- TOP PLAYERSOffensePABLO S. TORRE | August 20, 2012
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The case for
The Bruins have entrusted quarterback Brett Hundley with leading the team's no-huddle scheme. As a freshman last year he set school records for passing yards (3,745) and total yards (4,095). The 6'3", 222-pound Hundley knows a lot of pressure will be on him to lead the attack, which averaged 466.5 yards last season but lost star running back Johnathan Franklin, who graduated. As good as Hundley is, the player coach Jim Mora is touting as a Heisman contender is 6'4", 245-pound senior linebacker Anthony Barr. A running back until 2012, Barr had 13½ sacks and 21½ tackles for loss last year, which ranked second and fourth in the nation, respectively. Having passed on the NFL (and a likely first-round signing bonus) last spring, Barr is back for one more year. And with Hundley possibly also going pro in 2014, this is UCLA's year to make a title run.
The case against
"Replacing a player who broke the school's single-season rushing record and the career rushing mark is not easy to do," Mora says of Franklin. "I think the whole team [needs] to fill that void." The onus is on Jordon James, Malcolm Jones and Paul Perkins to invigorate the ground game and take pressure off Hundley. If they can't, the offense will be a one-man show.
How has it been different to work with your players now that you've had a year to get to know them and they've had a year to play under you?
[Last year] everything was new. This year they understand the expectations, they know how we like to practice, how we like to do things. But it's still important that we continue to push them. They understand the routine, but we can't allow anything to become routine.