The defense has been impressive.
Lastly, it’s hard not to be impressed by defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn’s side of the ball. This unit is giving up just 11 points per game, and through the first third of the season, they’re suddenly making a case to be considered one of the top three defenses in the Pac-12.
Aside from a few too many penalties, it’s tough to find a big concern with this group. They’ve given up plenty of yardage, especially through the air, but it has mostly come between the 20s. This is a bend-but-don’t-break unit that doesn’t relinquish many points. In the modern game, especially in the quarterback-strong Pac-12, that’s realistically the best approach to employ.
The highlight of the defense is Laitau Latu, a defensive lineman who has racked up four sacks, a forced fumble, and an interception in 2023. The senior is on pace for his best sack total in his career, and it’s propelled him up draft boards. In all likelihood, Latu’s name is going to get called on the first night of the NFL Draft come April.
The linebacking corps has improved with each week as well. A big part of holding Utah to just 14 points was the play of Darius Muasau and Kain Medrano. The two have combined for 45 tackles, five sacks, and an interception through four games.
The season is still young, but so far, there’s far more positive than negative within this UCLA program. The remaining Pac-12 slate can’t get here soon enough.