Opponent Attack Preview: UCLA Bruins

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for University of CaliforniaAll about veteran QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson. He is starting his fifth season in a row and he has improved with each season. He’s arrived as a player with no sense of playing in QB and seems more comfortable managing Chip Kelly’s attack than ever before. UCLA played a smoother schedule than Washington’s, but so far he’s interested in football and is on track to match his best stat season of his career (75% complete, 8 TDs, 8.4 YPA so far this year). But, his score in PFF (whatever its worth) is only 62 for passing. In previous seasons, DTR was fond of playing a lot of “champion ball”, shooting a pass down the field that he never had a chance to catch. He will sometimes try to clear bags or make poor decisions under duress, but he is ultimately the quick and athletic quarterback who can escape the pressure and make a play.

NCAA Football: Bowling Green at UCLA

Gary A. Vasquez – USA TODAY Sports

Perhaps the best and most important player in UCLA is RB Zach Charbonnet, who has taken his 43rd races this season for 293 yards and 4 touchdowns. As a return power, it’s the perfect compliment to the DTR’s rear-end speed. But even as a runner among competitors, he has excellent feet and enough wiggles to be an explosive threat. Closer comparison Husky is more like a sportier Wayne Taolabapa. The other option in running is 5-9 Keegan Jones, which is a faster and faster option than the Charbonnet.

Primarily capture passes are the duo of WR Jake Bobo and WR Kazmeir Allen – the only receivers with a score of 70+ PFF. 6-5 Bobo is a rolling transfer from Duke and has played a lot of football, with 141 receptions in his career, but with only 4 touchdowns. He has a strong hand and, combined with speed and fluidity in short spaces, will not take the lead out of defense. He’s a fairly short and medium threat (the DTR is more comfortable anyway), but he leads the team with an average of 14.7 yards per catch. On the other hand, WR Kazmeir Allen is a player of a different kind at 5-9. The team leads in receptions with 20, but averages 7.6 yards per one-touch catch. He’s fast and the guy they want with the ball in his hands running downhill.

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If it hasn’t been clarified yet, it’s an offense to want to run the ball. UCLA is currently almost 50/50 in the running/passing play division, but you gain more yards on the ground (220 per game, 16th nationally) than in the short and medium passing game. Much of their plays are built from reading the area/RPO between the DTR and the Charbonnet, with the ability to pull the ball and pass quickly. This crime will also feature a lot of action, prequel, and West Coast concepts.

Similar to last season, Chip Kelly maintains an intense rotation on attack. Charbonnet and Jones have received 70% of the charges given to runners this year, and it’s similar at the top of the WR rotation as well – Jake Bobo and Kazmeir Allen have had the lions’ share of goals and receptions.

Given the limitations of DTR as a deep corridor and UCLA’s lack of threats deep outside, this is not an attack looking to expand the field vertically. Their average target depth is for the ranks near the bottom of the country, and they’ll throw many passes behind the line of scrimmage on flair-type roads.

NCAA Football: South Alabama at UCLA

Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

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This game will be a challenge for Washington, as you face off against a mobile physical and mid-back (AKA Husky kryptonite) team. UCLA played a very easy table and probably should have lost to South Alabama, so it remains to be seen how effective their game of running without a real vertical threat will be. I expect Washington to play a more aggressive defensive role than they have so far this year to lose the race and challenge UCLA. The way I played high school, I’m not sure I’d dare, but UCLA probably has a worse passing game than Kent State, Michigan Stateand Stanford.

Pressing DTR will be critical because it can force mistakes and shifts. When coverage is good, he can and will creep for a first touchdown on the third/fourth down and long, which has been a problem for Washington this year. Maybe it’s about putting a spy on him throughout the game, or playing more area, but the UW defense simply has to get off the field to avoid being bombarded by the Charbonnet.

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