UCLA football training camp day 15: Backup QBs progressing

UCLA football quarterback Devon Modster(18) passes the ball as the other quarterbacks look on as the team continues its training camp in Los Angeles Tuesday, August 15, 2017. (Photo by Thomas R. Cordova, Daily News/SCNG)

UCLA hopes it won’t have to turn to a backup quarterback for the second straight year, but the Bruins know the importance of the position all too well. If disaster strikes twice at UCLA, it will be Devon Modster who would step in for Josh Rosen. The former Tesoro High standout has proven to be an effective dual threat, but is working on developing his voice in the huddle.

“We’re asking him to really push himself out of his comfort zone,” offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch said. “Be louder, be more demonstrative, be more animated, but that comes with confidence and you have to kind of have that feel like, ‘I really know this.’”

More on UCLA’s backup quarterback situation

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Notes and observations from Day 15:

  • Time: 2 hours, 40 minutes
  • Attire: Soft shoulder pads, shorts
  • Josh Rosen and the No. 1 offense had a pretty good practice. Par for the course at this point. Rosen completed some nice throws to Christian Pabico. I think it’s pretty clear that the top four receivers (in no order) are Pabico, Darren Andrews, Theo Howard and Jordan Lasley. After that, it’s pretty tight in terms of receivers.
    • Rosen threw a nice 10-yard touchdown pass to Austin Roberts that capped off a drive that went close to 75 yards.
  • The defense won the competition period (red zone lockout with drives starting at the 25). It came down to a dramatic 42-yard field goal from J.J. Molson that the sophomore pushed wide after Jim Mora iced him and called the defense out to distract him by yelling. Molson had been 7 for 7 on the day leading up to the final kick, but Mora called three consecutive time outs, including one that came in time to negate a made attempt. The coach invited the defense to crowd behind Molson to distract him on the kick, knowing that if he missed it, the defense would claim victory, and then the sophomore pushed it just wide right. The defense celebrated with the customary victory jog across the field and back. It was their first outright win in four competition days as the offense had won three straight and the units tied the previous one.
    • On the five drives, the offense scored one touchdown and two field goals. The defense didn’t allow a first down on each of the first three drives. Rosen’s No. 1 offense scored the lone touchdown on its second drive with Rosen finding Caleb Wilson on second-and-goal from the 14.
      • Rosen’s first drive ended with a 39-yard field goal from Molson.
      • Breland Brandt had 1.5 sacks on Modster in two drives, which helped hold the No. 2 offense scoreless. The linebacker shared one sack with Rick Wade. Modster’s offense ran a fake field goal on its first drive, but Nate Meadors stuffed the trick play. Molson’s one miss of the day ended the No. 2 offense’s second drive.
      • Greg Rogers came up with a third-down sack against Austin Burton and the No. 3 offense. Molson made his 40-yard attempt.
  • The center-quarterback exchange seemed like an adventure all day with the backups. Josh Wariboko-Alali and Matt Lynch mixed up a snap in the second team period and linebacker Krys Barnes scooped it up for the recovery. Martin Andrus recovered another fumble when Zach Sweeney and Modster had a mix up in the same period.
    • Andrus delivered the play of the day with another turnover during a team period. Rogers pressured Lynch and forced a bad pass that Andrus jumped up and picked. The freshman defensive tackle ran it back for what would have been a pick-six.
  • The team did a quick legacy period (backed up, two-minute drill) at the beginning of practice, right after stretch lines and before individual drills. The No. 1 offense moved the ball effectively, the highlight of the drive being a completion from Rosen to Caleb Wilson that nearly ended in an Adarius Pickett interception. Pickett got a hand on the pass, but only batted it in the air for Wilson to snag that brought the offense within the 10-yard line.
  • Will Lockett made an impressive play in seven-on-seven to break up a pass to Pabico from Rosen. Pabico had the corner beat, but Lockett came over from his safety position and forced the incompletion.
  • Mo Osling III had an interception off Lynch on a throw intended for Jimmy Jaggers in a team period. There may have been some miscommunication or Lynch just completely missed the throw because Osling was wide open to make the pick. Osling also got a nice pass break up the red zone lockout drill against Jaggers and the third-team offense.
  • Injury notes
    • Leni Toailoa was not on the field
    • Austin Roberts was wearing a yellow, no-contact jersey as he returned to the field for the first time in about a week.
    • It looked like Boss Tagaloa took the day off during team periods. Chigozie Nnoruka went in his nose tackle spot. Tagaloa got banged up two days ago, but did practice Wednesday.
  • Molson was 7 for 8 on the day, with the lone miss being the aforementioned 42-yarder. He connected from 20, 23 and 25 in his score-team period and 39 and 40 during the red zone lockout period.