UCLA Offensive Preview

This short post will look at the offense for UCLA as USC faces them later today.  This will hopefully help predict what USC will see tonight.  The post will look at the offensive play calling by UCLA in various situations and will look at average gain per down, and the overall gain histogram for runs and passes.

Play Calling

UCLA has run the ball 428 times this season (58%) and passed the ball 308 times (42%).  However, when the score has been close (within seven points up or down), UCLA has run the ball 247 times (65%) and passed the ball 135 times (35%).  Let us first look at the play calling by down this season.

The Bruins tend to run the ball significantly more on 1st and 2nd down.  They have run the ball about twice as much in these downs.  3rd down is twice as many passes.  If we break down 3rd down further, UCLA run the ball 74% of the time on 3rd and short, but passes the ball more in every other situation.  On 3rd and 4 or greater, they have passed the ball 77% of the time.  Now let us look at the play calling by quarter.

UCLA has relied on the running game for every quarter other than the 4th.  They margin between rushing and passing is less so in the 2nd quarter, possibly as they try to score points just before halftime.

Average Gain

Let us look at the average distance per down and average gain for UCLA.

UCLA doesn’t have a super strong offense.  They gain 4.79 yards on average for each offensive play.  UCLA averages the most yardage on 1st down, but averages just over four yards per play on 2nd and 3rd downs.  Let us take a quick look at the conversion percentages for each down.

These are not very high conversion numbers.  Even breaking down 3rd down further, UCLA is converting 57% of their 3rd and shorts, 34% of their 3rd and mediums, and 28% of their 3rd and longs.

Gain Histograms

Here is a quick look at the gain histograms by UCLA.

Only 7% of their total plays have been explosive this year (15+ yard gains).  This includes 7% of their rushing plays and 8% of their passing games.  UCLA’s offense is run out of the pistol and uses a heavy rushing attack.  Yet, 51% of their run plays are stopped for a minimal gain of 3 yards or less. 17% of their total runs are stopped for a loss or for no gain.


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