UCLA Football Follies: Is It Time To Push the Panic Button?
UCLA's football program is one of the least predictable programs in the Pacific-10 Conference. One year the Bruins finish 4-8, the next 7-6 following an impressive EagleBank Bowl victory over Temple, and now they're off to an 0-2 start to the 2010 season.
But is it time to push the panic button in Westwood? The basic answer would be "yes," but as you all know if you have read my past articles, I do not give basic answers. I will attempt to do the impossible: predict UCLA football's outlook.
UCLA football, as mentioned above, has started off the 2010 college football season with an 0-2 start and they did not look impressive in either of their opening games against Bill Snyder's Kansas State program and Andrew Luck's Stanford Cardinal.
Offensive coordinator Norm Chow attempted to give the Bruin offense a jolt this season by implementing the Pistol offense but UCLA's offense can still be considered anemic. As a good idea as including the Pistol seems on paper, if you look closely, the Bruins' offense does not possess the correct type of personnel to make the offense succeed.
The pistol offense relies on a mobile quarterback that also can pass when needed and Kevin Prince nor Richard Brehaut has the required mobility.
In addition, UCLA football has always been synonymous with excellent defense and special teams. The Bruins special teams unit was unaffected this off-season as they still have the 1-2 punch in Lou Groza Award (best kicker in college football) winner Kai Forbath and Ray Guy Award (best punter in college football) semifinalist Jeff Locke.
The defense are where the majority of the concerns lie.
The Bruins lost Pac-10 Defensive Player of the Year DE Brian Price as well as 2009 All-American cornerback Alterraun Verner to the NFL Draft, thereby leaving two huge voids for UCLA's defense to fill.
So far the Bruins have failed that task miserably by giving up 66 points in their first two games which includes an embarrassing 35-0 loss to Stanford as well as a 234 yard, two touchdown performance by Kansas State RB Daniel Thomas.
If these struggles continue, which certainly look possible given that UCLA has games against Houston, Texas, California, USC, Oregon State, Oregon, and Arizona coming up, head coach Rick Neuheisal could find his way out the door come season's end.
Recruiting is a pleasant surprise in Pasadena as UCLA has eight commitments coming to the campus in 2011 with two notables being QB Brett Hundley and WR Brandin Cooks, both rated as four-star recruits by Rivals.com so that should improve UCLA's offense although you should expect minimal impact by the two in their freshman year.
UCLA's football outlook over the 2010 and 2011 seasons looks bleak and Bruin fans should not expect any bowl appearances or Rick Neuheisal to be roaming the sidelines at the end of the aforementioned time.
The Bruins are in the middle of a waiting game that will take a few years to complete but once the rebuilding process is finished, expect UCLA's offense as well as the program as a whole to be more effective that at this point in time.
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