Skip to main content
Publish date:

"When you put a defense together, you have to find 7-8 things guys want to do"


Tom Bradley has brought with him a new image of what the UCLA defense should look like. Bradley, the longtime Penn State defensive coordinator who spent last season on the staff at West Virginia, took over as the signal caller on defense in Westwood when Jeff Ulbrich decided to take the linebackers job on the Atlanta Falcons staff.

Since Bradley's defense has its own intricacies, he spent some time breaking down film once he landed in LA to find out what his new group of players do well, and chose not to focus on the scheme they were running or the score.

Instead, he began the process of finding the seven or eight things that his new guys do well so he could form the new-look UCLA defense around that.

"When you put a defense together, there are usually seven or eight things that the players like to do, or really understand how to do, and that's what they want to play." Bradley explained after practice. "We just have to figure out what those seven or eight things are that everyone is comfortable with, that we're all on the same page with."

"Over the years, you figure out that you can only go as fast as your slowest learner, and you always have to play the 'what if' game. 'What if he's not in?' It's not just with your starters, it's the backups and those other guys too."

"I always take the worst-case scenarios and kind of build the defense from there."