UCLA’s defense is having its star turn – Orange County Register


PASADENA – Funnily enough, here in Los Angeles, the on-the-field story this college football season so far isn’t the star QBs. Not reigning Heisman Trophy winner Caleb Williams, not UCLA’s true freshman Dante Moore, the highest-rated QB recruit in program history.

Not either of those football team’s famous coaches, Lincoln Riley or Chip Kelly.

Nah, it’s been defense driving the plot.

How poor and porous the Trojans’ has been under returning defensive coordinator Alex Grinch. And how rabid and unrelenting the Bruins has been under first-time defensive coordinator D’Anton Lynn.

How USC started its Pac-12 slate winning in spite of its defense. And how UCLA is being held aloft by its defensive unit, whose suffocating prowess has helped take some of the pressure off the quarterback who’s learning on the job – including Saturday in the Bruins’ 25-17 victory over No. 13 Washington State, in which the Cougars’ heralded offense struggled more than the score would indicate.

Lynn is new around here too, but you wouldn’t know it.

His hire in February is Kelly’s best play call all year.

Just 33, Lynn arrived at UCLA (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) after overseeing the defensive backs and safeties the previous two seasons with the Baltimore Ravens. He was a three-time All-Big Ten defensive back from Penn State, but he’d never coached at the college level.

The move to hire Lynn – the son of former Chargers coach Anthony Lynn – was something of a departure for Kelly, who’s known for bringing in coaches who have more experience, and more experience with him.

But Kelly went another way this time. The Bruins needed a defensive coordinator after Bill McGovern, their respected coach with 40 years of experience, died of cancer in May at the age of 60.

UCLA reportedly are paying Lynn $1.02 million per year, a record for an assistant holing his position. The investment is paying off.

“He just brings a whole engine energy to this team, to this defense,” senior defensive back Alex Johnson said. “He also lets us be free within our positions. We’re always able to ask questions or give feedback, give comments. So that open communication has allowed us to play more freely. I think that’s been shown on Saturdays.”

All that freedom of thought and expression has locked up the Bruins’ opponents – starting with the relative pushovers in their nonconference schedule and continuing now against the Pac-12’s much more explosive teams, like Washington State and their star signal-caller Cameron Ward on Saturday.

The Trojans stymied Ward and the previously undefeated Cougars, who had the nation’s fourth-ranked total offense and second-ranked passing unit. Ward was completing 75% of his passes, and had thrown 13 touchdown passes without a turnover through the first five games.

In the heat against the Bruins’ swarming, suffocating and, more than anything, stubborn defense, he wilted.

UCLA held the Cougars to 216 yards, and allowed them to convert just two of their 13 third-down plays. The Bruins also forced a season-high four turnovers – two of them interceptions. And the Bruins sacked Ward three times for 25 yards Saturday, making sure his Heisman Trophy candidacy lost ground too.

“Secondary-wise, there’s been a bigger emphasis on plastering routes when the plays breakdown,” explained Johnson, who intercepted a pass (his third this season) and returned it 31 yards in the second quarter, setting up a UCLA field goal.

“I mean, the Pac-12 is riddled with athletic quarterbacks who can extend plays, get loose. So having that bigger emphasis on that just makes our job a lot more easier. But we’re also just prepared to, maybe the play goes for 16 seconds, not four, so we’re always ready for whatever offense is bringing to us.”

After holding Utah to just one offensive touchdown in its last game, the Bruins slowed Washington State to a crawl too, holding the Cougars without an offensive TD in the first half and on their first 10 possessions in the game.

“Cam Ward, everyone knows he’s a good, top-five quarterback,” defensive lineman Carl Jones Jr. said. “… and he got frustrated a lot.”

It wasn’t just Ward who had to have been fed up: The Bruins limited Washington State’s running backs just 12 (12!) rushing yards.

The Cougars (4-1, 1-1) became the fourth consecutive opponent UCLA has held to fewer than 300 yards of total offense. The last time a Bruins defense did that? Back in 2006.

See, these Bruins, they’re rewriting history – on the defensive side of the ball.

“That entire defensive staff, led by (Lynn), did an unbelievable job,” Kelly said. “That was the No. 2 ranked passing offense in the country. Outstanding.”

Or the appreciative young quarterback Moore said: “Defense wins football games.”



Source link

Reach Out

Don’t hesitate to reach out to us to discuss your specific needs. Our team is ready and eager to provide you with tailored solutions that align with your firm’s goals and enhance your digital marketing efforts. We look forward to helping you grow your law practice online.

Our Services:

Blog Post Writing
We do well-researched, timely, and engaging blog posts that resonate with your clientele, positioning you as a thought leader in your domain.
Content Writing: Beyond articles and content for blogs, we delve into comprehensive content pieces like eBooks, and case studies, tailored to showcase your expertise.

Website Content Writing
First impressions matter. Our content ensures your website reflects the professionalism, dedication, and expertise you bring to the table.

Social Media Management
In today’s interconnected world, your online presence extends to social platforms. We help you navigate this terrain, ensuring your voice is consistently represented and heard.

WordPress Website Maintenance
Your digital office should be as polished and functional as your physical one. We ensure your WordPress site remains updated, secure, and user-friendly.

For more information, ad placements in our attorney blog network, article requests, social media management, or listings on our top 10 attorney sites, reach out to us at seoattorneyservices@gmail.com.

Warm regards,

The Personal Injury Law Attorney Riverside CA 92508 Team

Leave a Reply

Home Privacy Policy Terms Of Use Anti Spam Policy Contact Us Affiliate Disclosure DMCA Earnings Disclaimer