WHAT WE LEARNED: UCLA’s margin-for-error is slim, but the payoff could be big. Injuries on the offensive line caused a disjointed effort in the spring game, but the running game looks electric and the defensive is inspired. If the Bruins can stay relatively healthy in the fall – and get improved quarterback play – this is a bowl team.
BIGGEST SURPRISE: After the departure of Brian Price left a gaping hole in the UCLA defensive line last season, things are looking up once more in the front four. The return of defensive end Datone Jones cannot be understated, and junior Damien Holmes had a fantastic spring. In the middle, Cassius Marsh is blossoming into a potential star, and the Bruins are counting on improved play from the veteran trio of Nate Chandler, Justin Edison and Donovan Carter.
CAUSE FOR CONCERN: The Spring Game showed just how precarious the UCLA offensive line situation is, as the absence of seniors Sean Sheller and Kai Maiava and junior Jeff Baca was striking. With those three in the lineup – and joined by sophomore guard Chris Ward and senior tackle Mike Harris – the line is among the best in the conference. But precious little depth exists, and the Bruins need all hands on deck.
COMING THIS FALL: The UCLA coaches made it loud and clear following the spring game – the quarterback position is up for grabs. Junior Richard Brehaut has a leg up on junior Kevin Prince, if only because Brehaut’s right knee is healthy, unlike Prince, who missed all of spring ball after major knee surgery. Freshman sensation Brett Hundley is nipping at both of their heels, though, and he’s coming fast.