Team preview: UCLA
Blue Ribbon Yearbook previews the 2005 college football season, exclusively on Insider.
From a distance, it may appear UCLA didn't make any forward progress in 2004. A year earlier, it went 4-4 in the Pac-10 and 6-7 overall, losing a lower-tier Bowl game to Fresno State.
Last season, the Bruins were 4-4 in the league and 6-6 overall, losing a lower-tier Bowl game to Wyoming. After the 2003 campaign, first-year coach Karl Dorrell was so disgusted with his team's performance that he refused a one-year contract extension.
Dorrell was anything but disappointed by his team's play in 2004.
That's because wins and losses aside, UCLA was among the most improved teams in the Pac-10 last season. In fact, it's not far-fetched that the Bruins could win double-digit games this autumn and play in a premier Bowl game come January.
Sure, UCLA's record might not indicate that, but it's not often an offense doubles its rushing and passing production in the same season. The Bruins nearly accomplished that rare feat in 2004. And their 184.9 rushing yards per game ranked second in the Pac-10, an increase of 93 yards per game.
"We definitely feel like that last year was a success," Dorrell said. "We were more inspired last season than in 2003 and we made tremendous gains that weren't reflected in our wins and losses. This program is on the upswing and we had a great spring practice, too.