We’re nine games into the Pistol formation transformation at UCLA, and there’s been enough time to make some initial observations of the offense.
We can say without a doubt that the running game has blossomed in the Pistol. Johnathan Franklin has put together a very good season, ranking 20th in the NCAA at 99 yards per game, and Derrick Coleman has been effective in relief. The run-blocking scheme has been fantastic at times, and credit is due to coach Bob Palcic, who has a patchwork group working in sync.
It seems hard to remember now, but the offensive line was supposed to have Kai Maiava and Jeff Baca. Even with Chris Ward maturing quickly and Micah Kia as a serviceable replacement on both sides, imagine the depth with the two would-be starters back.
But now we’re starting to see some life in the passing game, which was left for dead earlier this year. Norm Chow has started moving the pocket a bit more, and Richard Brehaut has been improving daily with his pocket awareness and his playmaking ability – which just has so much to do with confidence – and you’re seeing some rejuvenation in the receiving corps.
I really wonder what we’d be seeing now if either Kevin Prince or Brehaut simply had the whole season at 100 percent, how far along the offense would be. I wonder what it will look like next season, with another offseason to tinker and perhaps some recruits tailored to the offense, like potential future F-back Junior Pomee.
What do you guys think? Has the change been worth it? Do you see it as the offense of the future or a gimmick? Can UCLA be successful in the Pac-12 running this year-in, year-out?