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UCLA's Defensive Line Poised to Impress in 2023 Campaign

Defense is the name of the game for the Bruins

The UCLA Bruins have been on a steady upward trajectory, particularly under the guidance of head coach Chip Kelly. The offensive game has consistently improved, with higher points and increased efficiency becoming the norm. But in Kelly's playbook, the offense is rarely the concern. It's the defense that carries the weight of championship ambitions.

In football, the adage holds true – defense wins championships. Even though the path to victory might be challenging, the Bruins have their sights set on the goal, at least within the competitive Pac-12 conference. The offense is poised to hold its ground with a new quarterback stepping in. However, the real test lies on the defensive front, where showing up and showing out is non-negotiable.

As fall camp unfolds, promising signs are emerging from the defense, offering a glimmer of hope. One notable voice in this narrative is that of defensive lineman Gary Smith III. He's vocal about his team's strides during practices, hinting at positive changes in the works.

“It’s going great,” defensive lineman Gary Smith III said. “The lineman and the edge rushers are all on the same page and we know what one another is doing. We will have each other’s back.”

(via OC Register)

The defensive performance in the 2022 season didn't quite hit the mark, particularly in their run defense, where they ranked 43rd nationally, giving up 3.9 rush yards per play. 

This year, there's a new name at the helm – defensive coordinator D'Anton Lynn. His mission is clear: to set the defense on the right path, aiming for greater prowess. So far, things seem great, as Smith loves what he's bringing to the new and improved defense. 

“I feel good with the defense and the new coordinator,” Smith said ahead of his second season as a Bruin after transferring from Duke. “We have a year together as a defense and we didn’t lose too many pieces. I’m looking forward to a great year.”

(via OC Register)

The Bruins strive for a different narrative this season as they aim to have a stellar defense.