UCLA Football: 2014 preview and expectations

Walking through the Rose Bowl grounds, the fight song blasting out of the trumpets, the different color blues and gold visible with tents standing, flags flying and a couple nerf footballs being tossed around. It’s game day here in Pasadena, and the mighty UCLA football team is ready to go get that W to open a much anticipated season.

Well, not quite yet I guess- wishful thinking. But the first week of spring practice has concluded and how can the excitement not be boiling over as UCLA begins its third season under the helm of Coach Jim Mora? Mora has introduced a new system, a fresh attitude, and winning recipe to the program that had been shamed just a year prior to his hire.

The dark ages, as I like to refer to it, seemingly started when a billboard with a notoriously bold and ill-thought statement toward USC was made public. It was all downhill in the Neuheisel Era from then on. The program has changed face, it has life, it has heart, and it has players who will run through brick walls for a coach who truly believes in them. He has brought NFL former players, coaches, and trainers to Westwood, it’s all a process, but a process that is without doubt headed in the right direction.

The Bruins have enjoyed two seasons which saw them get back to the respected bunch of teams in college football and most importantly beating USC in both of those seasons. The new standard is set, expectations raised, it’s time to show that they are truly elite. Pressure? Perhaps, but this team should be up to the task.

While this is Coach Jim Mora’s third season, the Bruins also open the spring for the third time with star quarterback Brett Hundley under Center. Hundley, thankfully for the team and Bruin faithful, decided to return for his junior year rather than leave for a promising career in the NFL. This by many, is deemed as a wise decision, being as talented as he is, he does have mechanical and decision improvements to make. Hundley also returns as one of the early leading Heisman trophy candidates and could very well bring the trophy back to Westwood for the first time since Gary Beban back in 1967.

The Bruins did have some key departures which will need to be replaced in a serviceable manner. Anthony Barr, most notably, star linebacker is gone to the NFL as well as Xavier Su’a-Filo, Cassius Marsh, Shaq Evans, and Jordan Zumwalt. Coach Mora bringing in the twentieth rated recruiting class in the nation according to Scout.com should provide some aid in the department.

This season may be a big one for Bruins football, especially with the changes to the BCS system which now welcomes a four team playoff for the first time. UCLA just might find itself in the mix for that end of the season hunt for the title barring any key injuries. The talent is there, leadership is there, and the attitude is there. The Bruin Revolution, as Coach Mora and UCLA faithful alike refer to it, is in full effect and it’s time to make good on the promise. 8 clap U-C-L-A Fight! Fight! Fight!