With 100 days until kickoff, Go Joe Bruin wants you to be aware of 100 things surrounding the UCLA football team heading into the 2019 season.
1. Joshua Kelly topping 1,000 yards
Seeing as the Bruins top back in 2018 ran for over 1,000 yards last season (1,243 to be exact), it seems logical to predict that he will do it again. Although I would guess somewhere around 1,500 yards. 2,000 if he’s really feeling it.
2. 2019 will start better than 2018
The beginning of the 2018 season was like starting any video game. Even if you pick the best player with the highest rating, you still have to get used to the controls, style, gameplay, flow, etc. – which is what we saw at the start of last season. But once you get used to the game, you will eventually start to dominate – which is what we saw at the end of last season. As they enter “Level 2” of the Chip Kelly adventure, the Bruins will be a lot more prepared and ready to rock!
- UCLA’s first four games of 2018: 17.0 ppg, 311.3 total yards
- UCLA’s last four games of 2018: 31.3 ppg, 485.5 total yards
3. The nation will soon know about DL Atonio Mafi
Mafi (who is the biggest player on the team) did some remarkable things for the Bruins and helped them improve on their run defense. In his sophomore campaign, the big DL will not only be a driving force for the UCLA defense but will get national attention. Why? Go back and look at his film. He is a beast!
4. First road test: Starting the season on a Thursday in Cincinnati
Not only will the Bruins start the season with a challenging game, but they will do it two days sooner than expected as the game (which was initially scheduled for Saturday, August 30), was moved up two days into a primetime slot. And it is against a Bearcats team that surprised everyone last year and went 11-2. No pressure, Bruins.
5. A more aggressive defense, finally
We should finally be able to see what DC Jerry Azzinaro’s defense is made of. Injuries and exits limited the Bruins last season, but with several players on the mend and with a lot more depth, the defensive coordinator should be able to exert his will on his opposition. Persoanlly, I’m looking forward to improvements in run defense.