UCLA football training camp day 11: Rosen continues to rise

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen breaks huddle during football practice at Spaulding Field on campus Friday, August 04, 2017, Westwood, CA. Rosen will be relying on Sunny Odogwu (66) and Andre James (75) on the line.
(Photo by Steve McCrank, Daily Breeze/SCNG)

When asked of whether he preferred Westwood to Miami, Sunny Odogwu, the former Hurricane grad transfer, said he couldn’t really compare the two.

Where I’m from, I don’t have running water,” the Nigerian-born right tackle said. “Miami has running water. Westwood has running water. So I am more than grateful to be in Miami or here.”

Odogwu has quickly become a favorite among coaches and teammates for his humility and infectious personality. And not to mention his 6-foot-8, 315-pound frame that could go a long way in helping the Bruins improve their much-maligned offensive line.

More on Odogwu’s journey from Nigeria, to Miami, to Westwood.

Video interviews

Notes and observations from the day:

  • Time: 2 hours, 10 minutes
  • Attire: Full pads
  • It was Fan Appreciation Day and UCLA showed its appreciation for fans who came to watch from the top of Lot 8 and the Luskin Center on the hot, sunny day with almost entirely team drills during its shortest practice of training camp. Besides some quick individual work and some brief one-on-ones before and after stretch lines, it was all team, situational drills.
  • Another strong day from Josh Rosen. This is his fourth day in which he’s looked very comfortable out there. He’s finding receivers at the right time, moving well in the pocket and going through his reads with composure. Rosen, in his earlier years at UCLA, was not always known to be a very good practicer. He was much better on game days but could look very human in practice. Perhaps sometimes he was thinking too much during the week and when it got to game day, he allowed himself to just play. But now, he looks just as sharp in practice as he can be in games.
    • It’s clear that Darren Andrews is emerging as Rosen’s favorite target. He threw a ton of passes to Andrews on Saturday, but one of the finest was a 14-yard touchdown pass in the first team period in which Rosen threw the ball before Andrews even broke off his route. Rosen’s confidence in Andrews to be there and Andrews’ understanding that Rosen would throw it are the products of the pair starting together for two years now. (Except that Rosen only started in half the games last year.)
    • Rosen threw a beautiful 65-yard touchdown pass to Jordan Lasley. The first-team offense was playing against the No. 2 defense on the drive and Rosen quickly made them pay. Lasley got behind Will Lockett and Keyon Riley and received a perfect pass from Rosen before running into the end zone untouched. Lasley got some work with the first-team offense today, even before Theo Howard got hurt, so it’s nice seeing him work back to where he probably belongs on a talent-level.
    • The quarterback also made a mistake, missing Caleb Wilson on a wide open pass that would have gone for a touchdown. The throw was a little high and Rosen immediately looked at Wilson and let the tight end know that it was his mistake by tapping his chest. I think you appreciate the leadership in that moment to admit the mistake and move on.
      • Wilson dropped another pass in the end zone, which is uncharacteristic for him. He’s, by my estimation, the best pass-catching tight end on the team and probably within the top five or pass catchers period.
  • Bolu Olorunfunmi had a few very good runs, bouncing off would-be tacklers and showing some speed. He also caught a short screen pass in the flat and gained 30 yards on the play. He’s not good at catching the ball consistently, so it’s encouraging to see him secure one and go for extra yards.
  • The No. 2 defense wrecked the No. 2 offense, getting multiple tackles for loss and sacks per drive, it seemed. Rick Wade, Osa Odighizuwa and Nick Terry especially made life difficult for the offense.
    • Wade and Chigozie Nnoruka teamed up for the play of the day, in my opinion, as Nnoruka stripped the ball from quarterback Devon Modster and Wade scooped it up and returned it for a 45-yard touchdown.
    • The second offensive line (left to right: Jake Burton, Bryan Weitzman, Josh Wariboko-Alali, Michael Alves and Sunny Odogwu) seemed very weak up the middle. There were several times when it seemed like the entire defensive line got into the backfield and it was almost impossible to award the sack to just one player.
  • The No. 1 offense got a few sacks as well, with Jacob Tuioti-Mariner mostly getting pressure, but Rosen did a good job of getting rid of the ball quickly. On one play, Kenny Young was in prime position to get the quarterback coming around the edge, but a tiny block from Olorunfunmi allowed Rosen to step up in the pocket and get the throw off.
  • An inconsistent day for the punters. Stefan Flintoft had a punt that went close to 60 yards in the air on his first attempt, but followed it up with some punts that barely got to 45. Austin Kent, similarly, started strong with a 55-plus yard punt before falling off to punts closer to 40 yards.
  • Injury notes:
    • Howard got hurt during the latter stages of practice and had to hop off the field. It looked like it could be serious, but he ended up walking toward the trainers’ tent without assistance and a very minimal limp after receiving some treatment on the sideline.
    • Demetric Felton got hurt sometime during the first half of practice and spent the rest of practice on the stationary bikes.
    • Brandon Stephens was on the field, but did not take any snaps.
    • On the stationary bikes: Audie Omotosho, Colin Samuel, Poasi Moala
    • Out: Austin Roberts

(My notes are a little shorter today because I unfortunately lost my notebook sometime after practice and before I was able to to write this. So had to pull as much from memory as possible.)