The case for
The Bruins have entrusted quarterback Brett Hundley with leading the team's no-huddle scheme. As a freshman last year he set school records for passing yards (3,745) and total yards (4,095). The 6'3", 222-pound Hundley knows a lot of pressure will be on him to lead the attack, which averaged 466.5 yards last season but lost star running back Johnathan Franklin, who graduated. As good as Hundley is, the player coach Jim Mora is touting as a Heisman contender is 6'4", 245-pound senior linebacker Anthony Barr. A running back until 2012, Barr had 13½ sacks and 21½ tackles for loss last year, which ranked second and fourth in the nation, respectively. Having passed on the NFL (and a likely first-round signing bonus) last spring, Barr is back for one more year. And with Hundley possibly also going pro in 2014, this is UCLA's year to make a title run.
The case against
"Replacing a player who broke the school's single-season rushing record and the career rushing mark is not easy to do," Mora says of Franklin. "I think the whole team [needs] to fill that void." The onus is on Jordon James, Malcolm Jones and Paul Perkins to invigorate the ground game and take pressure off Hundley. If they can't, the offense will be a one-man show.
How has it been different to work with your players now that you've had a year to get to know them and they've had a year to play under you?
[Last year] everything was new. This year they understand the expectations, they know how we like to practice, how we like to do things. But it's still important that we continue to push them. They understand the routine, but we can't allow anything to become routine.
What impresses you most about quarterback Brett Hundley?
You're not going to find a guy who is more committed to his team. He doesn't feel like a sophomore to me. He seems like a pro to me. He understands his mistakes, and he doesn't make them again.
How happy were you when you heard that Anthony Barr was coming back for his senior year?
I was happy because he's scratched only the surface of what he can be as a linebacker. He can have a tremendous impact nationally. He realized that he needed another year [with linebackers coach] Jeff Ulbrich. I commend him for that.
Player to Watch
Wide receiverDevin Lucienhad 10 catches for 188 yards before breaking his clavicle in late September. Now healthy, the 6-foot, 195-pound sophomore seems likely to earn a starting spot alongside No. 1 receiver Shaq Evans.
LOUIS LOPEZ/CAL SPORT MEDIA (BARR)
ROBERT BECK/SPORTS ILLUSTRATED (MORA)
Projected 2013 Stats
QB Brett Hundley
Pass: 3,525 yards, 25 TDs
Run: 465 yards, 9 TDs
RB Craig Lee
Run: 560 yards, 7 TDs
Rec.: 115 yards, 0 TDs
WR Devin Fuller
Rec.: 500 yards, 3 TDs
Run: 120 yards, 2 TDs
The Bruins will be tested on the road—again and again and again. A Sept. 14 game at Nebraska will be followed by trips to Stanford (Oct. 19) and Oregon (Oct. 26). And on Nov. 30, UCLA will travel across town to try to do something no Bruins team has done since 1998: defeat USC for a second straight year.
SI Power Ratings
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