2009 UCLA Football: What to Really Expect
With the UCLA football season just around a corner the Bruins look to revenge a dismal 2008 season in which they posted a 4-8 record.
Starting at quarterback for the Bruins is Kevin Prince; They have to have better play from the quarterback position if they want to start smelling roses anytime soon.
Expecting a bowl bid for these "Baby Bruins" is definitely not out of the question, because of top recruiting class Slick Rick has put together for this season.
With already stacked receiving corps, Rick has added speedster Randall Carroll into the mix, as well as Ricky Marvay, this should be the strength on the offensive side of the football for Prince, and the other youngsters.
As far as the group of running backs goes, I feel they are starting to build a stable of backs that can all add value and something different to the offense.
Redshirt Junior Christian Ramirez is supposed to be taking the reins for the Bruins this year, but he has been injury prone for most of the spring.
So my prediction for the running this game is redshirt freshman Johnathan Franklin. Franklin wowed the Bruins coaching staff last fall with his work on the scout team, and has continued his flashes of brilliance from spring to fall practices.
Franklin has been the most consistent runner during the scrimmages this fall, so i expect him to have a breakout year, and possibly down the line be mentioned as the best running back in the Pac-10.
The group that has to be the most improved is the offensive line by far. They are the main ingredient for success this year for Norm Chow's offense to work. Bob Palcic does have high hopes for this group, but only time will tell.
Anchoring the left side of the line will be Xavier Su'a-Filo and Stanley Hasiak. The significance is they are both true freshman, and untested at the college ranks. They have both expressed how comfortable they feel lining up next to eachother.
The rest of the line besides center Kai Maiava is kind of wishy washy with Jeff Baca, Mike Harris, and Nick Ekbatani all vying for starting jobs; more or less they will be much improved.
The Bruins are also looking to use more formations without a fullback in them, in order to get their tight ends involved, and why not? The group of players at tight end could make the rest of the nation blush.
Senior, and captain Logan Paulson heads the group, and is looking to regain his swag after missing most of last year.
Also is Ryan Moya, who lead the Bruins in touchdown receptions last year, and USC de commit Morrell Presley. Who will play more of a hybrid position for the Bruins this year.
Defense and special teams are the DEFINITE strong point for the Bruins this year, and also the group I'm gonna spend the least amount of time talking about.
UCLA will be carried by its defense once again if the offense fails to put points on the board, and with All-Americans Brian Price and Alterraun Verner, this is one of the best defenses in the nation.
Rahim Moore, Reggie Carter, and the Bosworth brothers add experience to the defense as well. Also, look out for the young man named Aaron Hester, who was the stand out this spring.
I'm gonna say two words for special teams: Kai Forbath.
The Bruins of Westwood will make a bowl game this year, that is my prediction, and by 2011 will be challenging for the Pac-10 title.
In the words of the great "Slick" Rick Neuheisal, "The football monopoly in Los Angeles is over!"
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