CB Alterraun Verner (PHOTO CREDIT: ASUCLA Photography)

2007 Statistics

Coach: Rick Neuheisel
1st year
2007 Record: 6-7
at Stanford WON 45-17
at Utah LOST 6-44
at Oregon State WON 40-14
at Washington State LOST 7-27
at Arizona LOST 27-34
at Southern California LOST 7-24
Brigham Young LOST 16-17

2007 Final Rankings
AP-UR, Coaches-UR, BCS-UR

2008 Outlook

Coaching turnover is a regular part of the college football world. Many times, the coach who recruits a student-athlete isn’t a coach at that same school when the kid finally arrives. This can often be disconcerting (at best) and can actually be influential in that player then changing where they want to play. If anyone recruited to play under ex-coach Karl Dorrell was coming here for the tradition Dorrell offered as an alum, they won’t be disappointed that the guy who threw to Dorrell in his first two years as a Bruin will now be the leader of this pack.

That ex-Bruin QB (1979-83) is Rick Neuheisel. With a 66-30 aggregate record while at Washington and Colorado, Neuheisel actually had Dorrell on his staff at both stops. In pointing out all of this overlap, you can see that going from the student to the teacher is a good progression when trying to improve the gridiron product. Moreover, Neuheisel has spawned three top 10 finishes in his eight years as a head coach, each in at least a 10-win campaign. The job Rick did in tutoring Bruin legend Troy Aikman as he earned his law degree down the road at rival USC shows how Neuheisel can offer a healthy mix of academics and sport. This guy is sure to make this team and each player better for his re-arrival.

If Dorrell was a talented offensive mind, Neuheisel as his mentor should bring even more improvements in production…well, that and brining the proven offensive schemes of Norm Chow to this part of Los Angeles. Chow and Coach Rick together might just usurp the Trojans as having the top offensive staff in the league. The run will set up the pass to start, but then, once the training wheels come off of the new offense, look out. Losing Pat Cowan hurts, but JUCO All-American Kevin Craft and incumbent Ben Olsen are due to take off in the Chow system. Both have the wares to do so. The receivers and linemen are marginal units, but, like the QBs, new coaches and new approaches do wonders for three- and four-star wanna-be’s. The OL is being given freer reign with easier schemes so they can just dig in as needed, without having to over-think their basic actions. That’s just what’s needed when an offense that is trying to be this sophisticated is but starting out. Struggles this spring will need to be ironed out by September 1st when Tennessee opens the slate.

The defense has the same coordinator, DeWayne Walker, that has been here for the past two years. Not only does Walker stay, but two of his assistants also remain. The job got done, so why change the stopping approach? The line took off this spring, and the LBs behind them are a budding group that is fast but tough. Outside coverage will be tight, but new blood has to be broken in quickly if UCLA wants DB depth. This is the fastest overall group Walker has had since arriving. If the secondary can be tuned up to the run stuffing levels, this defense could also become one of the Pac Ten’s most respected.

Ambitious is the only way to describe the 2008 schedule. The non-cons – Tennessee, Fresno and BYU – went a combined 30-8 last year. Playing the Cougars for the third time in a little over a one-year span becomes an excellent measuring stick, since BYU was and is currently a top 25 team. Both Oregon and Cal are away, so the consolation of having USC come to their side of town (which is barely an advantage in a game that usually feels like it’s at a neutral site) means the conference road is a gauntlet, too. The Pac Ten seems to be on an upswing, overall, making anything UCLA gets well earned.

It may take a year, but UCLA is likely to climb back up the conference (and the national polls) sometime soon. And then, their stay amongst the nation’s elite can reestablish this program back to the prominent levels last seen when Neuheisel and Dorrell were here as players. It’s been a while, but Bruin Ball is back and won’t be going anywhere as long as the current staff is in charge.

Projected 2008 record: 5-7
QB - 3.5 DL - 3.5
RB - 3.5 LB - 3.5
WR - 3 DB - 3
OL - 2.5 ..
2007 Statistical Rankings
Total Off:
Sacks Allow:
Total Def:

Passing: Ben Olson, 71-147-6, 1040 yds., 7 TD

Rushing: Kahlil Bell, 142 att., 795 yds., 5 TD

Receiving: Dominique Johnson, 25 rec., 322 yds., 4 TD

Scoring: Kai Forbath, 25-30 FG, 30-30 PAT, 105 pts.

Punting: Aaron Perez, 91 punts, 42.3 avg.

Kicking: Kai Forbath, 25-30 FG, 30-30 PAT, 105 pts.

Tackles: Alterraun Verner, 75 tot., 53 solo

Sacks: Tom Blake, 3 sacks

Interceptions: Alterraun Verner, 4 for 76 yds., 1 TD

Kickoff returns: Michael Norris, 6 ret., 19.2 avg., 0 TD

Punt returns: Terrence Austin, 31 ret., 10.0 avg., 0 TD


RB Kahlil Bell (PHOTO CREDIT: ASUCLA Photography)
OFFENSE: Chris Markey-TB, Joe Cowan-WR, Brandon Breazell-WR, William Snead-TE, Shannon Tevaga-OG, Chris Joseph-C, Noah Sutherland-OG, Brian Abraham-OT, Aleksey Lanis-OT, Matt Slater-KR
DEFENSE: Nikola Dragovic-DE, Kevin Brown-DT, Bruce Davis-DE, Aaron Whittington-SLB, Christian Taylor-MLB, Rodney Van-WLB, Trey Brown-CB, Chris Horton-SS, Dennis Keyes-FS

The progressive skid seen on offense over the last eight games of 2007 is gone with the old staff. Six starters return, but with excellent recruiting classes making a pool of talent deep enough to find capable bodies at every position, the rebirth will be just what the doctor ordered.

What will we see with Norm Chow back in Los Angeles? That remains somewhat of a mystery, but he will form the weekly plan accordingly with the talent available, especially depending upon who’s under center. The imbalance the new coaches hope to even out will have the pass making a comeback after it’s struggled so much here. The guy for whom Chow had initially been shaping his system was Pat Cowan. Yet just before the spring game, Cowan was lost for the year (ACL means he’s out possibly for longer) and backup Ben Olson rode out on the same cart (metatarsal/hand). Olson will be back, but the former ESPN and SuperPrep Player of the Year didn’t exactly impress (except against Oregon State and Stanford) in his limited chances. Especially concerning was the exchange problems he was having with Micah Reed all spring. That really makes things interesting, for Chow has an arm in JUCO All-American Kevin Craft that just threw for 4,231 yards with 44 TDs and just 10 INTs. Craft easily stood above Chris Forcier and Osaar Rasshan, but incoming frosh Nick Crissman could challenge him in summer camp, which is when Olson is expected back, too. The one thing this QB unit won’t predominantly do is run the rock. But the sizable candidates under center all look like they will stand tall in the pocket and will be tough to bring down with arm tackles.

Running to set up the pass will be the first approach since Kahlil Bell is a proven commodity. An excellent pass blocker, Bell is still coming back from the knee surgery (ACL) that took him out of action after the Wazzu game, so his absence this spring conveniently gave an excuse and lots of reps to the pack behind him so they could sort themselves out for the new staff. Christian Ramirez did the most with that extra time he was given, bumping up to second on the depth chart. Raymond Carter will also get a good amount of time since he was so highly touted coming in (No.3 all-purpose RB prospect, Rivals). Moline is bigger than either fullback listed; it will be interesting to see how Chow gets him into the fold. The fullback who takes one for the team by getting no carries (but still getting to beat up opponents on lead blocks) is Trevor Theriot. We think he breaks out and gets more touches in Chow’s system (ala LenDale White?) This unit is stacked even deeper once recruits Milton Knox and Aundre Dean arrive, so injuries will not hurt too badly unless they go four deep.

The end will be Logan Paulsen, a capable snarler with superior raw ability. Ryan Moya is more of a WR-TE hybrid for those special occasions; he missed 2007, so his return will increase this position’s role immensely. These two will be important factors with so many new receivers. Marcus Everett will be the first option; guys like him usually thrive in a Chow offense, so look for a big senior year from Everett. Dominique Johnson is an even bigger target with just as much potential for having a career campaign, though, he has to come down with the ball more often when risking his body over the middle. The two departed WRs leave a deep threat void, which will likely be the primary role for great rout-runner Terrance Austin. Big strides by grayshirt freshman Taylor Embree this spring have the QBs looking his way since he drops little.

The line is an interesting mix of bigger types and leaner ones. The predominant characteristic, though, is the youth amongst the two-deep, even with three upperclassmen listed to start. Such speaks of the possible drop-off we could see if injuries hit there, but line coach Bob Palcic (here in the same capacity in 1993 when UCLA won the Pac Ten) comes back to Westwood (from the NFL after 13 years) to make sure his entire stable holds up their end. “He's a great coach. He's hardnosed, old school and he doesn't play any favorites. He's really motivational,” says Micah Reed. This former walk-on and all-state Ojai product is now a fifth-year senior who has seen four position coaches in his span here. Reed will bump back to center after he filled in nicely at guard during a seven-game span. Summing up the difference between this staff’s approach to blocking up front and what was seen last year, Reed states, “the run game is fairly similar… and our protection, we don't have as many elaborate schemes. It makes it easier for us because we don't have to think as much about what we are doing. We can just go out there and play.” Senior guard Scott Glicksberg is versatile enough to play anywhere, but he has never started. Micah Kia is budding and will be the reliant left tackle. Allowing (anywhere near) 36 sacks again won’t do, so Kia and Walnut’s Scott Sheller have their work cut out. Look for this ‘Chow line’ to be an improvement. Mike Harris is the closest thing to a ready-made sub, making the outside a bit vulnerable. Inside, the final piece is Dairus Savage, whose work in shot put and discus helps his footwork when blocking. “The pure balance of track and field of moving your body one and half turns as fast as you can go and try to stay in a seven foot circle, it helps a lot in pass protection, pulling and just the basics of football.” Chow needs athletic hats like Savage to make his plans succeed.

The pieces are in place for this to be a special offense. If you’re reading this, then you can’t act surprised when UCLA’s production takes back off.


TE Logan Paulsen (PHOTO CREDIT: ASUCLA Photography)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
QB Ben Olson-Sr (6-4, 235) Kevin Craft-Jr (6-5, 210)
Pat Cowan-Sr (6-5, 218) (inj.)
FB Trevor Theriot-Jr (6-0, 233) Tobi Umodu-So (6-0, 235)
TB Kahlil Bell-Sr (6-0, 235) Raymond Carter-Fr (5-11, 202)
Chane Moline-Jr (6-1, 236)
WR Marcus Everett-Sr (6-1, 212) Terrence Austin-Jr (5-10, 160)
WR Dominique Johnson-So (6-3, 208) Gavin Ketchum-Jr (6-5, 209)
Nelson Rosario-Fr (6-4, 202)
TE Logan Paulsen-Sr (6-6, 252) Ryan Moya-Jr (6-4, 229)
OT Micah Kia-Jr (6-6, 298) Brandon Bennett-So (6-4, 319)
OG Darius Savage-So (6-4, 338) Sonny Tevaga-So (6-3, 337)
C Micah Reed-Sr (6-4, 316) Jake Dean-So (6-4, 286)
OG Scott Glicksberg-Sr (6-4, 269) Nick Ekbatani-Jr (6-4, 290)
OT Sean Sheller-So (6-5, 282) Mike Harris-Fr (6-5, 311)
K Kai Forbath-So (6-0, 197) Jimmy Rotstein-Jr (5-11, 174) (KO)




The fact that DeWayne Walker will stay on as defensive coordinator for what will be his third year offers a huge amount of continuity for this most important dimension. His guys have been great at run stopping since he arrived. Forced to pass, foes piled up modest yardage totals, but the efficiency numbers show improvements also have occurred both years Walker has been here so far. Two of his three assistants also remain, a rare happening when a new headman comes in. Neuheisel is smart to do this and gives his kids their best chance to keep the Bruin’s No.29 scoring (and total) defense going at its peak performance level(s).

The rushing defense has allowed around three yards per carry and 10 rushing TDs over each of these past two years, but the turnover won’t automatically mean diminished results. The tackles are one of the best groups here in years. Ex-DE Harwell went down after two games in ’07 (MCL); after his first knee injury in his freshman year, he was a constant starter and even finished as the top tackling UCLA lineman of 2005. His return to his original form will be the biggest plus if it can actually happen. Brian Price was forced into five starts as a true frosh. A year wiser, this former No.5 prospect is flying up the learning curve. Starter Jess Ward was rehabbing from knee surgery and held back this spring. His return shakes up the depth chart, but not the rotation that will happen regardless of who starts. Tom Blake is a good cornerstone. Bosworth proved this spring that he can come off of the corner with authority. Stokes isn’t quite fast enough to properly substitute and provide the starter’s production levels. Anyanwu has speed but little size, so the depth on the outside is suspect.

John Hale is the newest starter at linebacker, but he has very good support in Carter since the junior will be in the middle and can roam free since the “Beast Brothers” (Harwell and Price) are in front of him securing their lanes. Hale also may need help early since he hurt his MCL this spring and sat out instead of learning the nuances of the position. Bosworth (Kyle is Korey’s twin) on the weakside seems to be coming into his own. Ayers stands out as the best of the reserves. Aside from two three-star incoming recruits, the corps looks thin (Mike Schmitt is exceptional) if the injury bug hits.

And speaking of thin, only three corners made it through spring healthy. That doesn’t mean this isn’t a stacked group that goes two deep with potential starters (great sign for nickel/dime packages). Al Verner is already a proven lockdown corner in a conference that demands every defense have at least one of these dominant types. Losing Brown won’t find a quick fix, even with Viney and Norris showing much in the new coverage schemes of Walker and first-year DBs coach Tim Hauck. JUCO product Meadows separated his shoulder in the latter half of spring, but he really earned major praise for how he’s continuously grown since walking on last year. The safeties are led by Bret Lockett, a size-speed combination with NFL written all over his future. Ware was pushed by Love all spring; Ware cutting down on mental mistakes will secure his starting spot. Love is a prototypical NFLer, too. Behind Lockett at strong safety is true frosh Anthony Dye (as well as possibly E.J. Woods) and unproven senior Matt Culver, so Lockett’s good health is a must.

This D has seen rebuilding on the other side of the ball for a few years now, and they held up each time. With speed, speed, and more speed abounding, Walker has more talent to mold than ever. And in a conference where defense can be the difference, this Bruin dimension looks strong.


DT Brigham Harwell (PHOTO CREDIT: ASUCLA Photography)


Returning Starters/
Key Players
DE Korey Bosworth-Jr (6-1, 235) Chinonso Anyanwu-Jr (6-4, 216)
DT Brian Price-So (6-1, 297) Jess Ward-Jr (6-4, 280)
DT Brigham Harwell-Sr (6-2, 292) Jerzy Siewierski-Jr (6-2, 285)
DE Tom Blake-Sr (6-4, 259) Reginald Stokes-So (6-3, 250)
SLB John Hale-Sr (6-4, 220) Akeem Ayers-Fr (6-2, 231)
MLB Reggie Carter-Jr (6-1, 221) Steve Sloan-Fr (6-3, 225)
WLB Kyle Bosworth-Sr (6-1, 222) Joshua Edwards-Sr (6-1, 232)
CB Michael Norris-Sr (5-9, 177) Courtney Viney-Fr (5-8, 153)
CB Alterraun Verner-Jr (5-11, 176) Chris Meadows-Sr (5-11, 175)
Rahim Moore-Fr (6-2, 185)
SS Bret Lockett-Sr (6-2, 204) Matt Culver-Sr (6-2, 201)
Anthony Dye-Fr (5-11, 185)
FS Aaron Ware-Jr (6-0, 193) Glenn Love-Fr (6-4, 207)
P Aaron Perez-Sr (6-4, 229) ..




Aaron Perez gets the job done – control, distance and net results worth bragging about (ranked 16th) are his profile. Freshman All-American Kai Forbath did something no other kicker in America did last year – he went a perfect 5-for-5 from beyond 50 yards, though, Forbath’s blocked 28-yard attempt as time expired cost UCLA their bowl game. Austin as a return guy in both spots looks like the best bet, but so much team speed exists that Austin will be kept for his offensive firepower (Norris). Dominique Johnson can help in that department or in kicking field goals.