The good news around Westwood is that quarterback Josh Rosen is returning for his junior season.
The bad news: Major questions surround the offensive line.
Last year line problems created complications running the ball and protecting the quarterback.
Lack of protection caused a season- ending injury to Rosen.
Coach Jim Mora thinks Rosen benefitted from being on the sidelines. “Josh’s injury humbled him to a certain degree,” said Mora.
“He has matured in the off-season. It’s a huge credit to Josh, the way he has prepared himself.”
Now the Bruins need to focus on being a better.
When the Bruins went 4-8 last year, it was Mora’s first losing record in five years on campus.
“It’s hard dealing with a losing season,” said Mora.
“The first thing you do is point the finger at yourself. Then you look at everything, the coaches and the way you practice.
“You pull everything apart. Then you try to put it back together.”
The offensive line again is key for the success or failure for the Bruins.
“My concern is the offensive line,” said Mora. “We need to create a chemistry with those five players.”
Center Scott Quessenberry is one of the five.
After starting 31 games, he thinks things will be different this year.
“We have really bought into what the coaches have been saying,” said Quessenberry. “We are studying the play book more. We have all of the right pieces. And we are going to be smarter when we run the ball.”
Senior linebacker Kenny Young is a player to watch. He started all 12 games and made 90 tackles. “The defense is looking good,” said Young. “I can’t wait to play Texas A&M and get our first win.”
Young thinks the Bruins have been building team chemistry during off- season practices.
“Your ability and your mindset give you the opportunity to win games,” he said. “It’s a pleasure to play for UCLA.
“Thousands of people out there wish they could play college football. I am enjoying my opportunity.”
Mr. Finley may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org