UCLA Bruins Football Season Preview History
2011 UCLA Football Preview:
With USC facing sanctions from the NCAA, cross-town rivals UCLA were primed to pick up the players in ‘SC’s backyard that NCAA laws said they couldn’t. It was supposed to save the Bruin program, which had been in a tailspin, even before the arrival of coach Rick Neuheisel in 2007. But that progression never materialized, not even after beating a supposed powerhouse in Texas last year. In 2011, Neuheisel is looking to a revamped staff (with five new coaches) to right the ship, but the players who were supposed to be the link to a renaissance may or may not be lurking on the sidelines.
Nowhere is that more apparent than the quarterback position. The season is approaching rapidly, but the Bruins are still trying to figure out who their signal caller is, Kevin Prince or Richard Brehaut. This overshadows the trouble they’re having solidifying the passing attack overall. It may be left up to tailback Johnathan Franklin, who rushed for over 1,100 yards last season, to lead the offense until the rest of that side of the ball is on the same page.
Defensively, the Bruins are in much better shape. They will return starters at all tiers of the ball—front line, backers and secondary. All-Pac-10 honorable mention strong safety Tony Dye is leading the way in the back, while linebackers Sean Westgate and Patrick Larimore return to strengthen the linebacking corps. The line suffers from losing Akeem Ayers to the NFL last season, but tackles Cassius Marsh and Justin Edison will bring strong 2010 seasons into 2011. They, and the rest of the defense, will hope the strong core will help opposing teams from scoring while its own offensive tries to find its identity.
2010 UCLA Football Preview:
The Pac 10 Conference is so jammed with talented football teams that even the UCLA Bruins, who finished in 8th place, were able to end their season with a bowl game victory. To complete head coach Rick Neuheisel's first winning season, the Bruins defeated Temple 30-21 in the 2009 EagleBank Bowl. UCLA hopes to take some lingering momentum from the bowl game win with them in the start of the 2010 season, when they count on a few top-caliber stars to account for a lack a depth on both sides of the ball.
The Bruins were forced to replace two of their three starting linebackers this season, but the returning member, Akeem Ayers is entering the season as a strong All-American candidate. Ayers, Neuheisel and fans of the UCLA Bruins will be closely watching for defensive contributions from cornerback Sheldon Price, who many believe is primed for a breakout year. Throw in the return of Kai Forbath, a Lou Groza Award-winning kicker - arguably the best at his position in the conference - and the Bruins have a distinct advantage in many areas entering the new season.
UCLA starts the year at Kansas State and plays its first home game at the Rose Bowl on September 11, against their conference rival, Stanford.
2009 UCLA Football Preview:
Head Coach: Rick Neuheisel
The UCLA Bruins head into the 2009 season looking to improve upon their 4-8 record from 2008. Head Coach Rick Neuheisel started 2008 with things looking strong in Pasadena, but hit hard times once Pac 10 play started. This is year two for Neuheisel who now has more of his own recruits in the program, so the wins should start to come more easily. If things go right for UCLA, then they could have a shot at the Pac 10 title when they face their cross town rival, the USC Trojans, late in the season. Expect the Bruins to be one of the dark horse BCS bowl contenders throughout the 2009 season.
2008 UCLA Football Preview:
Head Coach: Rick Neuheisel
The UCLA Bruins football program has a rich tradition and history and is always one of the top teams in the country. Although the Bruins are coming off of a rare losing season, they will look to again climb the ranks of the Pacific 10 Conference this year and compete for another conference title and BCS bowl bid. The Rose Bowl, UCLA’s historic home field, will roar as the Bruins faithful cheer their team on to another era of greatness.