UCLA Preview – Offense


Cal vs UCLA Preview 2011. Let’s Breakdown the UCLA Offense and see how they stack up vs the Cal Defense.

Rick Neuheisel’s tenure in Westwood appears to be at an end, barring some sort of miracle. UCLA’s offense has lacked a true vertical passing game since… well, as long as I can remember. Kevin Prince is somehow still at UCLA, though it seems like he’s been there for most of the last decade and it also seems like he gets hurt every other time I see him play. While going down to the Wildcats in Tucson last week by a score of 48-12, four UCLA receivers were suspended, though most were backups and UCLA WRs generally spend their time catching bounce passes anyway. The UCLA rushing attack, on the other hand, does have a talented duo with Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman, and they will no doubt attempt to run it through and over Cal.


Richard Brehaut went down with an injury, and Kevin Prince returns. Both have been inconsistent during their entire UCLA careers. On the year Prince has thrown for 543 yards, a 53.4% completion rate, and 3 TDs against 4 interceptions. His passer rating of 135.4 is slightly below Brehaut’s 138.1, and Brehaut also had an edge in TD/Int ratio (6/0). Prince does have a reasonably good YPA at 9.4.

Prince stands 6’2″, 230, and has a reputation as being both a gamer and injury prone. He’s a good leader, has a decent arm, good mobility, and is wildly inconsistent. He’s been on the bench since throwing 3 picks against Texas, but the Bruins once again turn to him now that Brehaut broke his leg.

With Brehaut unavailable, there is an outside chance Brett Hundley – a touted incoming recruit who enrolled in spring – could play if Prince is injured (again). He’s a superior athlete and genuine dual-threat. He’s 6’4″, 225, and is certainly UCLA’s future… but if he plays, its in desperation.

Running Backs:

This is the clear strong point of UCLA’s offense. They rely on a tandem of Johnathan Franklin and Derrick Coleman, and both are productive and talented.

Johnathan Franklin is a 5’10”, 198 pound junior who might remind you of a Shane Vereen. Last year he ran for over 1100 yards and 8 TDs, and this year he’s got 520 at the midway point, average 6.3 a carry with a couple of TDs. He’s got great vision (like Vereen), is decisive (also like Vereen) and tends to fall forward. He may be a step slower than Vereen but he’s plenty fast.

Derrick Coleman is a much bigger 6’0″, 233. Astonishingly… he’s a power back. He provides a de facto changeup from Franklin, and between them they may be the best duo in the Pac12. Also available on the bench are

talented youngsters Malcolm Jones (6′, 227) and Jordon James (a speedster who goes 5’11”, 193).

Wide Receivers:

What few are avaliable, anyway.

Four receivers are suspended for the game, including Taylor Embree, Randall Carroll, Shaquelle Evans and Ricky Mavray. Of the two, Embree and Evans are losses but UCLA still has arguably its top 3 WRs in Nelson Rosario, Joseph Fauria (TE) and Josh Smith.

Rosario is a big target – 6’5″ and about 220 pounds. He has a penchant for spectacular catches. He leads the Bruins with 30 receptions for 558 yards, though he doesn’t have a TD yet. Those numbers already exceed his production from last year.

Josh Smith is a Colorado transfer (does it seem like UCLA and CU swap players every year to anyone else?), and is a burner. Thus far he only has 6 catches, but he’s averaged over 26 yards on those catches.

Joseph Fauria has been solid with 15 catches for 216 yards, and leads the team with 4 TDs. He’s 6’8″, which inherently means he’s a threat as a receiver.

While Embree and Evans aren’t superstars or anything of the sort, the lack of depth means UCLA will be counting on guys like Smith and Fauria to become more consistently active in all phases of the passing game.

Offensive Line:

UCLA has had its struggles on the line in recent years, but thus far they’ve opened up room for a solid running game and have only given up 6 sacks (which is impressive considering the lack of consistency in the passing game). They start C Kai Maiava (6’1″, 318), G Sean Sheller (6’5″, 315), G Chris Ward (6’4″, 325), T Mike Harris (6’5″, 334) and T Jeff Baca (6’4″, 304). The unit has good size and excels at run blocking.

Biggest Advantage vs. Cal Defense: Its strength on strength… Cal’s excellent run D against a good run blocking line and great backs. Tough to call this an advantage for either side, but its what UCLA is going to rely on. Rosario could also pose problems for Cal’s DBs, particularly if the run game gets working.

Biggest Disadvantage vs Cal Defense: It is difficult to see Prince being comfortable against a pretty fast Cal defense.