FINAL RECORD: 4-8
OVERALL GRADE: D
Hard to pinpoint when the issues started – was it the Pistol? Kevin Prince hurt in fall camp? Prince out for the year midway through? Richard Brehaut’s inconsistency? – but the UCLA passing game scurried away with barely a whimper.
Johnathan Franklin burst onto the scene with UCLA’s first 1,000-yard season since Chris Markey in 2006, but you have to wonder if he was utilized enough because of ball-security concerns. Derrick Coleman and Malcolm Jones were effective, if inconsistent, in relief.
Far, far too many drops from what was thought to be a top-flight cast of receivers. Nelson Rosario proved that when healthy – and targeted – he can deliver, but Bruins needed more production from Taylor Embree, Josh Smith and Cory Harkey.
Pretty much splits right down the middle: An A for run blocking, an F for pass blocking. Grading the unit on a curve because only two starters – right guard Eddie Williams and right tackle Mike Harris – had significant playing time last season.
Injury bug stung everywhere, but no injury was as costly as Datone Jones. The junior defensive end would have been huge influence on young, inexperienced line. Have to think future is bright, though, with Cassius Marsh, Owamagbe Odighizuwa and more returning.
Akeem Ayers was simply dominant early before fading in mid-season because of myriad injuries. His production picked up toward end, but was limited against USC (three tackles). Patrick Larimore, Sean Westgate, Jordan Zumwalt good-but-not-great.
Trickle-down effect really left UCLA defensive backs with little help, and it showed as pass-interference penalties sky-rocketed and interceptions plummeted. After second-straight All-Pac-10 first-team season, Rahim Moore’s decision to stay or go could determine next season.
Kai Forbath surprisingly human, it was discovered, but sophomore punter Jeff Locke might not be. Both legs were crucial to UCLA. Not crucial? The return game, which was supposed to explode with newcomer Josh Smith, but fizzled out.
As captain, ultimately Rick Neuheisel gets the blame for the product on the field, which resulted in second eight-loss season out of three at the helm. But first mates Norm Chow and Chuck Bullough didn’t help, seemingly alternating poor performances.