AUSTIN TX - SEPTEMBER 25: Tailback Malcolm Jones #28 of the UCLA Bruins runs the ball against the Texas Longhorns at Darrell K Royal-Texas Memorial Stadium on September 25 2010 in Austin Texas. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
As I mentioned in the defensive portion of this projection, the focus has already shifted to recruiting the Class of 2013. Of course, with the defensive out of the way, now we'll turn to the side of the ball that gets people excited: the (hopefully) high-flying, high-scoring Mazzone spread offense. Of course, since our current depth chart and composition of next season's roster are totally up-in-the-air, this projection is a bit, how you would say, speculative.
But, part of successfully managing a football program is projecting what a roster will look like not just this fall, but also into the following years, all to help make recruiting decisions re: the Class of 2013, as well as the Class of 2014.
We already have a pretty early (but somewhat vague) idea of what our depth chart is going to look like this upcoming fall (defense and offense), as well as our very-early projection of the 2013 defensive depth chart. So, with out of the way, let's try to make a way-too-early projection of how the Bruins will look come the fall of 2013, so we'll know where our recruiting needs are and can gauge Mora's recruiting success over the next year (from now until National Signing Day, 2013) as accurate as possible. As with the depth chart projections for this upcoming year , we'll assume Mazzone's spread offense concepts, as well as a 3-4 base defense, for the purpose of these projections.
So, with that in mind, let's take a look at Mazzone's projected 2013 offense, after the jump.
Following this spring's practices, here's how I project it shapes up for the Bruins on the offensive side of the ball:
|Xavier Su'a Filo (JR)
||Chris Ward (SR)
||Jacob Brendel (RS SO)
||Alexandru Ceachir (JR)
|Carl Hulick (SO)
|Colby Cyburt (RS FR)||Lacy Westbrook (SR FR)
|Will Oliver (RS SO)|
Well, look at that. If you take a look at our 2012 way-too-early projected depth chart, if that ends up being accurate, the 2013 projected depth chart will return four starters from 2012. For the first time in a very long time, we have some good depth along the offensive line. Now, the question is: can these guys perform? Mora will still need to bring in 3 to 4 linemen per year, just to keep the stock full since injuries are inevitable for us along the offensive line. Of this current recruiting class, of the four linemen, all will enter 2013 as redshirt freshmen, except Carl Hulick, who I think will end up in the two-deep.
Receiving Corps (WR and TE)
|Shaq Evans (RS SR)
||Ian Taubler (RS FR)|
|Jordan Payton (SO)
||John Young (RS JR)||Javon Williams (RS FR)
|Randall Goforth (RS FR)
||Anthony Barr (SR)
|Fabian Moreau (RS FR)
||Jerry Rice, Jr. (RS SR)|
|Ahmaad Harris (RS FR)
With Mazzone coming in, we're going to see a lot of multiple receiver sets, which means we'll need ample depth since we'll have 7-8 different receivers rotating in and out. Fortunately, Mazzone and Yarber have recruited very well here, brining in a wealth of WR talent that we haven't had in a while. Going in to 2013, we'll have a very deep and talented group of guys who can catch the ball. Now, in Mazzone's system, the TE isn't a major component, so I don't expect to see much of John Young or Ian Taubler, since both fit the mold of a blocking TE rather than a passing threat (i.e. Marcedes Lewis, Joe Fauria, Ryan Moya). Barr could fit the role we all thought Morell Presley would fit before he flamed out in Westwood. In terms of wide receivers, there are a lot of weapons to work with and for the first time in a long time, we have a WR coach that can well, actually coach. As long as Yarber is in Westwood, the future is very bright for this group of talented bunch. Mora should continue to stock up on the talent here though, simply because a couple of these guys, statistically speaking, won't pan out and with Mazzone's spread offense, we'll need a lot of bodies here.
Offensive Backfield (QB and RB)
|Malcolm Jones (SR)|
|Devin Fuller (SO)||Jordon James (RS JR)
|T.J. Millweard (RS FR)
||Paul Perkins (RS FR)
|Jerry Neuheisel (RS FR)|
||Steven Manfro (RS SO)|
Where to begin? Well, let's start with our primary ball carrier. Obviously, this is a very early, somewhat speculative projection. That said, in 2013, it should be a two-way race between Malcolm Jones and Jordon James to be the starter. How that goes depends on two things: (1) whether Mazzone utilizes James as more of a slot receiver than a true tailback and (2) how well Malcolm Jones can catch the ball out of the backfield. In terms of depth, we are projected to be very thin in our backfield going into 2013, so this is an area of recruiting need that Mora and his staff will need to proactively address with the recruiting Class of 2013. Yes, Perkins and Walker could slot in here, so I've pencilled them in, but they could also very well end up in the receiving corps or in the defensive backfield. Until we see where these guys fit in, it's hard to be confident in our future tailback depth.
Also, you'll notice I did not include a fullback in this projection. Why? If you follow Mazzone's offense, it does not utilize a fullback in any significant way. I know there has been some discussion about the position following David Allen's move from the defensive side of the ball to fullback, but there is a good reason why both Psalm Wooching and Christian Powell, both fullbacks (although in totally different molds) both wavered in their commitments to the Bruins and ultimately bolted for Washington and Colorado, respectively. Simply put, don't expect to see much fullback action in a Mazzone offense, unless we're talking about special situation packages (such as goal line plays).
Turning to our QB battle, I continue to see Hundley as the projected starter. He's simply too good and with quality coaching (Mazzone and Tui), I think the kid will be alright. I expect Devin Fuller to see the field as a true freshman in a variety of roles (wildcat-type plays, as a WR, etc.) so when 2013 comes around, I believe he will enter the season as a true sophomore, while prototypical Mazzone style QB T.J. Millweard will come in after redshirting his first year on campus. Obviously, who the starter is in 2013 depends, in large part, on what happens this year. If Brehaut or Prince claim the starting job in 2012, then it will be a wide open competition in 2013. If mine of the underclassmen cn claim the starting job this upcoming season, and hold on to it during the year, then our 2013 starter will be shored up.
You're probably also noticing that current Class of 2013 commit Eddie Printz is not included in this projection. Two reasons: (1) we all know how often kids change their minds on where they play their college ball, so it's not like Printz to Westwood is a done deal, and (2) unless this kid is the second coming of Joe Montana or Troy Aikman, I don't see him winning the starting QB job in 2013 as a true freshman ahead of Hundley, Fuller, and Millweard, meaning a redshirt is likely, taking him off the 2013 depth chart.
Alright folks, that's how Mora's squad tentatively projects to look like going into the 2013 season. On paper, it is a very bright future, but Mora will have to work to get this group to play up to its potential and also to address some serious depth concerns in our offensive backfield. So, with the offensive way-too-early 2013 depth chart projection up, fire away in the thread with your thoughts, takes, and comments.