Jim Mora returns to his UCLA for his fourth season, and the roster he has assembled certainly appear to be more than capable of competing in the competitive Pac-12 South Division. The main problem continues to be at quarterback. The team is solid on new defense, and should be strengthened by the addition of new defensive coordinator Tom Bradley. If they can pull it all together, the team should be ready to win 10 games for the third season in a row, which should set them up nicely to finish at least third in the Pac-12 South, and just inside the top 25 nationally.
UCLA will have a major gap at quarterback, losing Brett Hundley to the NFL. He alone broke a number of records in his three years at the helm for the Bruins, so replacing him will be a tough task indeed. It appears that the top candidate to replace him will be true freshman Josh Rosen, who was the nations top high school recruit. He is talented and, even though he is young, look for Mora to give him the nod. It is also interesting to note that his high school team ran a similar offense to the one that the Bruins run, so he has a leg up in the regard. Rosen will have an experienced offensive line behind him as he starts his collegiate career. All five starters return to protect not only the quarterback, but also star running back Paul Perkins. Perkins led the Pac-12 in rushing yards last year. In addition to Perkins, the UCLA offense returns nine of its 11 starters. This means that Rosen will have quite a bit of experience to draw from. If he can mature quickly, it should be great season for scoring in Southern California.
The core leadership at the defensive end of the football is gone. Linebacker Eric Kendricks and defensive end Owa Odighizuwa are gone to the NFL, as is cornerback Anthony Jefferson. The defensive squad as a whole, however, is extremely talented. Once they gain some experience and maturity, hopefully quickly for the sake of Bruins fans everywhere, the team should be as stong as ever. Linebacker Myles Jack is returning for what many to believe will be his final year. In addition to him, linebacker Devon Hollins and defensive end Takkarist McKinley will be returning and hoping to build upon their solid performance from a year ago. The secondary appears to be a bit weak for the Bruins, but sophomore safety Jaleel Wadood has shown flashes of brilliance that could provide the hope that UCLA needs to shore up that remaining question mark. If they can develop some players with real leadership potential, look for the Bruins to be definite contenders right out of the gate.
The relatively new UCLA team will look to be a power in college football once again as they take on quality opponents including USC, Arizona State, Stanford, and BYU. Mora and the Bruins will look to continue to build their success heading into the future as 2015 could be a starting point for great UCLA teams.
Courtesy of the University of California Los Angeles