October 8, 2011; Pasadena, CA, USA; UCLA Bruins fans in attendance cheer against the Washington State Cougars during the second half at the Rose Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Gary A. Vasquez-US PRESSWIRE

Pac-12 Conference Football Preview: UCLA Bruins (Part 1: Offense)

The UCLA Bruins appeared to have a positive season in 2011 upon looking at their conference record, but upon looking at their overall record, they had a disappointing one. UCLA finished last season with a conference record of 5-4, but an overall record of 6-8. The Bruins were 6-6 at the end of the regular season and got a chance to play the Oregon Ducks in the first Pac-12 Championship game. The only reason they got to play in this game was because of punishments issued to the USC Trojans. The Ducks defeated the Bruins by a score of 49-31. UCLA earned a bid to play in the Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl against the Illinois Fighting Illini. The Fighting Illini edged out the Bruins in the end by a score of 20-14.

The Bruins will need to look to their offense if they would like to do better in the Pac-12 in 2012. Here’s a look at the averages they had per game and their rankings compared to the other schools in Division I:

  • Total: 376.6 yards (72nd overall)
  • Passing: 209.5 yards (83rd overall)

  • Rushing: 178.4 yards (37th overall)

The biggest change for the UCLA Bruins heading into the 2012 season is their head coach. In November of 2011, UCLA fired their head coach of four years, Rick Neuheisel. During his four years as UCLA head coach, Neuheisel had an overall record of 21-29 and a conference record of 13-23. He only had one winning season.

The man hired to replace Neuheisel is Jim Mora. He signed a five-year contract worth $12 million on December 10, 2011. Mora use to be head coach in the NFL for both the Atlanta Falcons and the Seattle Seahawks. Mora was born in Los Angeles, but went to school and played football for the Washington Huskies.

A big task in which Coach Mora will face this season at UCLA will be restoring school pride. This is because of the fact that the UCLA Bruins have not been a great Pac-12 team the past few years. This is so important to Coach Mora that he touched upon it at the 2012 Pac-12 Media Day. Mora’s players share his ideals of the importance of school pride in 2012.

Johnathan Franklin was asked about what was lost and what needs to be done to restore UCLA’s school pride. Franklin replied with:

“It’s been tough, coming off the season we did, with the record we had. But I feel like we’re taking the right steps to putting UCLA on the map. Coach Mora comes with aggressiveness, and we’re working hard, and getting better. And if we do that, everything else will fall into place.”

 

Just like Coach Mora, Franklin is a Los Angeles native. Last season at running back for UCLA, Franklin recorded 976 yards on 166 attempts and five rushing touchdowns. Franklin will need to be a key player on the offensive side of the ball and serve as a leader for the offense in 2012. With Franklin by his side, Coach Mora might have it in him to turn this program around. There is just one thing that will be standing in the way…a USC Trojans team coming off a bowl ban and who just landed the biggest transfer from Penn State (Silas Redd).

Other Notable Offensive Players -

  • Kevin Prince (quarterback)
  • Joseph Fauria (wide receiver)
  • Jerry Rice Jr. (wide receiver)

For more stories on UCLA, check out Go Joe Bruin.

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Tags: 2012 Pac-12 Media Day Atlanta Falcons Coach Mora Ducks General Illinois Fighting Illini Jerry Rice Jr. Jim Mora Johnathan Franklin Joseph Fauria Kevin Prince Kraft Fight Hunger Bowl NFL Pac-12 Championship Pac-12 Championship Game Penn State Rick Neuheisel Seattle Seahawks Silas Redd UCLA UCLA Bruins UCLA Football USC Trojans Washington Huskies

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