UCLA Bruins Football 2013 Team Program
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The UCLA football team has a ton of pressure to succeed in the 2013 season.
The pressure stems from the success of last season. Expectations in Westwood have been rapidly ascending since Jim Mora took over as the head coach.
With a litany of young and inexperienced players expected to play prominent roles, it's anyone's guess as to how the Bruins will fare this season.
Here is the UCLA Bruins football 2013 team program in it's entirety.
In this video preview, Bleacher Report analysts Michael Felder, Elika Sadeghi and Barrett Sallee provide a comprehensive look at what to expect in 2013 for the UCLA Bruins.
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A new mindset came to fruition in Jim Mora's first season leading the Bruins. A culture of discipline, accountability and toughness was thoroughly promoted by the staff—and embraced by the team.
UCLA finished 9-5 in Mora's inaugural season. In the process, Mora was able to guide the Bruins to a Pac-12 South Division title and a win over crosstown rival Southern Cal for the first time since 2006.
The 2012 season also signaled the arrival of quarterback Brett Hundley. As a redshirt freshman, Hundley threw for 3,745 yards and 29 touchdowns. He gave UCLA a dynamic option at the quarterback position for the first time since potentially Cade McNown in the late '90s.
The Chandler, Ariz. native set new school records for single-season total offense, single-season passing yardage and single-season completions.
The season was a massive success from a win-loss standpoint. For the first time in a decade, there's considerable buzz surrounding the UCLA football program.
Depth Chart: Offense
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Here's a current look at the depth chart on the offensive side of the ball for the Bruins:
1. RS SO Brett Hundley 6'3", 222
2. RS FR Mike Fafaul 6'1", 201 OR
RS FR Jerry Neuheisel 6'1", 192
1. RS JR Jordon James 5'9", 194
2. RS SR Damien Thigpen 5'8", 185 OR
RS SO Steven Manfro 5'9", 189 OR
SR Malcolm Jones 6'0", 224 OR
RS FR Paul Perkins 5'10", 196
3. FR Craig Lee 6'0", 188
Wide Receiver (Y)
1. RS SR Darius Bell 5'11", 210
2. FR Thomas Duarte 6'3", 221 OR
RS FR Nate Iese 6'3", 243
Wide Receiver (F)
1. SO Devin Fuller 5'11", 195
2. FR Darren Andrews 5"10", 180
1. RS SR Shaq Evans 6"1", 204
2. FR Eldridge Massington 6'1", 205
1. SO Jordan Payton 6'1", 212 OR
RS SO Devin Lucien 6'0", 195
1. SO Simon Goines 6'6", 325
2. RS FR Connor McDermott 6'8", 277
1. JR Xavier Su'a-Filo 6'3", 305
2. FR Kenny Lacy 6'4", 290
1. RS SO Jake Brendel 6'4", 285
2. FR Scott Quessenberry 6'3", 288
1. FR Caleb Benenoch 6'5", 320
2. RS FR Carl Hulick 6'2", 278 OR
FR Alex Redmond 6'5", 305
1. RS SO Torian White 6'5", 290
2. FR Poasi Moala 6'4", 265
Depth Chart: Defense
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Here's a look at the depth chart on the defensive side of the ball:
Right Defensive End
1. RS SR Keenan Graham 6'1", 255 OR
RS JR Brandon Willis 6'1", 275 OR
FR Eddie Vanderdoes 6'4", 305
1. SR Seali'i Epenesa 6'1", 310 OR
SO Ellis McCarthy 6'4", 330
2. FR Kenneth Clark 6'2", 305
Left Defensive End
1. SR Cassius Marsh 6'4", 260
2. FR Kylie Fitts 6'4", 270
Right Outside Linebacker
1. RS SO Aaron Wallace 6'2", 240
2. FR Myles Jack 6'1", 225
1. SR Jordan Zumwalt 6'4", 235
2. RS JR Ryan Hofmeister 6'0", 222
1. RS JR Eric Kendricks 6'0", 228
2. FR Isaac Savaiinaea 6'2", 230
Left Outside Linebacker
1. SR Anthony Barr 6'4", 248
2. SO Kenny Orjioke 6'4", 240
1. SO Fabian Moreau 6'0", 193
2. RS SR Brandon Sermons 5'11", 190
1. RS JR Anthony Jefferson 6'1", 185
2. FR Tahaan Goodman 6'2", 189
1. SO Randall Goforth 5'10", 190
2. RS SR Stan McKay 6'0", 196
1. RS FR Ishmael Adams 5'8". 190
2. FR Priest Willis 6'2", 185
1. FR Jayon Brown 6'0", 208
1. FR Sean Covington 6'1", 211
1. SO Ka'imi Fairbairn 5'11", 185
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The Bruins have been relatively unscathed throughout fall camp. A majority of the injuries listed here were preexisting from 2012 or spring practice.
It was announced that senior defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa will be forced to redshirt this year. In addition, tailback Damien Thigpen is recovering from an ACL tear he suffered last season against Southern Cal.
Thigpen has been practicing during the fall camp period, but he's still not completely healed. It's not known at this time as to when he'll be ready to compete in an actual game.
True freshman cornerback Johnny Johnson separated his shoulder during fall camp. It's looking likely that Johnson will be headed for a redshirt year.
According to Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News, seven members of the team have suffered concussion-like symptoms during camp.
Starting left tackle Simon Goines suffered a hyperextended knee in practice. Fortunately for the Bruins, The Daily Bruin reported that the injury doesn't appear to be very serious.
Linebacker Eric Kendricks has been rehabilitating from minor ankle surgery. He will return to practice this week, and should be fine for the opener against Nevada.
The biggest injury news has revolved around freshman defensive end Eddie Vanderdoes. Due to a sore back, Vanderdoes has participated sporadically throughout camp. Most of his activity has been individual work.
On Friday, Vanderdoes was able to practice with the team. His involvement will be pretty significant going forward. With Odighizuwa out for the season, Vanderdoes will undoubtedly figure into the mix for the vacant spot.
Players to Watch
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Jordon James has some massive shoes to fill in the backfield.
UCLA will no longer have the luxury of relying on Johnathan Franklin. Franklin rushed for 1,734 yards and 13 touchdowns a season ago. James was fourth on the team in rushing last year, but it was only for 215 yards.
His development as a runner will be something to watch. There's no doubt that he needs to provide balance for the offense in order to take pressure off of Brett Hundley.
True freshman Caleb Benenoch is slated to start at right guard. At 6'5" and 320 pounds, he's absolutely massive. Playing alongside veterans Jake Brendel and Torian White should aid in his progression as a player.
Kenny Orjioke is someone who could burst onto the scene fairly quickly.
At 6'4", 240 pounds, he's got ideal size for a rush end/outside 'backer. Orjioke is also equipped with long arms and great athleticism. He participated on special teams a year ago, but looks set for consistent playing time as a sophomore. The scary thing is, he's only 18 years old. His overall upside is considerably high due to that fact.
True freshmen Myles Jack, Isaac Savaiinaea, Jayon Brown, Tahaan Goodman, Eddie Vanderdoes and Priest Willis are all players who should contribute right away.
Jack Wang of the Los Angeles Daily News reported that Brown would likely be the starting nickelback.
Lastly, Ellis McCarthy could prove to be a difference maker on the defensive line. The former 5-star prospect is finally healthy after multiple knee surgeries last season. It sounds as if he's on the cusp of making a real impact in this campaign.
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Continuity was the theme of this offseason for the coaching staff.
The only coach to leave from a season ago was tight ends coach Marques Tuiasosopo. Tuiasosopo left UCLA in order to join Steve Sarkisian's staff as the quarterbacks coach at Washington. It wasn't a complete shock, considering that Washington is Tuiasosopo's alma mater.
As it's currently constituted, both quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone and wide receivers coach Eric Yarber will share the duties of coaching the tight ends.
2013 Schedule and Most Important Games
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Here is the entire 2013 schedule for the UCLA Bruins:
8/31 vs. Nevada
9/14 at Nebraska
9/21 vs. New Mexico State
10/3 at Utah
10/12 vs. California
10/19 at Stanford
10/26 at Oregon
11/2 vs. Colorado
11/9 at Arizona
11/15 vs. Washington
11/23 vs. Arizona State
11/30 at Southern Cal
The contest against Nebraska on the road figures to be a great test. It could also serve primarily as a benchmark game for both programs.
The two-game swing against Stanford and Oregon on the road will test the mettle of the Bruins. These games could go a long way in determining whether or not UCLA has truly climbed up into the upper echelon of the conference.
At the end the year, the Bruins will face off against Pac-12 South Division foes Arizona State and Southern Cal. The Sun Devils figure to be very motivated heading into the tilt at the Rose Bowl and the Trojans will surely want to exact revenge for last year's loss.
What to Look for on Offense
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The offense will begin and end with quarterback Brett Hundley. As a redshirt sophomore, he should be able to take the next step in his development as an elite player.
The hype from a national standpoint is starting to surround UCLA's quarterback. Sports Illustrated recently published a profile on Hundley's road to success. Hundley has also seemingly matured as a leader of the team.
With Johnathan Franklin gone to the NFL, there likely won't be one running back that UCLA utilizes exclusively. Five tailbacks on the roster (Jordon James, Steven Manfro, Malcolm Jones, Damien Thigpen, Paul Perkins) will likely see time in some capacity.
This scenario does offer offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone some versatility. Thigpen and James are quicker types who can excel in space. Jones is the biggest back of the bunch, and will likely be used on short yardage situations. Perkins and Manfro are more in the traditional role from a size standpoint.
Both the offensive line and the wide receivers group should be improved from a season ago.
The Bruins return four of five starters on the offensive line. Junior Xavier Su'a-Filo will lead a group that is physically more mature. Projected right tackle Torian White has even gained 30 pounds from the end of last season.
It's imperative that the group does make significant improvement. Last season, Hundley was sacked 52 times for -347 yards. The same level of physical punishment cannot happen again if UCLA is to keep Hundley healthy.
The wide receiver group of Devin Fuller, Shaq Evans, Devin Lucien and Jordan Payton should be one of the most potent quartets in all of the Pac-12 this upcoming season.
Remember the name Thomas Duarte. The true freshman from Mater Dei High School could be a factor at the Y position. Along with redshirt senior Darius Bell, the duo will hope to replicate the success of Joe Fauria from a year ago.
What to Look for on Defense
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Defensive coordinator Lou Spanos likes to have versatile athletes in his 3-4 scheme. Throughout the unit, various members of the defense have the ability to play multiple positions.
The poster child for that manner of functioning is Anthony Barr. Barr was second in the nation last season with 13.5 sacks. Although he starts as an outside linebacker, his ability to rush off the edge as a defensive end on third down attempts is special. Barr will be one of the top players—regardless of position—in the entire country.
With Datone Jones in the NFL, senior Cassius Marsh will be the unquestioned leader of the defensive line. He finished with 6.0 sacks and 9.5 TFL last year. Expect him to improve on those numbers and boost his draft stock.
Seali'i Epenesa and Ellis McCarthy will man the nose tackle position. The other defensive end spot is up for grabs at the moment. Keenan Graham, Brandon Willis and Eddie Vanderdoes are all vying for the starting job.
The linebacker group is one of the best in the conference. Barr, Eric Kendricks and Jordan Zumwalt are all on the 2013 Butkus Award watch list. Kendricks led the conference in tackles last season with 149 and Zumwalt is a rangy player with good athleticism.
The right outside linebacker spot is unsettled currently. Both Kenny Orjioke and Aaron Wallace are battling in earnest for the right to start. Either way, both represent an athleticism upgrade over last year's starter Damien Holmes.
Bar none, the biggest question mark heading into the season is the secondary. All four starters from a year ago have left. The current options on the team have a general lack of experience.
The most experienced member of the bunch is Randall Goforth. At this point, he's probably the only concrete starter. Newcomers Priest Willis and Tahaan Goodman will also be forced into action out of necessity.
Based on personnel, the Bruins should be able to generate a pretty formidable pass rush. A strong pass rush will only help the young secondary. It should aid in masking any deficiencies that the inexperienced unit may have.
Spanos also won't hesitate to employ a myriad of exotic blitz packages that he learned during his time with the Pittsburgh Steelers under renowned defensive mind Dick LeBeau.
X-Factors for 2013
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Kyle Glaser of the Riverside Press-Enterprise reported that James is at the top of the depth chart at running back.
If James can show the ability to run the ball consistently, it will do wonders for the offense. UCLA cannot simply rely on the passing game. Even if the passing game becomes the emphasis of the offense, a good running game is required for balance purposes.
Anthony Jefferson is a potential X-factor in the secondary. The redshirt junior has had a very good fall camp, and he looks primed to start at one of the safety spots.
He hasn't played a whole lot due to a myriad of injuries throughout his career in Westwood. However, he's confident in the secondary's ability this season to be a real strength.
Per Chris Foster of the Los Angeles Times, Jefferson said that "we have guys who have the mentality to be the best secondary in the nation."
A major X-factor this year will be the tough schedule.
The Bruins will battle the Nebraska Cornhuskers in the second week of the season on the road in Lincoln. Additionally, they face Stanford and Oregon in back-to-back weeks on the road.
To finish the year, UCLA faces Pac-12 South Division foes Arizona State and Southern Cal.
It will be fascinating to see how Mora's relatively young bunch can navigate through the daunting road slate.
Top Storylines to Watch
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Can the Bruins effectively replace the production of Johnathan Franklin, Joe Fauria, Jeff Locke and Datone Jones?
It will not be easy to replicate the success that the quartet achieved a year ago. A multitude of players have to step up and give the Bruins production.
Can UCLA build on the success from a year ago, and take the next step in becoming a top program?
UCLA had a successful 2012 season. For Mora and his staff, it's about becoming a consistent football program. A university with all of the inherent advantages that UCLA has should be winning 8-9 games a year, at minimum. Another solid year could signal a big upswing in the program's prospects for the future.
Will Brett Hundley turn into a Heisman Trophy contender?
With another spectacular season, Hundley could sneak into the discussion.
Will the young secondary prove to be an area of weakness?
UCLA's group of defensive backs will be completely new from a season ago. It's imperative that the Bruins can minimize the mistakes that will surely be made in the secondary.
Can the team navigate through a very tough schedule?
The road portion of the schedule is not for the faint of heart. The amount of youth on the roster could result in some hiccups along the way.
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Predicted record for the year: 10-4 (6-3)
Predicted bowl game: Alamo Bowl
The first true test will come against Nebraska in Lincoln. UCLA's young secondary will have to face a strong wide receiver corps in a very hostile environment. This game truthfully could go either way. However, Nebraska has no one who can stop Anthony Barr. UCLA's defensive front should also have success against Nebraska's offensive line.
UCLA will rely on inexperienced players at important positions. For that reason, the Bruins will likely drop both contests at Stanford and at Oregon. The Bruins are probably a year away from becoming a viable threat against the cream of the Pac-12.
The contest against Arizona in Tucson will be a trap game. For some reason, UCLA has traditionally struggled in Tucson. The Bruins have not won at Arizona since 2003. With Rich Rodriguez and his explosive offense, the Wildcats will upset the Bruins.
In a battle to see who will win the Pac-12 South Division, the Bruins will eek past a very talented Arizona State squad at the Rose Bowl. UCLA will then defeat Southern Cal in the Coliseum for the first time since 1997.
UCLA will represent the Pac-12 South Division in the Pac-12 Championship Game, and lose to Oregon.
From there, they will defeat a Big-12 team in the Alamo Bowl to finish out the 2013/14 season.