Offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone brings the spread offense with him to Westwood from Tempe. It's not a conventional offense by any stretch, but it's not complex from the vantage point of learning the offense.
The goal of the spread is to create one-on-one match ups, where the skill players can get out in space and make people miss. It utilizes the perimeter of the field via swing passes, screens and reverses, while the slot receiver is employed on quick slants and drags.
Hundley will operate the offense with no actual on-field experience. However, the offense can rely upon senior Johnathan Franklin as the bell cow back. Franklin is the leading returning rusher on the team, and is the biggest stabilizer on the offense. Expect him to have a big senior season.
In terms of skill position players, tight end Joe Fauria is the biggest target (figuratively and literally). At 6'8", he's a nightmare match-up for any defensive back or linebacker charged with the task of defending him. Fauria has a great set of hands, and has shown the propensity to glide, rather than lumber down the field.
His ability will definitely be exploited on crossing patterns over the heart of the field, and on jump balls in the red zone. He's the top NFL prospect the Bruins have on offense.
The starting receivers are Shaq Evans and Jerry Johnson. Evans—a former Notre Dame transfer—is the top returning wide receiver. He'll be featured primarily on deep routes. Johnson has suffered a litany of injuries throughout his career in Westwood, and is now finally healthy as a redshirt senior. He has all the physical tools to be an outstanding player, but it's just a matter of him putting it all together.
Other receivers expected to play include Ricky Marvray, Jordan Payton, Kenny Walker and Devin Lucien.
The offensive line is the biggest question mark by far right now.
The team's most gifted lineman is Xavier Su'a-Filo. However, he hasn't played a snap in two seasons due to him serving a LDS mission. Redshirt freshmen Torian White and Jake Brendel seemingly have cemented starting spots, but neither have played in an actual collegiate contest.
Jeff Baca is the veteran of the group, and is by far the most versatile. He just returned to the squad after sitting out the past two weeks with concussion symptoms. In addition, Alberto Cid and Greg Capella also dealt with concussion worries during the fall period. Simon Goines and Brett Downey will also be in the mix to add depth.
This unit needs to provide ample protection for their inexperienced quarterback. Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm needs to come up with a unit that can gel and create a level of cohesion. Fortunately for the Bruins, the spread offense is predicated upon quick throws, so that should help to combat any problem the team has in terms of pass protection.
*Watch out for the trio of Jordon James, Steven Manfro and Damien Thigpen. All three are similar in stature, but add a dynamic element to the offense.
Thigpen is the fastest of the three with his sub 4.4 speed. At only 5'8" 178-pounds, expect him to be used on bubble screens and fly sweeps.
James was grossly underutilized in his first two seasons in Westwood. At 5'8" 193-pounds, he's incredibly quick, and has perhaps the best agility of anyone on the roster. There's a reason his nickname is "joystick". James' value will come on draws, reverses and even in the slot if he lines up as a receiver.
Manfro has turned into a cult hero for the fan base. At 5'9" 192-pounds, he's built low to the ground—helping him evade defenders and squeeze through for yardage. He's essentially a more powerful combination of both James and Thigpen. Manfro could be showcased on swing passes out of the backfield with his great hands.
Expect all three to be used extensively on special teams as well.