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Spring Optimism At Spaulding

<em>Photo Credit: <a href="" target="new">Evan G (flickr)</a></em>
Photo Credit: Evan G (flickr)

All right ladies and gents. We just have little more than 12 days to go till start of spring football camp. Coach Rick Neuheisel is feeling pretty "optimistic" heading into this year's camp. The Los Angeles Wave (a new traditional media outlet?) published a pretty cool capsule with a short preview on the Bruins this spring. The article had some pretty good comments from CRN on our offense:

"I expect us to continue to build on the growth and progress we made on offense a year ago," Neuheisel said. "Most of our young players have now gained starting experience and are entering the third year of our system.

"That experience, combined with their continuity in our system, leads us to believe we are ready to take a step forward offensively, especially in the area of the big play. With all that said, I expect there to be great competition at virtually every position during spring drills and it will be fun to watch us continue to develop as a unit."

It will be very reasonable on all of our part to expect discernible improvement on our offense this season. After three years into the system and three off-seasons our offense will need to take definitive step forwards (I do believe we saw incremental improvements especially during late in the season last year). I think we can reasonably expect a UCLA offense that should be averaging somewhere between 25-30 points a game and winning us ball games during this coming season. Well we are going to talk about this in more detail in the coming days/weeks/months.

CRN also offered up the following wrt to our defense and special teams:

"Defensively, we lost some important contributors but we are excited about our returning nucleus of starters and our young talent that we will work to develop during spring practice.

"When it comes to special teams, no team has a better pair of kickers than Kai Forbath and Jeff Locke. We have made great strides in our coverage units and we will be looking for new return candidates during spring."

We have already been talking up the defense in detail. The competition is going to be fun to watch. In terms of special teams, I am hoping that there will be a noticeable upgrade in our return game this year with talents like Josh Smith, Damien Thigpen and Randall Carroll at our disposal.

While I appreciated what Terrence Austin did as a Bruin, I think the burst of breakaway speed really needed at that position had been missing. Also, our special teams will need to work on return coverage (especially on kickoffs) this off-season. Hopefully the infusion of athletic talent in our roster from last three years will be paying off this year in that department.