College Football News Preview 2020: UCLA Bruins Keys To The Season
Biggest Key To The UCLA Bruins Offense
The pass protection and the offensive line must be stronger. Both starting tackles are back, the decision-making should be a bit better no matter who’s at quarterback, and the rotation at running back should be fine even without Joshua Kelley.
While the Chip Kelly offense can crank up the plays and the tempo from time to time, it was often at its best when it was able to line up and blast away. The ground attack had a five-game run of 200 yards, but it didn’t get there in the first four game or the last three.
For an offense that’s supposed to move with pace, allowing over three sacks and seven tackles for loss per game are too many. However, it really is all about that ground game.
Getting to 200 yards doesn’t make anything a lock under Kelly, but the Bruins are 5-2 over the last two seasons when they hit the mark, and they’re 2-15 when they don’t.
Biggest Key To The UCLA Bruins Defense
The pass defense has to eventually do more. The pass rush wasn’t all that bad, and the pressure was there at times, but the defensive backs couldn’t make enough plays.
They struggled to get off the field, they picked off a mere five passes – actually, the DBs only picked off three of the five – and they got ripped to shreds for 230 yards or more in every game but two – the win over Stanford and the win over Colorado.
To be fair, getting bombed on by Washington State’s Anthony Gordon for 570 yards and nine touchdowns – winning that one, by the way – and by USC’s Kedon Slovis for 515 yards and four scores sort of skewed the stats, but there were way, way too many big plays allowed all year long.
Again, to give UCLA a bit of a break, playing in the Pac-12 didn’t help, and facing Oklahoma was a problem for just about everyone, but San Diego freaking State – who averaged a season-high 9.5 yards per throw against this D – was able to hit just about everything.
And that’s why …
Key UCLA Bruins Player To A Successful Season
CB Rayshad Williams, Soph.
A decent tackler, the 6-2, 183-pounder came up with 33 tackles – 30 of them solo – but he didn’t pick off a pass and only broke up three. However, as one of the team’s most experienced corners, he has to be the guy now that Darnay Holmes is gone.
He has the size, and he can get physical, but now he has to scare anyone who wants to throw his way. He has to help change around the pass defense that’s been missing over the last two years.
Key Game To The UCLA Bruins Season
at San Diego State, Sept. 19
Seriously, UCLA, enough with losing to the Group of Five programs, even if they’re good ones.
When was the last time the program started out 3-0? 2015. When was the last time the program didn’t start out 0-3? Before Chip Kelly took over.
Try this. When was the last time the program beat a Group of Five team? Hawaii on September 9th, 2017.
UCLA lost the following week to Memphis. It lost to Cincinnati in each of the last two seasons, it lost to Fresno State in 2018, and it lost to San Diego State 23-14 last year.
UCLA won’t lose to New Mexico State to open up the season. It probably won’t lose at Hawaii, but that’s hardly a given. Even so, assume a 2-0 start. With a week off to get ready, there’s no reason the Bruins can’t handle the trip a few hours down the road against Brady Hoke’s Aztecs.
– UCLA Bruins Schedule Breakdown & Analysis
2019 UCLA Fun Stats
– 4th Quarter Scoring: Opponents 115 – UCLA 57
– Punt Return Average: UCLA 22.5 – Opponents 10.6
– Average Yards Per Pass: Opponents 9.2 – UCLA 7.2