This year marked the first season that UCLA linebackers coach Jeff Ulbrich assumed the defensive play calling duties for the Bruins, and the season was somewhat of a roller coaster on the defensive side of the ball.
The Orange County Register detailed Ulbrich's defensive outlook going into the season, and described his view of it as very NFL-like. Like many NFL foundations, it was largely based in the hands of the players, mixed in with lessons he had learned from his time in the NFL under defensive guys like Dan Quinn and Jim Mora Jr.
In theory, that sounds like a solid foundation, but after the last week of the regular season, Ulbrich looked back and described this year as "a learning process". The Bruin defense had a few dominant performances, against teams like Arizona and Arizona State, but struggled at other times against teams like Utah and Stanford in games that they should have played a lot better in.
In hindsight, Ulbrich explained that he should have been more flexible with various calls and blitzes because that's the way that offensive coordinators force you to be in today's landscape of college football.
“The problem with college football is that it’s different because you’re seeing so much exotic stuff on offense that you almost have to balance that with being exotic in your own right at times to keep them off balance." Ulbrich explained.
"I gained a better understanding of that as the season went on.”