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UCLA football season at a glance

The 2011 schedule and outlook for the Bruins.

August 28, 2011|By Chris Foster
  • Johnathan Franklin will try to become the first Bruins running back to rush for consecutive 1,000-yard seasons since DeShaun Foster in 2000-01.
Johnathan Franklin will try to become the first Bruins running back to rush… (Luis Sinco / Los Angeles…)

2011 SCHEDULE

Sept. 3: at Houston, 12:30 p.m.

Quarterback Case Keenum is back after a knee injury against UCLA ruined his 2010.

Sept. 10: San Jose State, 7 p.m.

CSI: San Jose? Body-bag games don't come much neater.

Sept. 17: Texas, 12:30 p.m.

They have long memories in Austin and 34-12 is an Alamo-like topic.

Sept. 24: at Oregon State, TBA

UCLA lost its last three Pac-10 openers; maybe Pac-12 will be better.

Oct. 1: at Stanford, 12:30 p.m.

Quarterback Andrew Luck will have to ask John Elway what it's like losing to UCLA.

Oct. 8: Washington State, TBA

Cougars are better, but would have to be a whole lot better to win this one.

Oct. 20: at Arizona, 6 p.m.

A Thursday night in Tucson against QB Nick Foles is not for the faint of heart.

Oct. 29: California, TBA

Bears have treated Bruins like (little) kid brothers since Neuheisel returned.

Nov. 5: Arizona State, TBA

UCLA led 17-0 last year; then Sundevils brought out other arm -- Brock Osweiler.

Nov. 12: at Utah, TBA

Chow? Chow? Chow? The name does sound familiar.

Nov. 19: Colorado, TBA

Coach Rick Neuheisel has never lost to a former team … at the Rose Bowl.

Nov. 26: at USC, 7 p.m.

Bruins fans should thank Karl Dorrell; otherwise the losing streak would be 12.

OUTLOOK

Running game

Last season: 175.6 yards per game (35th of 120 FBS teams)

The Bruins ran well out of the "pistol" offense last season. Johnathan Franklin rushed for 1,127 yards and is trying to become the first UCLA player to have consecutive 1,000-yard seasons since DeShaun Foster did it in 2000-01. The addition of running-game coordinator Jim Mastro, an expert in the "pistol" at Nevada, should help.

Passing game

Last season: 141.1 yards per game (116th)

Statistics don't lie. UCLA was 116th of 120 teams nationally in passing offense. The Bruins gave up 28 sacks and had 14 passes intercepted. Improvement — with Coach Rick Neuheisel taking over guidance of the position — focuses on Kevin Prince, who had knee surgery in October. He is adept at running but has to improve his accuracy.

Against the run

Last season: 205.5 yards per game (108th)

No area should be more improved this season. The Bruins ranked 108th against the run in 2010. The return of defensive end Datone Jones from a broken foot is an automatic upgrade. The Bruins are deep along the front seven. Defensive tackle Cassius Marsh and middle linebacker Patrick Larimore will make it difficult for teams to gain yards up the middle.

Against the pass

Last season: 214.6 yards per game (53rd)

New defensive coordinator Joe Tresey seems to border on obsessed when it comes to blitzing. That will put pressure on the secondary. UCLA is strong and deep at safety, with Tony Dye, Dietrich Riley and Dalton Hilliard. Aaron Hester and Sheldon Price are solid cornerbacks, but depth at that position is a concern.

Special teams

Jeff Locke might be the best punter in the nation, and he certainly got a lot of practice last season. He responded by finishing fourth nationally, averaging 45 yards. Field goals and extra points are a concern. Kip Smith, who was supposed to be the heir to Kai Forbath, has struggled. Locke can do both jobs and has a strong leg on field goals. If that happens, Smith may take over kickoffs.

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