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Shifting gears to football ...

It's been a while since we have had a football related post because of the madness of last few weeks. For a change we have some good news from Spalding field. Bruins land an elite QB recruit from San Diego. From BruinBlitz:

The UCLA Bruins built a foundation for recruiting success a year ago and they haven't skipped a beat even though the program has gone through wholesale changes on the coaching staff. The Bruins have kept their momentum going and are off to one of their best efforts in years. A good class became even better when quarterback Chris Forcier (6-3, 185, 4.57) from San Diego (Calif.) Saint Augustine committed to UCLA coach Karl Dorrell yesterday (April 5th).
More on Forcier via Rivals. This is obviously much needed good news and hope Forcier makes it to campus notwithstanding what transpires at the Rose Bowl next season. Again remember - Lavin was also bringing in monster recruits.

Which leads me back to reality. While we are all giddy about the prospects of UCLA basketball being a top 5-10 team (depending on Jordan's return) next season, the picture for the football program is gloomy. Bruins are nowhere to be found in the top of the national rankings. CFN is doing it's pre-season top-25 and we checked in at (drum roll) no. 43!!:
Why to get excited: There are replacements for the departed superstars. Big Ben Olson is a mega-talent who might even eventually turn out to be an upgrade over the ultra-efficient Drew Olson. Chris Markey and Kahlil Bell should fill in nicely for RB Maurice Drew. Forgetting for a moment that the Bruins were whacked by  Arizona last year, the schedule couldn't be too much nicer to open the Pac 10 season playing at Washington, Stanford and Arizona after starting out the year with home games against Utah and Rice. But ...

Why to be grouchy:  ... the rest of the slate is B-R-U-T-A-L. If this isn't America's worst second half schedule, it's in the team photo. At Oregon, at Notre Dame, Washington State, at Cal, Oregon State, at Arizona State, USC. The run defense was one of the nation's worst last year, and now it has to replace linebackers Spencer Havner and Justin London, the few defenders who could actually play.

The number one thing to work on is: Besides stopping the run, kickoff returns. Maurice Drew led the Bruins to the nation's top spot in punt returns, but Markey, Bell, Drew, and others struggled on kickoff returns finishing dead last in the Pac 10 averaging 17.63 yards. Considering how fast the D will be giving up points, UCLA will have plenty of opportunities to improve.
One of the biggest concern for me is going to be the LB positions. How are we going to effectively fill the gaping holes left by Justin London and Spencer Havener (not that they did a great job of filling the gaps last side despite being blue chip talents).

All I know is that we are going into Karl Dorrell's fourth season and still we don't have a team that is expected to contend for anything major. Last year was a minor miracle where we pulled off comeback wins due to upperclassmen savy of Drew Olson and the freaky talents of MJD. Who is going to save Dorrell's hyde this year? Ben Olson?

Once again KD will be on the spotlight. If he doesn't deliver at least 9 wins and a win over USC - his "10 win season" is going to appear nothing but a fluke just like that one fluke season Ty Willingham pulled off at ND.

Must BEAT SC. No excuses.