Tuesday, August 21, 2012
Bruins a team on the rise
By Kevin Gemmell
If you can't make heads or tails of UCLA under Jim Mora, you're not alone.
The Bruins could be risers with a new high-powered offense and a wealth of NFL experience on the coaching staff. Then again, they could struggle as they transition to new systems on both sides of the ball.
ESPN Insider KC Joyner thinks the Bruins are trending up , naming UCLA, along with Ohio State, South Florida, Tennessee and Duke as five programs that can expect to see a bump in their win total.
To get a true sense of the impact new Bruins offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone can have on an offense, consider that he helped turn Ben Leard and Stu Patridge, two relative unknowns, into players who posted record-setting NCAA passer efficiency ratings during their careers.
At question is whether Mazzone can bring Brett Hundley around quick enough for the Bruins to improve on their 6-8 mark of last season. History says yes. In his first year at Arizona State, he brought the Sun Devils up from 90th in total offense in 2009 to 29th in 2010 and 25th in 2011.
Defensively, only one team gave up more touchdowns than the Bruins last season -- who yielded 54 (along with Washington). Colorado gave up 60.
That should improve as the Bruins shift to a 3-4 under Lou Spanos, a Dick LeBeau disciple who picked up a couple of Super Bowl rings with Pittsburgh.