Bruins try to balance speed vs. efficiency


In the past four games, UCLA has reverted back to its spread offense of old. The decision was due in part to the change at quarterback as Mike Fafaul had been in Noel Mazzone‘s offense for four years at UCLA prior to this season.

Kennedy Polamalu said since after the Washington State game, the Bruins have been operating mostly in within the spread offense, which meant a significant jump in tempo. That change in pace on offense had mixed results for the Bruins on both sides of the ball.

Here’s a look at how the change in offensive philosophy affected efficiency on both offense and defense:

The light blue line is UCLA’s points scored per drive, the yellow line is opponent points scored per drive, and the dark blue line is how many seconds in between UCLA plays. Each line indicates the running season average.


The biggest thing that should jump out is the significant dip in seconds per play. UCLA averaged 20.01 seconds in between plays during the past four games compared to 24.84 seconds between plays during the seven games before that.

When looking at the yellow and light blue lines, you’ll see that the gap officially closed last week against USC, which is not a good thing for the Bruins. They’re now giving up more points per drive than scoring for the first time since the season opener.

The offense’s efficiency has dipped only a tiny amount during the past four games within the faster scheme (1.86 in first seven games, 1.75 in past four), so it’s the defense that has really changed. Opponents scored 2.13 points per drive during the past four games, an increase from 1.60 during the previous seven games.

As was a problem under Mazzone, the fast offense makes for a tired defense. Finding the right balance between speed and efficiency is the trick for every football team and the Bruins have yet to find it.

  • 88 Straight

    Thanks for pointing this out Thuc Nhi. There are some “fans” that do not understand or fail to acknowledge that the Mazzone offensive scheme puts a ton of pressure on the defense. LSU just ran through a decent A&M offense the other day.

    Also, even with UCLA operating out of the spread, UCLA has failed to run the ball well, so one cannot attribute all of the offensive woes and running woes on the new scheme as UCLA has gone back to the old scheme. Case in point, take another look at the Utah game this year.The offense moved the ball and scored points but the defense reverted to the defense of 2015.

    Coach Mora will be here next year and beyond. He needs to figure out what the philosophy and identity will be for the program from this point forward. Beyond wins and losses, I have not seen a real identity. You know what Stanford will do. You know what Oregon will do. WSU has an identity. What is UCLA?

    • JustOwns

      After 5 years Mora is confused? After 5 years the 2016 Mora offense is near to or dead last in Div 1 rushing offense and sports an ugly 4 – 7 record; that loser record from a team prognosticated to win the 2016 Pac-12 So. Conf. title.

      What is UCLA?: It’s a loser FB program doing the wrong thing over and over and expecting to win.

      • 88 Straight

        Mora has a $15 million buyout. So those that want him gone should get used to him or put up the money.

        He came in never having coached in college. He is a defensive minded coach, so he went with a spread guy to run the offense as it was all the rage with Oregon and others. I don’t think it really fit his mindset and he made a move to a different scheme.

        He has to reboot and figure out what he wants to run. He needs to decide quickly as recruiting is in the final stretch.

        • Richard

          I have it from a decent source that Mora’s buyout is structured like Alford’s. We don’t owe the the entire buy out on termination. It is paid out yearly at the rate of his last year’s salary.
          You can see the obvious advantages: we can handle yearly payments of $3.5m and ofcourse, the coach will prob get another job which will cause a set off on money we owe him by the amount he is making at his new job.
          I think ???????! UCLA lawyers were in the vanguard in establishing this practice.
          # GO BUFFS

          • 88 Straight

            Yes, but UCLA is accountable to the UC Regents as a public university. Football does not rule the culture.

          • Coach Thom

            Chancellor Block operates under the facile assumption that UCLA alumni want to see their alma mater rated academically alongside Stanford, Yale, Cal Tech, Cal Berkeley, Oxford, et al. Get real, Blockhead! Bruins, especially the overseas students, are only interested in football. Start pandering to the masses and forget about effing Nobel Prizes.

          • 88 Straight

            UCLA is an outstanding school. Berkeley has lowered their standards and still not gotten results on the field and have the worst graduation rates in the conference, one notch below SC. UCLA is 2nd, one spot below Stanford. The UCLA culture does think that’s important.

          • gotroy22

            So go with it, Kissy 86er. Hold on to your standards of being a snob school. You have driven off the season ticket holders and alumni and have alienated the students with the plans to stick them in the 3rd World section…Be the University of Chicago and drop football altogether!

          • gotroy22

            The lib culture of the ruins will use the implosion of the football program as a good excuse to drop the sexist, violent, homophobic racist game of football and replace it with a wholesome Olympic sport like rhythmic gymnastics or synchronized swimming. Some might think Dan Guerrero intentionally destroyed the program with all his bonehead moves he has made since he snubbed Mike Riley for Karl Duh-rell.

          • JustOwns

            Off with Mora’s HEAD!

        • jameskatt

          Mora wants a Pro-Style offense.
          Unfortunately, UCLA doesn’t have the players for it. So this year they lose big.
          Perhaps next year, when the currently remaining players are better developed – e.g. bigger and stronger – and new recruits come in who can play in a Pro-Style offense, will UCLA bloom.

          • 88 Straight

            UCLA doesn’t have the players for any offense at the moment. No blocking for anything. Too many drops.

          • gotroy22

            Kissy 86er, they HAD the players for the spread but then Mora fell in love with Rosen and decided to have the tail wag the dog.

          • JustOwns

            Why didn’t Mora start building the Pro Style Offense 4 or 5 years ago.

            It doesn’t take a genius to figure out why Stanford is 8 – 0 vs UCLA in the last 8 games.

          • gotroy22

            But then your mercenary pro-style QB Rosen leaves and you are losers again the next year.

      • Coach Thom

        I agree with you.

    • Laker Rod

      You continually show what a DUMMY you are.

      You can’t simply switch things back and forth and then expect things to run smoothly. In addition, the same offensive coordinator is NOT running the Nzone. We have an inexperienced OC. Are you seriously this dumb?

      Oh wait…88straight…YOU are the bozo who wanted to get rid of Mazzone and go with an inexperienced OC and switch the offense in the first place. No wonder.

      In addition, a zone read option obviously works best with a RUNNING quarterback. Does this EVER register with you?

      And UCLA did have an identity before. It was more of a fast high paced spread offense with a mobile QB and running a 3-4 defense to compete against the Oregon’s who was winning at the time.

      But even Mora said at the beginning that his 3-4 was more of a hybrid but to me was not.

      I said a long time ago the 3-4 doesn’t work in the long run because it’s difficult to recruit D linemen this way. Mora was able to reap the benefits of the 3-4 in his early years because RN ran a 4-3 and recruited certain 4-3 type DE’s like Datone Jones and Owa Odighizuwa who were like 6’4 240 when they first came to UCLA.

      The way I see it…on defense…UCLA needs to run both a 4-3 and 3-4. The base defense is 4-3 but in certain situations or against certain teams they should play some 3-4.

      On offense…they run 80% spread and 20% power and as I said before…Rosen or whomever the UCLA QB is needs to RUN. Wake up.

      • 88 Straight

        Read option isn’t the only offense. How did it work for A&M yesterday. Schooled again.

        • Laker Rod

          Most are not happy Mazzone’s gone. Same dummies who wanted him fired. It’s easy to hide on BruinGold since all the posts get deleted which the dummies and unethical liars can cover up what they once said.

          But you can’t get away with it here. You’ve been exposed for the FOOL you are. and I will NEVER let you live it down. You might as well change your log on again since you’ve been HUMILIATED to no end here.

          You have no choice but to stick to your stubborn ways.

          And look at you change your tune again. YOU are a flat out LIAR. YOU were the one arguing against Rosen running. You claimed Rosen would get hurt. You’re such a POS liar.

          • 88 Straight

            Work on your reading comprehension. I never said he should run in my post. I said the opposite. He should not be used as a runner. I have been consistent all year as have you as an illiterate.

            Bruin Gold is not a place I post. It was YIIR recommendation to look there a long time ago. That’s where I read they had banned you. You have to be some kind of loser to recommend a site where they have banned you!

            No, I have a choice about Mazzone. Unlike you, I have no problem admitting an error. You can’t even admit that our O-line isn’t using the SAME players as last year when the facts are obvious.

            I am happy that the Mazzones are gone. It’s better for the program. How long do you think they will last at A&M? I’m guessing less than the 4 years at UCLA.

          • Laker Rod

            LOL!!! What at TOOL. Now you’re back to you didn’t want Rosen to run? But just previously you were saying nobody has anything against a QB that can run? LOL!!!

            So you want the QB to run or not? LOL!!! Make up your mind you spineless JELLYFISH. That’s another name you copied me on you twit.

            All you do is change the subject. Banned from BruinGold. LOL!! Walmart. LOL!! That’s all you’re good for.

            You have not admitted one single error you LIAR.

            All you do is make up LIES. Claiming “SAME” players as last year. I clearly explained to you the SAME players who played much better in the past than this current year. You simply cannot acknowledge it because you know it is the truth so all you rely on is LIE and stick to Brendel, Benenoch, and Redmond. I even told you many teams lose players every year but don’t experience a drop in production like the Bruins have faced this year.

            In addition, you LIE and claim I’m putting the entire blame this season on the defense. LOL!! Both are problems you DUMMY. You care to claim where I said the defense was the only problem. Face it. You’re a LIAR. I don’t need to make up LIES for you. You’re such a DUMMY…it’s so easy to kick your but t based on the DUMB things you say.

            A&M didn’t finish 4-8 and get humiliated in their last game against Cal. Cal gives up 290 yards rushing per game and UCLA can’t even get 100. LOL!!! We have DUMMIES like you to thank.

          • 88 Straight

            We’re not back to it…it never changed. You simply can’t read. I never said that Rosen should run. Not once. It’s proven over and over again that you are illiterate. I am sure it must be hard to be as functionally illiterate as you are. Being dishonest and stupid must be a challenge for you in your daily life.

          • gotroy22

            But you love the dishonest and stupid Hillary who managed to drop an election despite having One Big Party hand it to her.

          • gotroy22

            Kissy 86er and Hillary never admit their lies.

    • gotroy22

      Mora, Kissy 86er and Hillary all share the same loser identity.

  • Laker Rod

    If anybody watches the games…the problem is with UCLA’s defense to begin with. They are not making the stops they need to make…period.

    It has NOTHING to do with a tired defense.

    So let me see if I have this straight. UCLA fans and Mora truly just want to play keep away at the college level so it can keep their weak defense off the field?

    I prefer to take the approach that the UCLA offense go at a fast pace and score quickly and put up a lot of points. It’s then up to the defense to get stops.

    You build up a lead at the college level and the other team will grow impatient and they force the issue and make more mistakes. In addition…once you have an opponent in a passing situation…that’s where you have them. Now you can bring in the rush and get quarterback sacks.

    Guys like 88Straight are complete m0rons and think running a conservative ball control offense is the way to go.

    There is no reason as to why UCLA cannot have a high scoring offense like Oregon but also have a very good defense. There is also nothing stopping UCLA from running a more ball controlled offense once they have run up the score. It’s a lot easier to keep drives alive when you have a running QB.

    • 88 Straight

      You are just ignorant. When did I say a conservative ball control offense? You live in an extreme world. Extremely stupid. Name one team playing a spread hurry up offense that has won a National Title.

      When you get in the red zone, you need to be able to run the ball. 3rd and short as well. Leach’s teams struggle with that too. Oregon had an elite QB in their prime years. At the end, they lost in two title games, beaten by more physical teams.

      When Meyer, Saban and Harbaugh go hurry up, I will sign on. Once again, you invent your own facts.

      You are the only person that I have seen anywhere that says the defense was the problem this year and not the offense. Wait, but then you say it’s the offense.

      Keep taking both sides of the argument. It’s what a liar like you does. You even have to copy how I point out that you are a M0R0N!! LOLser

      • Laker Rod

        LOL!!! You said you wanted the ball control when you wanted Kennedy Polamalu and the change in offense you M0RON!

        Listen to yourself complaining about Mazzzone and how it’s his fault for allowing an opposing team to score points in the 4th quarter. Last I checked Mazzone was an “offensive” coordinator not defensive which you try to yet pin the blame on Mazzone yet again. Your hatred for him makes you beyond STUPID.

        • 88 Straight

          Offense and defense are connected. You cannot go 3 and out like the offense did quickly last year on many occasions. The NZone leads to getting killed on time of possession and wearing down your own defense. It is not a recipe for long term success. Nor has he ever had any.

          Mazzone is not a winner. When has he ever won a conference championship? Major bowl game? How about naming his QB recruits for UCLA?

          • Laker Rod

            There you go with your nonsense yet again. I didn’t realize the UCLA defense gets tired in the 1st quarter.

            UCLA’s offensive coordinator is so inept it’s ridiculous.

            You’re a joke just like this UCLA football team.

            Meadors…how many holding penalties does this guy get. Rios getting beat constantly. So much for the move for Ish Adams to offense.

            NOTHING ever goes right for you. You’re a total JOKE.

          • 88 Straight

            Ish Adams was a horrible DB. He was demoted. Far less penalties on the secondary this year without him.

            You are too blind to see the receivers drop balls and a line that can’t block. Just a minimum wage flunky.

          • Laker Rod

            LOL!!! Adams is so horrible he was 1st team All Conference in 2014. LOL!!! What a TOOL you are.

            Meadors and Rios are horrible DB’s. I doubt they make 1st team All conference. Well?

            You’re so DUMB!

            And you switching the subject again? You tried to put the entire blame on the offense but yet again the defense SUCKS. They can’t get any stops. These guys actually look like the QUIT.

            Do us a favor and shut up already with your idi0tic comments. You’ve proven to all what DUMB TOOL you are. You can’t get anything right. You try to defend the defense and they make you look STUPID.

            You try to defend Kennedy Polamalu and he made you look like a complete FOOL.

          • 88 Straight

            Sure they are. Keep living in 2014.

          • gotroy22

            Keep living in your Dreamland, Kissy86er. So fun seeing you get destroyed every day here. You better seek out protection from your SC rah rah pals.

          • gotroy22

            So the Pac 12 is in on the conspiracy to hide Adams poor play at DB? You left wing kooks and your conspiracy theories!

          • gotroy22

            If Mora had bothered to recruit a durable running quarterback or two in 2012, 2013 or 2015 then the 2015 offense wouldn’t be going three and out, Kissy86er. Mazzone’s record sure looks better than 4-8 now, doesn’t it Kissy 86er? You and Mora need to find new scapegoats.

      • gotroy22

        The Hillary supporter Kissy86er calls someone else ignorant? Tell me, Kissy 86er, was Hillary correct when she said,” Not accepting the results of the election is a direct assault on our democracy”, or is she correct now when she is contesting the election she conceded 2 and a half weeks ago? Which is it?