroa, I think that that grade can go higher next year.
So it’s not an indictment on Oghobaase so much as it is a reflection of the run defense getting more porous. It’s better than last season for sure, but it got more porous as the season went along. You have to grade him on a curve, though, because of the depth issues. So, yeah, I think C+ is about the sweet spot.
Eberhardt: I might go a little bit better than you. I might say, you know, B to B- because he was able to make the improvement that he did with the depleted roster.
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Hanna: I don’t know that they could have gotten worse, though. It was impossible to get worse; that was a historically bad run defense.
Eberhardt: That’s a dangerous prediction to make with UCLA Football.
Hanna: Going from Tom Bradley or Jim Mora‘s scheme to anything run by Chip Kelly could not have gotten worse, UCLA or not.
Eberhardt: It could have stayed the same, but it didn’t.
Hanna: I suppose.
Eberhardt: I do feel like they were bad on the run in the middle of the season, but in the last couple of games, whether it was just because of play-calling by the teams they faced or whether they kind of shored things up, they did better in the last two or three games.
Hanna: It was a combination of finding a little bit more of their foothold but also facing offenses who were just less proficient as run teams this year. So it was a combination of things.
Eberhardt: I’m comfortable with incomplete, but if I had to give something I’d probably say a B-.
Hanna: I’m at C+.