State of the Program

Bumped. GO BRUINS. -N

I'm as excited the day CRN was hired, Walker was staying and Chow was coming on board.  I have seen nothing to date to waver my confidence that UCLA will be back with the coaching staff that CRN has assembled.  Sidebar...Walker is interviewing for the SD State job but I hope he remains in Westwood to see the rebuiding through. 

I saw a comment about the lack of "Creativity" in our offense.  I don't see it that way.  If you've followed CRN and Chow during their careers, creativity is something they've never lacked.  Their decision to go with a vanilla offense was not a CHOICE but a NECESSITY.  They recognized that they were working with a patchwork OL, a mistake prone QB, injuries and youth.  They believed they were going to have 2 senior QB's with extensive experience leading the offense but were left with a JC transfer that is more comfortable in shotgun rather than under center.  They made a strategic decision (no outscheming of our staff happened) to rely on the defense and hope to make some plays at key moments to garner W's.  This was evident from Fall practice when CRN kept mentioning that we just wanted to keep the game close entering the 4th quarter. 

Secondly, KD did not do our current staff any favors.   It is obvious to anyone that we lacked topend playmakers, talent throughout our depth chart and just plain depth in general (ie buring of RS and not RS guys).  I love our guys but a lot of them would never have garnered a schoolie under the current staff.  Last years class was a good start.  CRN is off to a solid start and I hope he can close strong.  The talent must also be coupled with experience and physical maturation.  Programs like Ole Miss & GTech got new coaches like us but the difference in their situations was that the prior coach left a lot of experienced talent.   We're on our way but patience is needed.  CRN never used the word "Rebuild" because he didn't want to shortchange the seniors but that is what we are exactly in the midst of.  Keep an eye on how long it takes for UDub & Syracuse to rebuild their programs.  

I'm including the current verbal commits (*) for this excercise.  Hopefully they all ink come signing day. 

QB: Craft (RS SR), Rasshan (RS SR), Forcier (RS Soph), Prince (RS FR), Crissman (RS FR) and Brehaut (*)

-I don't know how this competition is going to play out or what the staff is going to do.  However, I hope we go young (I think Brehaut, who said he'd enroll early, is the real deal).  Let him go through his bumps so we can make a run for the conference title in 2010.  Very few RS or True FR make a significant impact.  The ones that do have a veteran team surrounding him and yet they still go through their trial by fire.  Rasshan and Forcier may not even be a QB come next year.  Very big decision for the staff to make.

TB: Ramierz (RS JR), Coleman (Soph), Dean (Soph), Carter (RS Soph), Knox (RS FR), Hilliard (*)

FB: Theriot (RS SR), Moline (SR), Umodu (RS JR), Allmond (*)

-The talent level in this position is Top 25 caliber.  Coleman has shown that he is a very capable back and I'm excited to see how he'll develop.  Don't listen to the rumors, Dean is staying.  Dean is the one that I personally have very high hopes for.  I think he'll get his blocking assignments down and I am expecting big things from him next year and beyond.  I wish his RS would have been saved though.  Carter IMO is still shaking off the effects from his knee injury and I think we'll see the real Raymond next year.  Knox has been tearing it up as a scout RB.  Ramirez flashed some potential but he along with Hilliard may not be a TB but in the defensive backfield. 

-Having 2 senior FB's (both who've proven that they can contribute) will steady the youth at the TB position.  Some talk that Allmond may outgrow the position and may end up on the DL.

WR: Ketchum (RS SR), Austin (SR), DJ (RS JR), Embree (Soph), Rosario (Soph), Moutra (Soph), J. Johnson (RS FR), Marvay (*), Toma (*)

 TE: Paulson (RS SR), Moya (RS SR), Heater (RS SR), Miller (RS JR), Harkey (Soph)

 -The talent at the WR position is solid IMO but I don't see a gamebreaker.  I see a lot of possession types but hopefully somebody emerges with the expected development of the OL.  I think Austin would be better utilized in the slot a la Stokley/Welker due to his shiftiness.  Embree has the best hands I've seen in a long time.  Love the size of Rosario who I think will make a jump next season and Moutra.  DJ has a lot of talent but for whatever reason, it hasn't clicked for him.  Don't know much about Johnson who in the past was possibly going to be moved to defense.  Marvay and Toma should RS with the amount of bodies at the position. 

-The TE position will be our QB's best friend as all TE's are.  A healthy Paulsen coupled with Moya is arguably the top TE duo in the Pac let alone the nation.  I think we'll continue to see Moya in the backfield/slot/etc as he is a receiving TE more than a blocker.  Think Dallas Clark.  Harkey has a lot of potential and is a pro IMO.  CRN is actively trying to get a TE (Ertz/Sanders?) because he knows come 2010, we're going to have a serious depth issue because Miller has yet to show anything. 

OL: Kia (SR), Ekbatani (RS SR), Dean (RS JR), Savage (RS JR), Tevaga (RS JR), Bennett (RS JR), Sheller (RS JR), Chandler (RS Soph), Harris (RS Soph), Maiava (RS Soph), Baca (Soph), Bradford (RS FR), Johsnon (*JC), Williams (*JC), Hasiak (*), Capella (*)

-I'm not sure if the RS JR OL class was severely overrated or if they didn't develop due to the instability in our coaching staff.  Hopefully it is the latter.  Well, Palcic will have bodies to figure who can play and mold them into a cohesive unit.  They should be a lot stronger with another year under Linn.  If Maiava is the real deal, the OL should be much improved as the C is the quarterback of the line.  Sheller is on track and I'm eager to see what he can do.  Savage has talent and I'm hopeful that it'll click for him next year because we could use a bulldozer of a guard.  Coaches raved about Chandler's potential.  A year beefing up and learning the position will do him good.  Baca would normally have been RS'd but our staff didn't have the luxury.  The JC's may not get to Westwood because their rides are contingent upon them qualifying.  If Hasiak and Capella are RS'd, I'll take that as a good sign from Palcic that he has the guys he believes will contribute.  A lot of "Ifs" but I believe the potential is there and I'm confident in Palcic's abilities.

DT: Ward (RS SR), Siewierski (SR), Price (JR), Keane (RS JR), Warner (*JC)

DE: Bosworth (RS SR), Anyanwu (RS SR), Carter (RS JR), Stokes (RS JR), Edison (RS Soph), Jones (Soph), Holmes (RS FR), Davis (RS FR), Graham (*)

-We've historically have had issues stockpiling the DT position.  The West usually doesn't produce many high caliber DT's.  We played Carter some at DT but he is overmatched physically.  We won't have much depth next season even if Warner's verbal holds.  There was some talk of moving Holmes to DT but I'm not sure how viable an option that is.  If Price leaves after next season (very possible), it'll be real ugly come 2010.  CRN is on this like white on rice and I hope he can get some of the guys we're currently recruiting.  Price is the only playmaker at this position so teams will double team him to death without Brigham which is not good. 

-Plenty of bodies but no playmaker at all.  Bosworth has the motor but he is undersized.  I hope Datone is the answer and I'm eager to see how he develops in the offseason.  Stokes seems like he can contribute.  Chinny is way too skinny to be nothing more than a situational speed rusher.  I don't know what we have with Carter or Edison.  Holmes was a 4 star but if the staff is thinking about moving him to DT, speed may be an issue.  Ian Davis (Bruce's lil bro) intrigues me.  He has the frame (needs the lbs though) and is a late comer to football but may be a bit much to expect from a raw player.  Graham may have to play but he is also on the light side.  CRN again is recruiting this position hard and hopefully we get some gems to sign.  Walker's scheme relies on pressure which was non-existent from our DE's this year. 

LB: R. Carter (RS SR), Schmitt (RS JR), Ayers (RS Soph), Sloan (RS Soph), Westgate (Soph), D. Carter (RS FR), Larimore (RS FR), Golper (*), Bowens (*)

-Carter is filing paperwork with the NFL for his draft prospectus but I personally think he'll return to Westwood.   Ayers got a bit carried away today but the positive I take from it is that he CARES.  He played very well as a RS FR and I think he'll be even better next year when his physical talent meshes with the mental aspect of the game.  I remember Reggie making this transition a couple of years ago.  Hopefully Sloan develops because we'll need him next year.  I LOVE Larimore.  If you haven't heard, he left a message on CRN's VM that he's "ready to destroy" or something to that effect.  Gave me a good chuckle.  Westgate/D. Carter/Larimore need to get ready because they'll play and will be the backups.  We got a couple of verbals but I along with everyone else is waiting to see if we get Manti. 

CB: ATV (SR), Viney (RS Soph), Hester (RS FR), Price (*), Sermons (*), Mascarenas (*)

S: Ware (RS SR), Love (RS Soph), Moore (Soph), Dye (Soph), Woods (RS FR), Franklin (RS FR)

-I think ATV will file paperwork as well although there is no news indicating such at this time.  In the end, I believe he'll be back.  This is a talented unit but experience is at a premium.  ATV is ATV.  Moore will be the top S in the Pac and one of the best in the nation IMO very shortly.  Ware hasn't done much to date.  Love has the physical attributes but injuries have held him back.  However, I'm not sure if he'll ever be what he can be IMO.  Dye needs to get better because he'll be in the thick of things next year quite possibly at the CB position where he was initially recruited.  Hester has potential but putting a FR on an island is always a dicey proposition.  Interested to see what Woods & Franklin bring considering the accolades they garnered in HS.  I think somebody out of the 3 verbals will have to play because depth at the CB position will likely be an issue.  A lot of these guys can be flexed to CB or S. In addition, Ramirez/Hilliard/J. Johnson have all played this position in the past and have been discussed as possibly being switched over.  In addition, CRN is still recruiting for these positions.

K: Forbath (RS JR), Rotstein (RS SR)

P: Locke (RS FR)

-Got one of the best kickers in college football in Forbath.  Perez will be missed.  Locke comes highly regarded but they all struggle initially. Perez struggled when he first took over for Kluwe too.  Chris Sailer deserves some props for sending these highly regarded K/P's to UCLA from his academy. 

IMO, the program is heading in the right direction and is on schedule.  The Tennessee game caused some Bruin fans expectations to rise but here at BN, we all knew how tough a season this was going to be and the true state of our program.  With the anticpated improvement throughout the program, I think the offense will no longer be an albatross but will hold their own.  If Carter & ATV return, the defense should be solid once again.  If we can find some people to rush the passer and the secondary holds, the defense can be more than solid. can all go back to following our Ben Ball Warriors.  :)

This is a FanPost and does not necessarily reflect the views of BruinsNation's (BN) editors. It does reflect the views of this particular fan though, which is as important as the views of BN's editors.

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