2. KEYS TO THE SEASON
Biggest Key To The UCLA Offense
Broken record time … the offensive line has to be better. The Bruins have had way, way, way too many problems with the consistency on an offensive front that started to get better for the ground game, but struggled at keeping defenses out of the backfield.
UCLA gave up 32 sacks and 75 tackles for loss, but there was a big improvement in the average yards per carry after a horrible previous two seasons on the ground. This year’s line has experience, talent, and the upside to make a big step forward.
Biggest Key To The UCLA Defense
Broken record time … the run defense has to be better. To be fair, it was vastly improved after the 2017 disaster, and the line is big enough and experienced enough to be even stronger. However, after finishing 11th in the Pac-12 again the run, and after allowing three touchdown runs or more in eight games – losing all of them – the stop have to come.
Going back to the Josh Rosen Miracle against Texas A&M to start the 2017 season – giving up five touchdown runs to the Aggies – the UCLA run defense allowed three rushing scores or more 13 times. The team lost all 13 games.
Key Player To A Successful Season
QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson, Soph.
For this whole Chip Kelly thing to work, he needs to find the quarterback who can become a statistical superstar. Wilton Speight did what he could at times last season, but it’s Thompson-Robinson who needs to take over the team and make it his.
On the schedule is Jalen Hurts. Khalil Tate, KJ Costello, Steven Montez, Tyler Huntley, JT Daniels, and most likely at Washington State, former Eastern Washington star Gabe Gubrud. The Bruins might miss Oregon’s Justin Herbert and Washington’s (maybe) Jacob Eason, but UCLA needs to be able to at least hold its own at quarterback.
Key Game To The UCLA Season
at USC, Nov. 23
Assuming the two programs bounce back in a big way after disastrous seasons, this might turn into a battle for the Pac-12 South – at least, it will if everything goes right. More than that, depending how the Trojan season is going, it could be for the future of the program.
If USC is struggling at all, a UCLA win might seal Clay Helton’s fate and mean a coaching change to someone – oh yeah, let’s wildly speculate here – like that Urban guy working over at FOX. But it would also mean a 2-0 record for Chip Kelly against the team UCLA coaches have to beat.
– UCLA Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2018 UCLA Fun Stats
– 2nd & 3rd Quarter Combined Scoring: Opponents 239 – UCLA 135
– Time of Possession: Opponents 32:26 – UCLA 27:34
– Penalties: UCLA 82 for 684 yards – Opponents 65 for 570 yards