UCLA-UW Recap + Analysis


(Luis Sinco / Los Angeles Times)

UCLA had a promising showing in the 31-24 loss to Washington. Look for the momentum from this gritty performance to translate into our first win against Cal this week.


Our O-Line was tremendous in finally giving QB Dorian Thompson Robinson time to make plays, with a respectable stat line of 27-38 for 272 passing yards with 2 touchdowns and 1 interception. On UCLA’s 3rd quarter TD drive in which DTR drove the ball 90 yards, he did a great job of finding his Howard and Wilson down the field; this was especially impressive considering UW was rushing 5-6 pass rushers to apply pressure for majority of the drive. I would like to see a few more QB keepers on the zone read for DTR, as he has usually netted about 8 or more yards when he keeps the ball in previous games. It would be a great way to keep the defense honest. It would better utilize DTR’s skillset as a runner and open the holes up more for Kelley as a result.

DTR did a great job of evading pressure at times, but our solid O-Line play helped establish the run with Joshua Kelley, which opened up the passing game. Joshua Kelly looked like an RB with workhorse potential on Sunday with 20 carries for 125 yards and 2 touchdowns (6.2 YPC). I found it interesting that Bolu and Jamabo got no playing time this game, with Kazimir Allen and Martel Irby the only two backups to take carries. I love that Allen is getting reps, but Kelly is utilizing him incorrectly. Because he has speed, he should not be getting him inside handoffs. Kelly should give him more outside runs or quick swing passes because he is more likely to make something happen in the open field. Seeing that Allen is just 170 pounds, giving him inside handoffs increases the likelihood of him getting crushed and injured by opposing linemen, with most of these inside runs for Allen netting between just 0-3 YPC.


During the first 4 games of the season, our defense has lacked a true playmaker. 2 came out of nowhere against UW and made great plays: LB Krys Barnes and DL Osa Odighizuwa. Odighizuwa (5.5 tackles, 1 sack) set the tone early with fantastic run support to tackle UW RB Myles Gaskin on the first play of the game. He later sacked Browning and allowed to us to get some pressure on Browning, which forced him to make a lot of plays with his legs. Barnes (7 tackles, 1 sack) in my opinion had his best game of the season, most notably on UW’s first scoring drive. UW had converted multiple 3rd and longs and looked primed to score a touchdown on the 1st quarter drive, but Barnes made a great tackle on 2nd down and had a massive sack on 3rd down which forced UW to take a field goal. With leader LB Josh Woods out for the year, Barnes made tackles all over the field and asserted himself as an impact player for our defense. FS Adarius Pickett filled up the stat sheet with 16 tackles and an interception and his sure tackling helped prevent UW’s defense from being more explosive.

Senior CB Nate Meadors has seemed to have been picked on by opposing offenses the entire year (most notably with OU WR CeeDee Lamb having 146 receiving yards and a TD in Week 2) and this trend continued on against UW. He always appears to be in the right position to make plays, but failed to do so on Sunday against Aaron Fuller (100 receiving, TD). Hopefully more pressure from our Front 7 can help alleviate QBs from exploiting these one-on-one matchups in the future.


Overall this was UCLA’s best performance of the season. It will be exciting to see if we can continue our growth and hopefully win our next 2 games against Cal and Arizona respectively.

Go Bruins!

UCLA Football Week 1: Takeaways + Observations

Image result for ucla cincinnati football

(Photo: USA Today Sports/Gary A. Vasquez)

After reviewing the Cincinnati game, I am openly optimistic that doom and gloom is not yet on the horizon. But it very well may be a distant ship getting ready to enter the harbor soon, unless we are able to fix a few things.
Actually didn’t play too poorly. Except for the 2nd quarter and the last drive of the game, our D played stout. They were active and held their ground.
It’s apparent to me now that we don’t much of a pass rush with the standard 3 down linemen. We blitzed a lot to compensate for it but oftentimes Cincy was able to counter with big gains on quick outside throws and/or running it right down our throats. Our front 7 needs to improve quickly or else it will be a lot like last year where we were close to last in rushing defense. We need to stack the box with 8-9 guys and play man on the corners. Our goal for each game should be to stop the run FIRST and force teams to try beat our strength — defending the pass.
There is much more to be concerned about here. There were a multitude of factors as to why we played so poorly, but there is one main factor that was painfully obvious: Our offensive line is not very good…yet. Their play was average at best. Because we couldn’t hold the line, the running game was stymied and we ending up being forced to pass more. Due to the pressure from Cincy, QB Dorian Thompson Robinson was under constant duress and oftentimes just chucked to ball too hard where he either underthrew or the ball just went threw the hands of our receivers. With time and experience, I’m confident that he will be able to make those throws with touch and better accuracy. It appears that with a first year backup at QB, Cincy’s decided to blitz a lot and our O-line didn’t seem like they knew exactly how to pick up Cincy’s different blitz packages (coaching). By the end of the game, Cincy was able to get pressure on DTR even without blitzing. They got to him with only 3 or 4 down linemen. That was the end.
I expect we play much better this week in spite of the increased quality of opponent. Hoping that Oklahoma overlooks us.
Prediction: Oklahoma 35  UCLA 24

This post was written by Uncle John. Uncle John is a diehard UCLA Football fan. He played wide receiver in high school and is a UCLA Alumnus.
Special thanks to Uncle John for contributing with this post.


Disclaimer: While we welcome and respect any and all points of view re: our beloved UCLA sports teams, editorial commentary by our fans are just that, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or perspectives of The Bruin Brigade or its affiliates.


5 Key Pass Rushers for UCLA Football: Rick Wade


(Photo Courtesy of USA Today)

4. DE Rick Wade, RS Junior, 6’6” 275

2017 Season Statistics: 11 Games (5 Starts), 33 Tackles, 5 TFLs, 1 Sack


Aside from LB Keisean Lucier South (25 games played), Wade is the most experienced pass rusher on UCLA’s roster with 23 games played and 5 starts, including the final 3 games of the 2017 season. He improved from 3 TFLs in 2016 to 5 TFLs in 2017. Wade flashed potential early in the season with 4 of his 5 TFLs coming in the first 5 games. However, after suffering a knee injury against Arizona, he missed the following two games against Oregon and Washington respectively. With just one TFL in the final 5 games of the season, it is plausible that his knee injury against Arizona hindered his progress. Had he been injury free and continued his pace, Wade would have ended the season with 10.5 TFLs which would have led the team. I believe Wade will continue to trend up, seeing players similar to his size thrive in Chip Kelly’s defense at Oregon. An example of such a player is former Oregon standout and current 49ers DE Deforest Buckner, who was 6’7” and 290 pounds compared to a lighter 6’6” and 275 pounds in Wade. After having a combined 6 TFLs in his first 2 years at Oregon, Buckner exploded onto the scene with a combined 30 TFLs in his final 2 seasons. While it may seem improbable that Wade has the same dramatic increase in production as Buckner, it is completely feasible we see an uptick in production due to his experience, size, and Chip Kelly’s defensive scheme.

5 Key Pass Rushers for UCLA Football: Marcus Moore


(Photo courtesy of Don Liebig/ASUCLA)

5. DE Marcus Moore, RS Sophomore 6’2” 255

2017 Season Statistics: 13 Games (3 Starts), 20 Tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 1 Sack


Marcus Moore drew comparisons to pressure monger and 2017 NFL 1st round draft pick Takkarist McKinley from former head coach Jim Mora because he played with high emotion and with a high motor. Moore showed promise last season in creating pressure and was one of the few bright spots for a front 7 that lost Matt Dickerson, Jaelan Phillips, and Josh Woods, among others, to injury. Of the 16 defensive linemen on last year’s roster, the local Pasadena native was 1 of 4 (Jacob-Tuioti Mariner, Chigozie Nnoruka, Osa Odighizuwa) who played in every game a year ago. Moore took advantage of his chance to gain experience as he made 19 of his 20 tackles in the latter half of the season. Moore was able to progress rapidly in his first year of playing time so I expect big things for him as his development continues in year two. While it may not be reflected on the stat sheet in increased sacks and tackles, we should see Moore to be a disruptive force in every opponent’s backfield.  Moore’s continued development makes him a dark horse candidate to breakout this season.



7-on-7 Q&A with Bolu Olorunfunmi

1531435129525Welcome to the first post of our exclusive 7-on-7 Q&A Series! 7 questions were asked to Bolu Olorunfunmi plus a bonus PAT question.

Position: Running Back
Year: Senior
Rushing Yards (2017): 565 (4.8 YPC)
TDs (2017): 5


1. What are the biggest differences you have seen under Chip Kelly?

The biggest difference is that he has taught us to be accountable for each other and to keep each other on the mission at all times.

2. What are your on-the-field aspirations for the 2018 season?

All I can tell you is that I am going to go out there and give it my all and hope for the best every single game.

3. Best locker room prank?

What happens in the locker room stays in the locker room.

4. Which one of your teammates is a leader in the locker room that UCLA fans do not know about?

I would say Colin Samuel for sure.

5. What are your plans for life after football?

My plan after football is to hopefully get into entertainment and pursue a career in that.

6. What 3 things in life are you most passionate about?

I am passionate about my family, my faith, and football.

7. Two-Minute Drill

a. Nike or Adidas?


b. Kanye or Drake?


c. In-N-Out or Chik-Fil-A?


d. Fortnite or NBA2k?


e. Lebron or MJ?


f. K-Pop, yes or no?



PAT Bonus Question: Which underclassman do you think will have a breakout season this year and why?

I think an underclassman to watch is Darnay Holmes, that boy has been working!!


Special thanks to Bolu for agreeing to be interviewed. We’ll be looking for you to kill it this coming season.

UCLA Football’s Top 3 Impact Players for 2018: Adarius Pickett

15313863426851. Adarius Pickett (Free Safety, RS Senior)

Pickett decided to forego the NFL Draft for his senior season and is going to be both a force and an emotional leader on UCLA’s defense this season. As a team captain last year, he was second on the team 85 tackles to go along with 3 pass breakups and an interception. It is highly likely that Pickett improves in all of these statistical categories for a number of reasons. The first is experience as Picket will bring 1.5 years of starting experience to a veteran secondary. The next is the departure of 4-year starter and 2nd-team All Pac-12 SS selection Jaleel Wadood, who had 79 tackles a year ago. Wadood’s role will succeeded by redshirt freshman Quinten Lake. Pickett will likely be expected to do more for the first year starter and will likely record more tackles. The final rationale for a breakout year is that it is very plausible that Pickett has more interceptions this year. I fully expect the UCLA Front 7 and specifically the defensive line to generate more pressure. Keisean Lucier-South, Jaelan Phillips Rick Wade, Chigozie Nnoruka, Osa Odighizuwa, and Marcus Moore all flashed potential last season, but none were able to truly break out. Phillips got injured and was only able to play in 7 games while Wade, Odighizuwa, and Moore all played behind seniors Jacob Tuioti-Mariner and Matt Dickerson. The talent for generating pressure is certainly present, as both Phillips and Lucier-South were rated 5-star recruits by ESPN.

Pressure and interceptions has a known correlation. The average of the top ten leading teams in interceptions from a season ago is 19.7 interceptions and 33.3 sacks. UCLA was ranked 89th in the nation in total interceptions with 8 interceptions and had just 22 sacks in 2017. New DC Jerry Azzinaro is known for bringing heat in terms of pressure on the quarterback and if any of these players can be our next premier pass rusher, such as Deon Hollins in 2015 or Takkarist McKinley in 2016, look for the pressure in the 3-4 scheme to lead to more interceptions for safety Adarius Pickett.

UCLA Football’s Top 3 Impact Players for 2018: Caleb Wilson

15320628532682. Caleb Wilson (Tight End, RS Junior)

Last year, Caleb Wilson burst onto the scene in the first game of the season against Texas A&M with 208 yards on 15 catches en route to UCLA’s historic comeback. The former Junipero Serra product and USC walk-on is a matchup nightmare at 6’4” 235 pounds with receiver speed and fantastic hands. Before his season was cut short by a foot injury, he caught 38 passes for 490 yards in 5 games, which is insane production for a TE. Last season, the leading TE in receiving yards was Mark Andrews from Oklahoma who is now with the Baltimore Ravens. Andrews, who won the Mackey award for the best TE, had 936 receiving yards and 8 touchdowns in 15 games (roughly 67 YPG). If Wilson sustained his astonishing pace from the first 5 games of the season (98 YPG), he would have ended the year with 114 receptions, 1,470 receiving yards, and 3 touchdowns. Though it is unlikely Wilson will be able to produce like he did last season because he will be without arguably the best pocket passer in the country in Josh Rosen, there is still reason to believe Wilson will have a dominant season. UCLA graduated Darren Andrews and lost Jordan Lasley to the draft. The two receivers combined for 2,037 yards last year which makes up about 45% of UCLA’s total passing yards a season ago. This means significantly more targets to a relatively unproven receiving corps besides Wilson and WR Theo Howard which opens the door for a breakout year.

UCLA Football’s Top 3 Impact Players for 2018: Darnay Holmes

15319328247343. Darnay Holmes (Defensive Back, Sophomore)

Darnay Holmes will quite possibly be one of UCLA’s most exciting players this season. He led the team with 3 interceptions as a true freshman. Holmes, who was a highly-touted 5-star recruit out of high school, is equipped with great instincts, lateral quickness, and rarely gets called for pass interference. He hopefully will improve upon his consistency as he gave up 185 yards and 2 TDs against Memphis WR and NFL 2nd-round selection Anthony Miller. However, Holmes can be credited for holding 2nd-round selection and former Texas A&M WR Christian Kirk (71 receptions, 919 yards, 10 TDs) to just 5 catches for 60 yards for 0 TDs which is extremely impressive for a true freshman as Kirk was widely considered a top-5 WR in the country. He also held USC’s playmaker WR Deontay Burnett (86 receptions 1,114 yards, 9 TDs) to 4 catches for 56 yards and 0 TDs so he has proven he is capable of keeping impact wide receivers in check.  Holmes’s starting experience (11 starts) will help on UCLA’s defense this season and will also continue as a dynamic return man on special teams. We can reasonably expect Holmes to grow into a lockdown cornerback through the season and solidify his status as one of UCLA’s best players.