UCLA spring camp notes: Josh Rosen gets more reps at QB

— UCLA head coach Jim Mora said earlier this week that each practice will focus on two quarterbacks at a time. Thursday’s session had Mike Fafaul working with the first-string offense, and Josh Rosen working with the second-string — which meant an offensive line that is currently using two walk-ons due to injuries.

Rosen had his share of freshman moments in his first extended bit of action, throwing an interception that linebacker Willie Green returned for a touchdown. His footwork looked good and he still clearly has the highest ceiling of all the quarterbacks, but there will be some growing pains along the way.

The race to become starting quarterback currently looks like it comes down to either Rosen or last year’s backup, Jerry Neuheisel. Neuheisel just doesn’t have the same arm strength as Rosen, however. Asiantii Woulard is still behind those two, judging from the early returns this spring.

— Linebacker Deon Hollins had a couple of good pass breakups today, which is a great sign that he’s spent the past few months working on his weaknesses. He broke late on a pass intended for fullback Nate Iese, but recovered and picked off walk-on Jake Hall’s pass. Hollins also tipped a ball intended for running back Paul Perkins.

The soon-to-be junior had a dangerous first step ever since he arrived on campus, and he finished last season on a tear with six sacks in his final four games. If he can be a bigger factor in run stopping and pass coverage, that bodes well for UCLA’s defense.

— We’re still sans pads so far in spring camp, but Perkins looks like he’s improved as a pass catcher. He got a good amount of separation against most defenders, and didn’t drop many balls. I don’t know that using him on pass routes too often during the season will be the best use of his talents though. He’s the reigning Pac-12 rushing leader, and comes back with his entire offensive line intact. Just hand him the ball and let him get the yards.

Besides, UCLA has plenty of receivers they can utilize on swing routes, or even incoming freshman Soso Jamabo.

— Offensive and defensive starters were mostly identical to what UCLA trotted out on Tuesday. The biggest change was probably on the second string, where JUCO transfer Zach Bateman moved from right tackle to left guard.

— UCLA’s secondary lineup has been very fluid through two days. While the presumptive starters are still Ishmael Adams, Fabian Moreau, Randall Goforth and Jaleel Wadood, the Bruins haven’t been afraid to pair younger players with the first-string front seven. Dwight Williams and Nathan Meadors got some of those reps today.