Scouting Report: UCLA's RBs and TE

Wrapping up the scouting report for the UCLA Bruins, Total Blue Sports takes a look at the Bruins' running backs and tight end, as well as some of the challenges UCLA faces while adjusting to a new offense under new offensive coordinator Norm Chow.

The Cougars will face an offense they feel they match up better against than what they previously faced in Washington. The Cougars won't have to play as tentatively, as they will be facing an offense and quarterback that fits more the traditional mold.

"We had four sacks against Locker," said Cougar defensive end Jan Jorgensen. "We would have had more if he wasn't so dang fast and athletic. When you have a guy like Locker, it's hard to not play a little tentative. I found myself a couple of times at the offensive line instead of just coming at him as hard as I can just trying to keep him in front of me. I think your mindset changes a little more.

"We're going against a quarterback that's in the mold of being a little bit more normal than a quarterback like Locker. Every quarterback presents their own challenge. Craft throws the ball a little better than Locker, but at the same time he doesn't create plays with his feet. We have to worry about getting to Craft to pressure him into making bad throws."

From a front-seven point of view, defending Craft may come a little more natural to the Cougars than defending the unique challenges that Locker brought to the field of play. Moving into the UCLA backfield, the Bruins have two primary runners in Kahlil Bell and Raymond Carter.

"I definitely scout out the running backs because I have to tackle them," said Jorgensen jokingly. "We have to know what their tendencies are. We have to know if they're a finesse back or one of those guys that's going to try and lower his head on me or one that's going to try and shake me. I scout out the team as a whole and then move to specific guys."

His performance against Tennessee wasn't the best performance Bell has had on the field. He rushed the ball five times for only 12 yards, averaging 2.2 yards per carry. Due to an injury suffered during the Tennessee game, Kahlil Bell may not suit up against the Cougars this Saturday, but if he does, the Cougar defense will be ready for him.

"[Bell's] a great north-and-south running back," Jorgensen said. "He's not as shifty, but he makes great cuts. He squares his shoulders up to the line of scrimmage. He makes you cut enough to make you miss to get the angle, but he's not as shifty as some of the other little scat backs, but is a hard runner."

"Kahlil Bell isn't very tall, but he's a big guy … He's a big-body type back and is a different type of back that we've seen all year," said Brandon Howard. "The running back from UNI was a Curtis Brown-type build. Freeman for Washington isn't a big-body type player and is more like J.J. DiLuigi."

Last week 6-foot, 202-pound tailback Raymond Carter rushed the ball 15 times against the Volunteer defense for a gain of only 26 yards, averaging 0.9 yards per carry.

"Carter is a lot like Kahlil Bell in their body types," Howard said. "They're not the tallest guys, but they're big and good north-and-south runners. They can bounce off of tackles, and so we're going to have to square up and tackle well. We're going to have to make sure we wrap up well when we're making the tackles and pursue to the ball well to minimize the north-and-south type of run."

Tight End

During the Tennessee game, Bruin tight end Logan Paulsen caught one pass for 18 yards prior to suffering an injury. The Cougars are expecting to see 6-foot-3-inch, 234-pound junior Ryan Moya playing in his stead. Moya is a capable tight end that will look to attack BYU's outside linebackers and safeties deep.

"[Moya] showed some signs that he is definitely ready and can play," Howard said. "We're going to be ready for him and prepared to play."

BYU linebacker coach Barry Lamb talks about the Bruins and their impressive win against Tennessee.

UCLA Offense

With Norm Chow - who was a former BYU offensive coordinator under legendary head coach LaVell Edwards - now implementing a new offense at UCLA, one would think there would be similarities between the Bruin offense and the one currently found at BYU. Chow was groomed by Edwards and helped teach the west coast offense to Cougar players, as well as players at N.C. State and USC while coaching for those programs.

"Facing the scout team, we've been going over similar plays that they run," said Howard. "The scout team has been giving us a bunch of different looks that we expect. It's basically what we expect to see against us this Saturday, as well as what we've seen [UCLA run] against Tennessee. We have to step it up this week."

"I hope we've been preparing our defense all this time for what they'll see against UCLA," said BYU quarterback Max Hall with a chuckle. "Our defense is pretty good and they do well against us in practice. I think Coach Hill and Coach Mendenhall are going to have the defense ready."

The challenges of learning a new offense, new terminology and new formations are tough for any college team. Those dynamics are some of the disadvantage the Bruin coaching staff and players are facing. The Cougar defense should have an advantage, having faced a more polished yet similar offense day in and day out on the practice field.

"It's tough, and I think the toughest thing is the offensive coordinator can't expand it and do some of the things he wants to do," said Hall regarding what a team faces when switching offenses. "It was a little bit like that for us last year having new guys and a new quarterback. It kind of took some time for Coach Anae to open up and trust us, and at the same time it took time for us to fully understand the concepts of the offense. Norm Chow is obviously a great offensive coordinator and I'm sure [he] will have some stuff for us."

The Cougars are expecting the Bruin offense to be similar to what BYU runs.

"They do run some similar formations," Howard said. "However, with Coach Norm Chow you never know what to expect. Coach Hill has put together some things that will help us in our preparation and give us some good looks for what we expect to see this Saturday. We do have some idea on what they're going to run based on what they did against Tennessee."

"They've got two brand new offensive minded guys basically in Chow and Neuheisel," said defensive end Brett Denney. "We're expecting anything. We've looked at their Tennessee tape, and Chow started out here at BYU, so we know he likes to run tricks even though he didn't do a lot of that against Tennessee. We are expected that though."

The Bruins have had an extra week to help polish up on some of their base offensive schemes and look at what different things may or may not work against the Cougar defense.

"We have to expect the unexpected," said Denney. "They played two weeks ago and had a bye week, so they've had all the time in the world to try and put in new twists to their offense. Their quarterback [Kevin Craft] had that first half to get those bugs out ... We're expecting anything and looking forward to playing again. Against Washington, it was no secret that we played as well as we wanted to. Sure, Locker provides a problem, but we're still not satisfied with that. It's now a new week and I think the defense has taken advantage of that. We have great trust in our offense and great trust in our defense, but our performance last week was not who we are. That's the great thing about football, is you have another week to work those things knowing that's not who we are. We can expect more of ourselves because it's possible, and so we expect to come out the next week and prove it."

In the audio interview below, BYU quarterback coach Brandon Doman talks about some of the challenges that the Bruin coaches and players may face in learning a new offense.

"They do run some similar formations," Howard said. "However, with Coach Norm Chow you never know what to expect. Coach Hill has put together some things that will help us in our preparation and give us some good looks for what we expect to see this Saturday. We do have some idea on what they're going to run based on what they did against Tennessee."

"They've got two brand new offensive minded guys basically in Chow and Neuheisel," said defensive end Brett Denney. "We're expecting anything. We've looked at their Tennessee tape, and Chow started out here at BYU, so we know he likes to run tricks even though he didn't do a lot of that against Tennessee. We are expected that though."

The Bruins have had an extra week to help polish up on some of their base offensive schemes and look at what different things may or may not work against the Cougar defense.

"We have to expect the unexpected," said Denney. "They played two weeks ago and had a bye week, so they've had all the time in the world to try and put in new twists to their offense. Their quarterback [Kevin Craft] had that first half to get those bugs out ... We're expecting anything and looking forward to playing again. Against Washington, it was no secret that we played as well as we wanted to. Sure, Locker provides a problem, but we're still not satisfied with that. It's now a new week and I think the defense has taken advantage of that. We have great trust in our offense and great trust in our defense, but our performance last week was not who we are. That's the great thing about football, is you have another week to work those things knowing that's not who we are. We can expect more of ourselves because it's possible, and so we expect to come out the next week and prove it."

In the audio interview below, BYU quarterback coach Brandon Doman talks about some of the challenges that the Bruin coaches and players may face in learning a new offense.


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