#41 UCLA Football 2021 Preview

UCLA Bruins
Overall Rank: #41
#6 Pac-12
 UCLA Logo
UCLA has won just ten games during Coach Chip Kelly’s three years with the program. Those losing ways should end in 2021. The Bruins return a ton of experience and have enough depth all over the field to not just put an end to their bowl drought, but potentially even compete for a Pac-12 South title.
2020 Record: 3-4, 3-4
2020 Bowl: None
Coach: Chip Kelly (10-21 at UCLA, 56-28 overall)
Offensive Coordinator: Justin Frye
Defensive Coordinator: Jerry Azzinaro
Returning Leaders:
Rushing: Brittain Brown, RB, 543 yards
Passing: Dorian Thompson-Robinson, QB, 1,120 yards
Receiving: Greg Dulcich, TE, 517 yards
Tackles: Caleb Johnson, LB, 44
Sacks: Caleb Johnson, LB, 5.5
Interceptions: Stephan Blaylock, DB, 2; Jay Shaw, DB, 2
Other Key Returnees: RB Brittain Brown, WR Kyle Philips, OL Sam Marrazzo, DB Qwuantrezz Knight, DB Mo Osling III, DB Quentin Lake,
Key Losses: RB Demetric Felton, DL Osa Odighizuwa, DB Elijah Gates
A lot will depend on the development of Dorian Thompson-Robinson. So far Thompson-Robinson has been up and down, but he was better last season, completing 65.2 percent of his attempts for 1,120 yards and 12 touchdowns with just four interceptions. Chase Griffin stepped in when Thompson-Robinson was hurt and played quite well so Coach Kelly has two experienced quarterbacks at his disposal. There is a lot of talent at wide receiver too. Kyle Phillips has been the most productive, but Texas A&M transfer Kam Brown and a handful of younger players gives the unit plenty of potential. Brittain Brown rushed for 543 yards last season and will get the first opportunity to replace Demetric Felton. Kazmeir Allen and Michigan transfer Zach Charbonnet will add even more options.
Ten starters return to a defense that ranked sixth in the Pac-12 in total defense. The front line will need to replace Osa Odighizuwa, but that should not be too big of a problem with so much other returning experience along the line. Linebacker Caleb Johnson led the Bruins with 44 tackles and 5.5 sacks and will again team up with Bo Calvert to anchor UCLA’s 4-2-5 defense. The secondary was the weak point last year, allowing 274.1 yards per game through the air. The hope is their experience will result in much better production.
The Bottom Line:
The offense has the potential to be what we have come to expect from Coach Kelly. The defense is loaded with potential as well. The word potential will be thrown around a lot heading into the 2021 campaign, but all of the pieces need to come together for the Bruins to have a great season. However, even if everything does not go well, this is still a UCLA team that should make their first bowl appearance since 2015.
Projected Bowl:  LA Bowl
2020 Team Stats:
Rushing Offense: 230.6 (12th in nation, 2nd in conference)
Passing Offense: 224.4 (68, 6)
Total Offense: 455.0 (21, 2)
Scoring Offense: 35.4 (20, 2)
Rushing Defense: 135.7 (30, 2)
Pass Defense: 274.1 (114, 11)
Total Defense: 409.9 (69, 6)
Scoring Defense: 30.7 (73, 7)
Turnover Margin: -0.29 (83, 7)
Sacks: 3.29 (8, 1)
Sacks Allowed: 1.71 (36, 7)