The last defensive position group to look at is the defensive backs.
After having a really good year in 2016, the Bruins took a step back in 2017. In 2016, UCLA was ranked 7th nationally in Defensive Pass Efficiency, but the team dropped to 72nd last season. After allowing just 12 passing touchdowns in 2016, the Bruin defense allowed 19 passing touchdowns in 2017.
In both cases, a lot of the blame for these stats has to fall on the secondary. In order for the Bruin defense to get better, the secondary must improve and that starts by allowing fewer touchdown passes.
Who’s Gone: UCLA lost five defensive backs after last season. Mossi Johnson graduated while Will Lockett and Denzel Fisher have transferred. Walk-ons Chase Ault and Michael Mapes are no longer on the team.
Who’s New: Rayshad Williams, Stephan Blaylock, Alex Johnson, Kenny Churchwell III, Patrick Jolly, Elisha Guidry, and Zack Huffstutter
Here is the complete roster for the secondary.
2018 UCLA Football Secondary Roster
|23||Kenny Churchwell III||6-1||190||Fr.|
|7||Mo Osling III||6-1||187||So.|
While the secondary is certainly the most crowded position group on defense, I still think freshmen like Stephen Blaylock, Patrick Jolly, Elisha Guidry and possibly others could see playing time this season.
Projected Depth Chart
This position group is no different than the rest of the team when it comes to projecting a depth chart. It’s still a crap shoot. But, that doesn’t stop us from prediciting who the starters and second-string will be.
2018 Secondary 2-Deep Projected Depth Chart
|Darnay Holmes||Quentin Lake / Octavius Spencer||Adarius Pickett||Nate Meadors|
|Colin Samuel||Keyon Riley||Octavius Spencer / Quentin Lake||Mo Osling III|
It should be interesting to see if this is how the depth chart actually plays out or if some of the underclassmen start pushing the upperclassmen for playing time.
But, one thing is clear. This position group will need to play better than last season in order for the defense to meet Chip Kelly’s goal of UCLA becoming successful by playing good defense.