UCLA Football: Moving Forward with the Running Backs
With a non-existent running game, how should the UCLA Football team move forward with the running back group?
The UCLA Football team may not have an offensive coordinator at the present time, but that does not mean we can take a look at the running game heading into 2017.
Aside from execution, the biggest issue the Bruins had with the running backs, was the random use of five players. At the beginning of last season, it was expected that Nate Starks, Soso Jamabo and Bolu Olorunfunmi would take on the majority of the snaps.
Early in the season, we got to see two very talented freshmen backs take the field, Brandon Stephens and Jalen Starks. Though both have their talents, it instantly put five running backs into the rotation, and former Offensive Coordinator Kennedy Polamalu was not afraid to use all of them.
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This not only gave these five players less time with the ball, but if they did get into a good rhythm, it was quelled by the use of a different back.
Going forward, the new offensive coordinator is going to not only have to figure out a style for his players, what roles to use them in, but also try to keep them happy. If one or two backs are the primary runners next season, that will keep the others on the bench, which could prompt transfers.
Though it is possible to spread the carries next season, especially between a senior, 2 juniors and 2 sophomores, UCLA has the advantage of prepping the younger Bruins for the 2018 season and beyond.
Now as far as the style, that will come with the new OC. Though it may be in UCLA’s best interest to go back to a spread, the real work has to come with the offensive line. The Bruins need to get their big men to work together to not only move the offense forward, but open the gaps and properly block their assignments.
The point is trying to control the clock. If the Bruins can do this, not only will they be able to run the ball, but they have enough time to get more players more carries. But once again, this all depends on what the new OC wants to do.