2008 UCLA Bruins Football Preview
2007 UCLA Record: (6-7, 5-4 Pac 10)
2007 Bowl: Las Vegas Bowl vs. BYU (L 16-17)
UCLA Head Coach: Rick Neuheisel (1 st year at UCLA, 66-30 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Norm Chow
Defensive Coordinator: DeWayne Walker
Returning Leaders for UCLA:
Other Key Returnees: LB Kyle Bosworth, LB Reggie Carter, K Kai Forbath, TE Logan Paulsen, DT Brian Price, C Micah Reed, FB Trevor Therior
Key Losses: WR Brandon Breazell, DT Kevin Brown, CB Trey Brown, WR Joe Cowan, DE Bruce Davis, S Chris Horton, C Chris Joseph, S Dennis Keyes, OT Aleksey Lanis, RB Chris Markey, LB Christian Taylor, G Shannon Tevaga
Remember when UCLA quarterbacks had all the luck? Like when Gary Beban somehow won the Heisman. That luck is long gone. Ben Olson and Patrick Cowan have shared starting duties over the last two years. Pretty much whoever happened to be healthy would play. The duo started the spring in good shape, but that did not last long. With two days left before the end of spring practice, the bad luck set in. Cowan tore the ACL in his left knee and will miss the season. Literally minutes later Olson broke his foot. Luckily, Olson should be back for the opener, but junior college transfer Kevin Craft needs to be ready.
What UCLA did best last year was stopping the run. Brian Price returns at tackle and should be joined by Brigham Harwell, who was a starter in 2006 before missing most of last season with an injury. Those two will be the start of what should be another decent front seven. Tom Blake is now a senior and needs to start looking more like the departed Bruce Davis on the end. Christian Taylor will be missed, but linebackers Kyle Bosworth and Reggie Carter return. Carter will be moving to the middle linebacker spot and that leaves an opening on the outside for senior John Hale. With all experience up front, the run defense should be alright. But more important than stopping the run will be getting pressure on the quarterback to help out a very inexperienced secondary.
Corners Trey Brown and Rodney Van and safeties Chris Horton and Dennis Keyes are gone. That leaves a whole lot of inexperienced players left on the roster. Alterraun Verner has starting experience at corner and everybody is raving about redshirt freshman Courtney Viney. However, this is the Pac-10. If the Bruins have trouble getting pressure on the quarterback, the secondary might be in lots and lots of trouble. The skill positions on the other side of the ball have some questions that need answered too. Wide receivers Brandon Breazell and Joe Cowan are gone and now it is up to Dominique Johnson to develop into the main threat. At 6-3, the sophomore certainly has the potential to be a great player, but having some more experienced options would help him develop. At running back UCLA will be fine if Kahlil Bell can stay healthy. Otherwise a bunch of freshmen will have to play a big part in the offense.
The Bottom Line for the Bruins:
Under new coach Rick Neuheisel, there is some excitement once again in Westwood. With offensive coordinator Norm Chow, who is known for churning out great quarterbacks, Olson could have a huge, huge year…if he can stay healthy. While Coach Neuheisel continues to bring in his type of players and build some quality depth, it will be important for the guys that UCLA does have to stay healthy.
2007 UCLA Bruins Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 151.00 (57th in nation, 6th in conference)
Passing Offense: 182.62 (101, 10)
Total Offense: 333.62 (99, 9)
Scoring Offense: 22.38 (92, 9)
Rushing Defense: 109.15 (14, 3)
Pass Defense: 234.08 (70, 4)
Total Defense: 343.23 (29, 3)
Scoring Defense: 22.31 (29, 2)
Turnover Margin: -.31 (83, 10)
Sacks: 3.00 (15, 4)
Sacks Allowed: 2.77 (102, 7)
By Joel Welser
Check out all of the 2008 college football previews online through College Sports Fans.
Copyright 2005-2009, CollegeSports-fans.com and the Dash Fans Network of Independent College Sports Fan Sites.