The 2018 spring college football rankings, taking the first look at the UCLA Bruins.
No. 28: UCLA Bruins
Spring Practice Starts: March 6
Spring Game: April 21
UCLA Bruins Spring Status
And so it begins.
The Chip Kelly era is underway as he and the staff try to make all of the right pieces fit into the system. The offense might not make night-and-day changes, except for more of a ground game and for everything to be run a wee bit faster.
The defense is another story, having to improve by leaps and bounds after getting shoved around way too often over the last few years.
Gone, of course, is Josh Rosen, but the quarterback situation is hardly a concern – at least for the moment. The Bruins are shuffling up their line to come up with the right combination, the backs have to do more, and that defense has to go one without most of the stars in the front seven.
It’ll be a long work in progress, but that’s what Kelly is for. It’s going to take the entire offseason, though, to get up to speed.
UCLA Biggest Depth Chart Battle
Quarterback. Name the position, and there’s a badly for the starting job. The O line needs a whole lot of work, and the top receivers aren’t there, but it all starts with finding the right replacement for Rosen.
Devon Modster has the inside track in terms of experience – starting in the bowl game and throwing for 671 yards and four scores with no picks last year – but Matt Lynch is getting plenty of early work, too. These two have to shine with Washington grad transfer K.J. Carta-Samuels switching gears and picking Colorado State instead, and star recruit Dorian Thompson-Robinson expected to push for the gig.
UCLA Biggest Issue
Run defense, run defense, run defense. The former coaching staff went out of its way to try proving the team wasn’t soft, and then it finished dead last in the country at stopping there, allowing 287 yards per game.
Not helping the cause is the loss of Kenny Young from the linebacking corps and most of the front four, but 12 of the top 15 tacklers from last year are back. Toughening up that front is a must without Rosen around to bail everyone out.
UCLA Biggest Positive
The coaching staff. UCLA got the guy. Out of all the major coaching hires this offseason, Chip Kelly is the one guy everyone wanted, and the Bruins got him. There’s a whole lot of work, tweaking, and changing to be done, but this was the rockstar hire. There’s going to be a buzz as long as he’s there.
Really, Why Are The UCLA Bruins Ranked Here?
The Bruins managed to get to six wins last season even with all of the problems on defense and with the running game. Assume Kelly and the new staff and style will make enough of a difference to turn UCLA into a bigger Pac-12 South player right away. However, give it the entire offseason to get there.