Jump to content

Bred First To Be Champions

The SMU Mustangs are your 11th CFBHC National Champions!

Detroit Sends Lions to Maul Chiefs

Detroit has won Super Bowl X! DE Ilan Kuhn was named Super Bowl MVP with 1.5 sacks and fumble recovery TD.

Training Camp SZN

Training camp has now opened up. The defending AFC champion Kansas City Chiefs got to it early as they try to make their way back to Super Bowl XI.

The Cleveland Browns Select Zach Lombardi

With the first overall pick in the 2024 NFLHC Draft, the Cleveland Browns select Zach Lombardi, Quarterback, Navy.
  • Shoutbox

    Shoutbox

    Please enter your display name

Jieret

[2024] UCLA Bruins Preview

Recommended Posts

Notes: 

  • None of these previews will predict records or standings, those will come in a future post.
  • All stats are from 2023 unless otherwise mentioned.

 

osu-fb-056-two-600x412.jpg

:ucla:UCLA Bruins: 5-4 conference, 8-5 overall
Last Year’s Conference Finish: 8th (4th Pac-12 South)
Coach: @cultur3 (4th year)
 


Returning Starters: 
Offense: 7
Defense: 7

 

Key Losses:  
FB Calvin McClellan 6-1 233 (Sr) Salem Academy (Salem, OR) 5.0 of 5.0 [Pass Blocking] - Drafted 240th overall by NYJ
WR Brian D'Angelo 6-4 171 (Jr) Contra Costa College (San Pablo CA) 4.5 of 4.5 [Speed]: 74 catches for 1120 yards, 14 TDs, 4 Drops, 15.14 YPC - Drafted 106th overall by ATL
CB Andrew Poole 6-0 202 (Sr) Columbia (Burbank, WA) 3.5 of 3.5 [Man Coverage]: 17 TKL, 3 INT
 

Key Returnees: 
QB Aaron Harden 6-3 218 (Jr) Fontana (Fontana CA) 4.0 of 5.0 [Scrambling]: 299 of 495 (60.4%) for 3861 yards, 33/6 TD/INT, 2 Fumbles (0 lost), 297.0 YPG.  31 rushes for 234 yards, 4 TDs
RB Tremaine Clemons 6-0 197 So Golden Valley (Merced CA) 3.0 of 5.0 [Power]: 228 rushes for 1377 yards, 15 TDs, 1 Fumble (0 lost), 6.04 YPC
WR Noah Tumaalii 6-4 225 (Sr) Vernon Kilpatrick (Malibu CA) 4.5 of 4.5 [Target]: 71 catches for 1186 yards, 12 TDs, 4 Drops, 16.70 YPC
OG Ayden Kilpatrick 6-7 255 (Sr) Golden Valley (Merced CA) 4.5 of 4.5 [Pass Blocking]
DT Sila Tuputala 6-4 333 Sr Contra Costa College (San Pablo CA) 5.0 of 5.0 [2-Gap]: 24 TKL, 7 TFL, 5.5 Sacks, 1 FF
ILB Dillon Hall 6-3 243 (Sr) South (Bakersfield CA) 4.5 of 4.5 [Will]: 47 TKL, 1 TFL, 1.0 Sack, 2 INT, 1 PD, 1 FF, 1 TD
OLB Damian Thompson 6-2 225 So Hayfork (Hayfork CA) 2.5 of 5.0 [Blitz]: 48 TKL, 6 TFL, 3.0 Sacks, 4 INT, 1 FF, 1 TD


Key Newcomers: (true freshman unless noted otherwise)
WR D'Mario Russell 6-1 188 Fr Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland CA) 1.0 of 5.0 [Speed]
OT Shane Houston 6-1 255 (Fr) Acalanes (Lafayette CA) 3.0 of 5.0 [Pass Blocking] (Redshirt freshman)
CB Golden Owens 5-10 197 Jr Reedley College (Reedley CA) 3.5 of 4.5 [Zone Coverage] (JuCo)
 
 
2024 Depth Chart: http://cfbhc.com/index.php?/topic/32289-2024-ucla-bruins-depth-chart-rs/

 

 

2023 Review:

Regular season:
WON vs. :ball: Ball State 49-21 
WON at :ccu: Coastal Carolina 69-8 (nice)
WON vs. :stanford: Stanford 35-13
WON vs. :zona: Arizona 31-17
LOST at :asu: Arizona State 23-31
WON vs. :utah: Utah 31-28
WON at :orst: Oregon State 38-22
LOST vs. :wsu: Washington State 22-35
WON at :colorado: Colorado 24-21
WON vs. :fiu: Florida International 39-21
LOST at :cal: California 21-31
LOST vs. :usc: USC 30-33


 

Postseason:
LOST Sun Bowl vs. :uva: Virginia 28-42 

 

2023 looked like it could be their year in the South, things lined up so well.  They missed Oregon and Washington in cross-divisional play.  Their hated rivals USC were starting a true freshman at quarterback, while their own true freshman starter was the #2 RB recruit in the nation.  If UCLA took care of business, it seemed like things would take care of themselves.

 

Things started off so well for the Bruins.  A pair of tune-up games eased them into victories against Stanford and Arizona and a shiny 4-0 record with all their winning margins by multiple scores.  Then, a stumble to the Fighting Israel Carlsons of Arizona State.  Then, a narrow 3-point win against last-place Utah presaged an uneven end to the season.  Comfortable wins against Oregon State and FIU traded with sloppy losses to Wazzu and Cal, all sandwiching yet another narrow win against lowly Colorado.

 

And yet.  And yet.  And yet, UCLA still had a chance at the division title heading into Week 16.  It wasn't completely in their hands, mind you.  They had to beat USC, yes, but they also needed Arizona to win the Territorial Cup.

 

Going into their prime time game, the Bruins hopes stayed alive as the clock ticked down on an Arizona victory.  One down, one to go.  Now all UCLA had to do was take care of business themselves, and they tried.  Lord, they tried.  But four quarters and two overtimes later it was the Trojans who walked out of Pasadena victorious.  Instead of a division crown, the Bruins got themselves a trip to El Paso to face the Virginia Cavaliers.

The Sun Bowl ended up being a microcosm of their season.  Harden had the flashy 402-yard, 3 TD day.  UCLA was tied at 21 heading into the fourth, and even took the lead on a short Clemons run.  Then the kickoff team blew a lane assignment, and the floodgates opened.  The Cavs ended up scoring as many points in the fourth as they had in the first three quarters.  The Bruins... did not.

 

2024 Key Points:

 

  • Harden might be a rock star, but he isn't a solo artist.  The junior QB has been the face of the team ever since he became a starter in 2022, and he -and the offense as a whole- had quite the year in 2023.  The Bruins led the Pac-12 in several offensive team metrics such as yards per game (430.54) and points per game (33.85).  But it's telling that the four games where UCLA failed to reach 100 yards rushing were all losses (ASU, WSU, Cal, Virginia).  As good as Harden, D'Angelo, and Tumaalii were, their offense requires balance to operate at full capacity.  Tremaine Clemons was one of the best in the PAC as a true freshman and should only get better from here, so it would serve the Bruins well to feed him his share of the ball no matter what.  

 

  • Is Harden's understudy ready, just in case?  Who even IS his understudy?  UCLA is probably one of the deepest teams in the conference, if not the deepest.  But despite our talk about the offense needing balance, Harden is the one part of this team they clearly can't afford to lose.  Not only is he one of their best players, true sophomore Johnny Talbot is listed as their backup.  Talbot is a 2.5/3.0.  Their Trojan friends to the east still remember what happened in 2021 when starter Marc Lockwood went down and Sebastian Reardon, a 2.5/3.0 sophomore, tried to hold the fort. (Narrator's voice: He did not.)
    All the more reason, then, to not fill Harden's plate as much on offense.

 

  • Can the defensive whole be greater than the sum of their parts or can they learn to play within themselves?  (Pick your preferred sports cliche)  The defense is improved from what it was in 2023.  Their biggest loss, CB Andrew Poole, is more than offset by JuCo Golden Owens, and virtually every other defensive player saw progression. They're going to need it, because there was real estate to be had against the UCLA D last year.  They ranked ninth in defensive yards  and points surrendered per game (333.46 and 24.85 respectively), and only ranked sixth in sacks per game (1.69).  Perhaps a big part of that was playing so many youngsters (only four defensive starters were juniors or seniors), which led to a lot of undisciplined play.  UCLA "led" the conference with a whopping 110 penalties (for reference ASU and Washington were second with 93).  Sometimes offenses didn't earn their yards and points as much as the Bruin defense gave it to them, this has to be a point of emphasis for the coaching staff this season. 

 

  • Can they be 11% better than USC?  The Pac-12 South race is heavily handicapped towards the Los Angeles schools this year, and the Trojans have had the edge over the Bruins over the last two years (a certain coaching perk may or may not be involved in this).  That aside, this game probably comes down to how well UCLA can contain Riley Sharp and that trio of 5.0 WRs.  Golden Owens was a much-needed addition to the Bruin secondary, but that back four will still need the UCLA pass rush to get to Sharp with a quickness if they want to beat USC for the first time in the Aaron Harden era.  The division may very well hinge on it (again).

 

 

Schedule:
0   :okst: Oklahoma State
1   :lt: Louisiana Tech
2    at :uconn: UConn
3    at :utah: Utah 
4   :cal: California
5   :colorado: Colorado
6    at :zona: Arizona
7    Bye
8   :oregon: Oregon
9    Bye
10    at :stanford: Stanford
11    at :uw: Washington
12   :asu: Arizona State
13    at :usc: USC

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...