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Spring wrap: UCLA

5/9/2011

UCLA

2010 Overall record: 4-8

2010 conference record: 2-7

Returning starters

Offense: 7, Defense: 8, punter/kicker: punter

Top returners

RB Johnathan Franklin, WR Nelson Rosario, SS Tony Dye, LB Patrick Larimore

Key losses

C Ryan Taylor, DT David Carter, OLB Akeem Ayers, FS Rahim Moore, K Kai Forbath

2010 statistical leaders (*returning starter)

Rushing: Johnathan Franklin* (1,127)

Passing: Richard Brehaut* (1,296)

Receiving: Taylor Embree* (409)

Tackles: Tony Dye* (96)

Sacks: Akeem Ayers, Sean Westgate* (4)

Interceptions: Aaron Hester* (3)

Spring answers

1. The defense looks solid, particularly the line: The big story was the successful return of end Datone Jones, who missed all of last season due to a broken foot, but he wasn't the only impressive player up-front this spring. Bruins line could go 10 deep. There's a nice mix of size, speed, youth and experience. There's good depth at safety and linebacker, too.

2. Run the ball: If the line can open holes up front, there are plenty of guys who can run through said hole. Johnathan Franklin rushed for 1,127 yards last fall and did a good job of holding onto the football this spring, which hasn't always been the case. Redshirt freshman Jordon James turned in a strong spring and may have moved up the pecking order. Derrick Coleman has experience and Malcolm Jones is talented.

3. Dump it to the TE: There's good depth at tight end with Cory Harkey, Joseph Fauria and Morrell Presley, who has moved from F-back to tight end. Harkey is the best blocker of the bunch, but Fauria is the best receiver. Presley has a lot of talent but he and Harkey suffered fits of the dropsies last fall.

Fall questions

1. Who's the QB? The hope was true freshman Brett Hundley would be a revelation this spring as a dual-threat QB and that the long-term issues at the position would be immediately solved. Didn't happen, and wasn't realistic to think it would. The competition will begin anew when Kevin Prince, who missed spring after knee surgery, returns to battle Hundley and Richard Brehaut in the fall.

2. O-line woes: The Bruins offensive line struggled during the spring, in large part due to injuries. While center Kai Maiava and guard/tackle Sean Sheller are expected to be OK in the fall, it's uncertain when Jeff Baca will be back from a broken ankle. He may be the Bruins best lineman. While Brett Downey, Connor Bradford and Greg Capella each had some nice moments, the depth is far from certain.

3. Where do you go for kicks? The Bruins offense should be better but it's unlikely to transform into a high-flying, high-scoring unit in one year. That means it needs to get points when it can, and often that means making field goals. In recent years, that meant Kai Forbath, who was mostly automatic, but he's off to the NFL. Kip Smith is next in line, but will be be able to fill Forbath's shoes?