Richard Brehaut on UCLA before and after new OC Mike Johnson: "I don't think there was that sense of urgency that there is now." (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
There has been a lot of heated discussion here in recent years about Norm Chow. The offensive guru came to Westwood with a lot of fan fare but never lived up to his reputation. We were hungry for an attacking, dynamic and cutting edge offense in the post Dorrell era but the dreams of a cutting edge offense never materialized in last three years.
While there has been a lot of informed speculation here on the front-page we never heard from the players on what they thought about it. Until now. Richard Brehaut opened up about UCLA's conservative offense from Chow era this week while gushing about the new OC - Mike Johnson:
"I love the energy he brings," Brehaut said. "He's always making sure the tempo is up, making sure everyone's going full speed. I think that's something we lacked in our practices in the past. We weren't going as hard as we could go.
"I don't think there was that sense of urgency that there is now."
That seems to be particularly true in live action this spring, as the offense has had some of its best scrimmages during the Rick Neuheisel era. Johnson has talked repeatedly about the offense needing to match the intensity of the defense, which by nature and function requires more energy. That's why he's most encouraged by how his unit has been sustaining its tempo.
Thanks to P for pointing to this post in his roundup yesterday. Brehaut had more to say about last year's offense that should perk up your ears:
After three years of Norm Chow‘s conservative passing attack, the players say Johnson's more aggressive approach has not only won them over but they believe it will be key to winning in the fall.
"When we take a shot on first down, they're not expecting that," Brehaut said. "With the ability we have in this offense to throw the ball downfield, I think it's only going to open up more holes in the run game, the short pass game. Everything is going to click a lot more.
"That makes the defense play the way we want them to play."
Throwing downfield? Is that even allowed for a team wearing Bruin blue and gold?
This will most likely intensify the man crush some of you seem to be developing for Mike Johnson.
The words look exciting on print. They will get folks jazzed up. I will wait till I see these guys in action in fall. But ... Brehaut's words are worth taking note of because they help the discussions we have had about the "prevent offense" from last three years in context.
If you want to get a feel what Brehaut has been seeing this spring you should check out this video from Fox. It is pretty cool.