UCLA’s most anticipated season in well over a decade is 21 days away.
In 21 days, the offseason hype will be merely a reference point to which everything the Bruins do will be compared. When UCLA takes the field against the Virginia Cavaliers on August 30, the scrutiny begins.
Because this UCLA team has been placed with some really lofty expectations. After a 10-win campaign in 2013 and an offseason which saw quarterback Brett Hundley make his call to come back for his junior year, the national media and the local media have put the Bruins on a pedestal.
(As a side note, for this writer, that pedestal is daunting. After 14 years of inconsistent management, curious personnel decisions, and shoddy football, the Bruins have gone from Pac-12 bottom-dwellers to national title contenders after just two years in head coach Jim Mora’s reign. The team’s certainly talented and the coaching staff’s implicit system for improvement puts them on a serious track for national contention long-term, but this rise is rather meteoric.)
Of course, receiving considerable hype has been the Bruin defense. This, of course, is also pretty terrifying, mainly because the UCLA defense had previously been considered to be the lesser of the two units.
In any case, hype or not, a season must be played. What does this UCLA defense look like, and what can we actually expect from them? Let’s take a look. Continue reading