It was clear to all watching UCLA’s defense the last three games that Nate Chandler had moved to defensive tackle, Keenan Graham was starting at defensive end and Owamagbe Odighizuwa was spending more time on the field at the other defensive end.
Defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough’s defensive line shuffle allowed Akeem Ayers to alternate between linebacker and defensive end in a 4-2-5 defense.
Offensive coordinators certainly picked up on it. Washington State held off the Bruins’ pass rush, isolated Ayers for the most part and threw for 311 yards Saturday.
Heading into this week’s game against California, more massaging could be in order.
“They have had two weeks to prepare for us, so they know everything we do now,” Bullough said. “We have a good package and we can move in and out of a four-man [front] and a three look. As we watch film, we’ll see what will work this week.”
Bullough said the pass defense against Washington State was poor because “they made plays and we didn’t,” but the Cougars were also able to exploit areas in the defense.
“We have to keep track of how easy we are to scheme against,” Coach Rick Neuheisel said. “You have to have some counterpunches. You can’t line up the same way. Offensive coordinators get paid too.”