What You Need To Know About The UCLA Offense
– No, UCLA isn’t going to be Chip Kelly Oregon quite yet. There will be a whole lot of run-pass-option things happening depending on who’s at quarterback, and the running game that averaged a pathetic 113 yards per game will be a whole lot better, but the pieces just aren’t there.
It was easy for the Bruins to rely on Josh Rosen’s golden arm to make up for the problem on defense and the deficiencies elsewhere, but now there’s a logjam/mess at quarterback that’s nowhere near ready to be figured out.
Devon Modster is the experienced option who was the No. 1 man this spring, but Michigan transfer Wilton Speight – the absolute wrong guy to work an RPO – is coming in, and the most talented player is new recruit Dorian Thompson-Robinson. Throw in the emergence of Austin Burton, and fall camp will be a blast.
Washington transfer KJ Carta Samuels probably would’ve been the best quick fix, but he bowed out to take over the Colorado State starting job.
– Oh yeah, the running game. At least there are talented options at quarterback to play around with. The Bruins have running backs, but they have to prove they can produce. Bolu Olorunfunmi and Soso Jamabo lead a veteran group, but this is whereto recruiting class takes over with Martell Irby and Kazmeir Allen two lightning-fast backs who fit what Kelly needs. Now they all need someone to block for them.
The line was iffy at best even with Kolton Miller at tackle and Scott Quessenberry an NFL-caliber center holding things down. Two starters are back, but it’s going to be a work in progress to find the right formula, forgetting about developing the depth.
– Josh Rosen helped make the receiving corps a whole lot stronger, but it still stinks to lose Jordan Lasley and Darren Andrews after they combined for 129 catches for almost 2,000 yards and 19 scores. Theo Howard is a true No. 1 target about to emerge, and the tight end situation is fantastic with Caleb Wilson coming back from a foot problem, but it’s all about the steady quarterback play. If the right guy is under center, this group will shine.
Biggest Key To The UCLA Offense
The running game has to go from zero to something – fast. The Kelly offense isn’t going to work at warp speed quite yet, but it’s going to need to get a little tricky to try making up for the concerns up front for the spotty ground game.
Again, having Rosen made it easy to rely on the passing attack, but UCLA ran for over 100 yards just seven times, and never hit the 200-yard mark. Oddly enough, in those seven games, the Bruins went 2-5 – the team won when Rosen was on fire.
Under Kelly, UCLA will might eventually double the 1,474 yards and 19 scores from last year, but it’s not going to happen right away.