UCLA Football: 4 Startling Statistics Through 5 Weeks
Sitting at 4-1, the No. 18 UCLA Bruins football team has been plagued by four statistical categories.
Two of these specific deficiencies deal with the defense as a whole. To be frank, the unit has underperformed considerably. Defensive coordinator Jeff Ulbrich's group needs immense improvement, should the Bruins still have aspirations of competing for a BCS bowl bid.
The most startling statistic involves the beleaguered offensive line. Should this trend continue, starting quarterback Brett Hundley will eventually be sporting a body cast.
Lastly, the statistical output of one of UCLA's biggest weapons has been shockingly minimal.
Here are four startling statistics through the first five weeks of the season for Jim Mora's team.
*Statistical information is courtesy of NCAA.com, unless noted otherwise.
Defense on Third-Down Opportunities
UCLA efficiency defending against the opposition in third-down situations has been a real hindrance five games into the season.
Per TeamRankings.com, UCLA ranks No. 114 nationally in third-down conversions allowed per contest. Teams have averaged 7.6 third-down conversions a game through the first five. Last year, UCLA allowed only 5.2 a game.
The inability to consistently get off the field has had adverse affects on the defense as a whole. It forces the defense into a hole—resulting in more time on the field.
If this trend continues throughout the season, the defense will start to wear out. Naturally in such a scenario, the effectiveness of the defense will undoubtedly continue to drop.
UCLA possesses a talented defense from a personnel standpoint.
Myles Jack is one of the most talented players in all of college football—regardless of position. Eric Kendricks and Owamagbe Odighizuwa provide immense leadership and production to the young unit. Up-and-comers such as Eddie Vanderdoes, Kenneth Clark, Kenny Young and Fabian Moreau make up an athletic and potential-laden group.
However, Ulbrich's team has yet to fulfill its upside.
UCLA ranks No. 85 in total defense. The unit allows 429.0 yards per game and 5.27 yards per play. Although the 4-2-5 alignment appears to play with a "bend-but-don't-break" approach, generating pressure on the opposing signal-callers has been a major problem.
The front four of UCLA's defense was supposed to be a relative strength heading into the year. Per the UCLA official athletic website, the unit has registered only seven sacks through the first five games.
Last week versus Utah, Hundley was sacked 10 times.
I repeat, his offensive line allowed Hundley to be sacked 10 times.
The protection of the star signal-caller has been absolutely atrocious. On the season, Hundley has been sacked an eye-popping 23 times. This ranks the Bruins No. 123 out of 125 teams in the category of sacks allowed.
A continuance of this ineptness up front could possibly result in Hundley eventually getting injured. It also will result in UCLA not having the success it thought it'd have heading into 2014.
Injuries and defections aside, shouldn't a major program such as UCLA be able to field at least a passable offensive front from a protection standpoint?
Myles Jack's Offensive Production
What's happened to Myles Jack?
In 2013, the then-freshman back burst onto the scene—rushing for 267 yards on 38 carries. His 7.0 yards-per-carry average and seven rushing touchdowns were among the best rushing totals on the entire team. More impressively, he accrued this output on a limited basis.
This season, Jack's carried the ball 10 times for 23 yards. The element of surprise with Jack as a running back has evaporated. When he's in the game, the opposition keys on him. It's forced offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone to run mostly play action with Jack lined up as the tailback.
Regardless, he's a lethal athlete. Jack's ability to run the ball should be utilized at least five times a game.
One would think he'd at least improve upon the totals he put up as a true freshman. There's still time for him to accomplish such a feat, but his numbers through five games are surprising nonetheless.
*Jack's statistical averages are courtesy of ESPN.com.