Bruins say their experienced line can handle physical BYU
UCLA has struggled in past seasons against physical opponents, and the Bruins get one Saturday at the Rose Bowl in Brigham Young.
“What I see on film are guys who play hard, a physical group,” UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone said.
UCLA was manhandled by such a group when it played Stanford last season. It was the seventh consecutive loss to the Cardinal since former Coach Jim Harbaugh beefed up the Stanford program. David Shaw, Harbaugh’s successor, has continued those grind-it-out ways.
The Bruins also lost last season to Utah, another meat-and-potatoes team.
“Obviously, we haven’t had a whole lot of success against these kind of fronts,” Mazzone said. “This is a good barometer to me to see where we are as a team right now.”
The Bruins can counter with their most talented and experienced offensive line in years. Collectively, the group has 100 starts.
“We’ve got some maturity up there,” Mazzone said. “It’s not just some young guys. They’re guys who have played awhile.
“Football comes down to a couple of things. You’ve got to run the football and you’ve got to stop the run. We’re all right at running the ball.”
UCLA had 273 yards rushing against Nevada Las Vegas on Saturday, including 153 by Paul Perkins. UNLV rushed for 181 yards.
Coach Jim Mora said he has made it a point to talk with UCLA players about being “poised and mature” on the field against BYU.
“I started it [Monday], before we talked about UNLV,” Mora said.
One player in particular was on his mind. Linebacker Myles Jack has had issues in the past with personal fouls.
“Myles, he got a direct speaking to,” “Mora said. “We’re a passionate team and he’s a passionate player. He gets targeted a lot. He has learned to react a lot better. He’s just not perfect yet, but he’s moving in the right direction.”
Center of attention
Center Jake Brendel went through a full practice Wednesday. Brendel sat out the second half against UNLV after getting his foot stepped on. He missed Tuesday’s practice. Brendel has started 41 of 42 games since 2012.
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