• Mark

    Am I the only one thinking critically about this? The season was a disaster defensively. I’ll concede that the D saved the wins at Virginia and Texas. But the rest….Memphis – MEMPHIS! – did what it wanted. Could not stop Utah late. Oregon made Ucla look silly. The otherwise average Stanford QB looked like a Heisman winner. K-State’s Locket just improved his draft stock tremendously. The secondary this year was just laughable and totally overwhelmed by K-State.

    There needs to be some serious reckoning on D over the offseason.

    • Laker Rod

      No Mark. You are not the only one. There was high expectations for this defense but this is where the problem showed up. There were too many under classmen with heavy roles this past year and you add in a brand new defensive coordinator with no previous experience and these were the results.

      Losing Jordan Zumwalt who was virtually a 4 year starter and trying to replace him with Kenny Young a true frosh isn’t going to work. Young didn’t do anything to stand out in my opinion this year. He’s simply a good young LB who has a bright future. We obviously didn’t have anybody to replace Anthony Barr. We tried to with Orjioke and Hollins but both were young experience wise but Hollins came on late in the season.

      We also put too much faith in Owa Odighizuwa who replaced Marsh but Owa was coming off two hip injuries. He had his best year as a Bruin this year but he was just ok. Marsh was better last year. Owa did not have a Datone Jones RSr year.

      Eddie Vanderdoes and Kenny Clark were only sophomores and we obviously put too much stock in them also. Same with Ellis McCarthy who didn’t even start as a true junior.

      When front 7 guys (DL and LB’s) mature and become juniors and seniors…this is when huge improvements are made. The secondary is not as critical in my opinion but next year we have the benefit of a lot of returning starters and also guys like Adams and Willis becoming juniors. Goforth is back also. Wadood had a good year IMO as a true frosh.

      Also, I don’t think change is good. Ulbrich deserves another year. He should improve. He has to become more of a film guy IMO. Mora has to teach him more.

      I also don’t expect any newcomers to suddenly make a splash on to the scene. This is just wishful thinking. If a true frosh is still the best we got then something is wrong with the coaching at this point and we will never hit a championship level.

      • Mark

        In hindsight the playoff talk was quite fanciful. However I think that was driven by a few know-nothings at Espn who a) watched the Sun Bowl and got excited and b) got tired of picking Oregon year after year. UCLA is far, far behind Ohio State and Oregon.

        Next year seems to be a write off. I don’t forecast dramatic improvement on defense and breaking in a new QB is going to be painful with a suspect line and unremarkable receivers. And if the QB is Rick Jr or Rosen there won’t be a run threat.

      • jameskatt

        Laker Rod, most of what you say is a complaint about not having the horses to compete, of being forced to use freshmen to do the job.

        Obviously next year we have an opportunity to improve given that the team will have more experienced players coming back.

        In previous years we relied on having outstanding talent who left for the NFL, leaving holes in the defense. Having returning experienced players will help.

        • Laker Rod

          Actually what I am mainly pointing is that UCLA has too big of a fan base who have this warped belief that some true frosh are going to step in and elevate this team to higher accomplishments each and every year. For 2015, it’s obviously Josh Rosen. For 2014, many expected big things from Zach Whitley and/or Kenny Young. Some even thought Nate Starks would eventually take over the starting job in 2014.

        • Mark

          I think next year we see what Mora’s made of. Let’s face it, Neuheisal’s guys have carried Ucla to a large extent. Mora can claim Jack, Perkins and converting Barr to LB and instituting toughness. I hope each day the past 3 years Mora has called Rick and said “thank you for Brett.” I just don’t see any promising options at QB. Ucla’s talent and coaching will not be enough to overcome what will surely be bellow-average QB play no matter who it is. Especially if Mazzone and Ulbrich are still around to wreak havoc.

          • Laker Rod

            I agree that it’s basically been RN’s guys who carried UCLA to a large extent but this is what I have liked about Mora and the assistants with the exception of Klemm.

            In 2012, Mora stuck with older guys like Shaq Evans, Jerry Johnson, Johnathan Franklin, Sheldon Price, Aaron Hester, Datone Jones, Marsh, Epenesa, Damien Holmes, Zumwalt, etc.

            Only Klemm decided to play a ton of freshmen in 2012. He did the same in 2013. He even did it at the beginning of 2014 with Najee Toran. Is it no wonder that the weakest position has been O line?

            There are only a few RN recruits left like Brendel and Lucien.

            2015 is pretty much Mora’s team and there is a boat load of talent IMO. It’s to a point where hardly any true frosh needs to be relied upon. Heck we didn’t even rely on too many true frosh in 2014 either. There were simply too many sophomores.

    • SoundsLikeBoom

      lockett?? I thought that was jerry rice in a K-state jersey.

    • drakejr

      The D shut down the run (35 yards on the night). Locket was their only viable option and all things considered, that worked for us.

      • jameskatt

        Locket is an outstanding game-changing player – like Jerry Rice was for SF. He should apply for the NFL ASAP.

    • EncinitasBruin

      Agree that some serious strategic work needs to be done regarding the D in the offseason. I’m hoping JU needed this first year as a DC to “grow into” the position. A potential silver lining is that we really brought the heat on opposing QBs in 2 of our last 3 games. For example, on the year UCLA had a measly 29 sacks on the season, but almost half of them(13) came against USC and KSU, two top 25 teams–including a season high 7 vs KSU. That’s at least something to build on…regarding the front 7.

      • jameskatt

        I think as the players get familiar with the basics and gain experience, the defense will improve. It certainly has shown sparks of that.

      • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

        The defense improved throughout the year.

        My main concern is the inconsistent focus and intensity, something I never thought would be an issue under Mora.

        The Bruins were up-and-down week-to-week and quarter-to-quarter.

    • http://amillennialist.blogspot.com Santiago Matamoros

      Oregon’s made everyone look silly.

  • EncinitasBruin

    Jack, we are exactly one month away from early signing day (Feb 4), yet things seem very quiet on the recruiting front since getting Octavious Spencer’s verbal on 12/16. A lot of hoopla on ESPN about other programs’ commits at the various HS all-star games this past week (including the boys crosstown).

    Can you please give us an update on how things are looking in regard to those last coveted spots. We have 18 verbals. Do we have seven more to give, etc?

  • CaliGrown

    I’m not as worried next year as you guys are. Sure we lose Hundley and Kendricks, but thunk about all of these names coming back! (EV, Clark, Ellis, Hollins, McKinley, Jack, Young, Adams, Willis, Goodman, Wadood) Our defense could be scary good. Along with the entire Offensive Line, running backs, and receivers am I missing something? With the schedule I could see another 10 win season for this team.

  • VB

    Jack, any word on when/if Mora will be meeting with Dan Guerrero for contract discussions? The 49ers rumor is making us Bruins fans uneasy