— UCLA has given a different quarterback first-team reps in each of its four practices this spring. Monday was finally freshman Josh Rosen’s turn, and he looked like everything you’d expect out of a five-star recruit.
The freshman hit on five of his first six throws, with the one incompletion being a dropped pass by Thomas Duarte. But it was how those throws looked that was really impressive. A sampling of what he did during 11-on-11s: rolling out and zipping a ball about 15 yards to Duarte near the sideline early on his first drive; finding Tyler Scott open in the middle for what would have been a very long touchdown in a real game; airing a pass almost 40 yards downfield, again to Duarte.
For some reason, however, Rosen did look worse during one-on-ones and seven-on-sevens, missing more than a handful of passes.
Still, he is clearly the most talented player currently vying to become Brett Hundley’s successor. He’ll almost certainly take his lumps if he wins the job and starts against real competition, but so far in spring, he’s backing up the hype that followed him out of St. John Bosco.
— Mike Fafaul got second-team reps today, and actually showed a nice bit of oomph on some of his passes. Head coach Jim Mora said the staff will reevaluate the current structure of using two quarterbacks each practice both this Tuesday and early next week.
— Defensive end Takkarist McKinley missed today’s practice with a swollen eye. Jacob Tuioti-Mariner took his place on the left side in the starting lineup.
— Linebacker Kene Orjioke did sideline work as he continues to rehab, but looks very healthy for someone who is only about six months removed from tearing his ACL.
— Aaron Sharp got significant reps at receiver, and looks like he’s on track to make the move permanently. Mora wouldn’t officially call it a full-time switch for the (former) quarterback, but said there’s a better chance for him to play there rather than behind center.
— Ka’imi Fairbairn bounced a 52-yard field goal attempt off the left post today, but followed that up by connecting from what looked to be about 57 yards out. He’s shown the ability to hit those long kicks for a few offseasons now, so we’ll see if he can carry that over into his final season.
Fairbairn actually had a quietly successful junior campaign, and could very well do better as a senior. He only tried one kick longer than 47 yards in 2014, but finished a dependable 18 of 22. He hit 13 of his last 14, with the miss coming from 37 yards out against Arizona.
— Jordan Lasley started a fight with defensive back Denzel Fisher, throwing a punch at his helmet/neck after a play. Fisher didn’t do anything that constituted obvious pass interference, so this one was completely on Lasley for losing his temper.
Receivers coach Eric Yarber told Lasley later that pulling that would have gotten him ejected in real game, and sat him for a good stretch of scrimmages. Sophomore Eldridge Massington talked to Lasley for a bit on the sideline.
— If you make it out to a UCLA spring practice, it’s fun to watch Jake Hall (#10) for at least a few minutes. The walk-on quarterback is fully committed to his signals from the sideline, and how emphatically he flaps his arms is sort of captivating.