As part of my UCLA spring ball preview, we break down the position groupings. With a new coaching staff, the competition should be fierce in the spring, as few players did much too cement starting roles going into spring ball. The Bruins are going to more of a base spread offense and a base 3-4 defense – though they will mix packages and personnel frequently – so take into account the changes. This is only a spring preview, so only freshmen who are participating – T.J. Millweard and Marcus Rios – will be listed.
Patrick Larimore 81 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1.0 sacks, 1 INT, 4 PBU, 1 FR, 1 FF
Eric Kendricks 77 tackles, 4.5 TFL, 2.0 sacks, 3 PBU
Jordan Zumwalt 60 tackles, 6.0 TFL, 1 INT, 1 PBU
Damien Holmes 32 tackels, 6.0 TFL, 1 sack, 2 PBU, 1 FF
Keenan Graham 20 tackles, 2.5 TFL, 1 sack
Isaiah Bowens 9 tackles, 2 FR
Todd Golper 2 tackles
Projected Depth Chart
OLB: JR Jordan Zumwalt, RS JR Keenan Graham
ILB: RS SO Eric Kendricks, RS SO Aramide Olaniyan, RS JR Isaiah Bowens, Ryan Hofmeister
ILB: RS SR Patrick Larimore, RS JR Todd Golper, Mike Orloff
OLB: RS SR Damien Holmes, JR Anthony Barr, RS FR Aaron Wallace
Coming In / Heading Out
In: FR Aaron Porter, FR Jeremy Castro, FR Nate Iese
Out: Glenn Love (graduation), Sean Westgate (graduation)
The UCLA linebacker corps was penalized through no fault of their own by a defensive line that had more give than a 60-foot rubber band. The corps, however, does claim fault for poor tackling and angles of pursuit that proved futile time and time again. The buck doesn’t stop there, though: The Bruins’ rotation at the position last year, from starters to backups, was downright baffling.
Now, with a shift to at least a heavy lean toward the 3-4, a new set of problem presents itself. UCLA needs to find a four-man crew that plays off each other better, and there is the talent here to do that. Will they be able to wrap up, though?