Jim Mora: UCLA no closer to naming a starting quarterback

» UCLA head coach Jim Mora talked after UCLA’s final spring practice on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, and immediately quashed the biggest question of the Bruins’ offseason: Who will be the new starting quarterback?

“I don’t think we’re any closer to a decision than we were when we started spring,” he said, with more or less a straight face. And he isn’t planning to name one until the season-opening kickoff against Virginia on Sept. 5.

Regardless of what happened through four weeks of spring practice, the coaching staff has consistently insisted that no hierarchy has emerged among the four candidates vying to be Brett Hundley’s successor. On Saturday at the Rose Bowl, all four got 11-on-11 reps. Jerry Neuheisel and Josh Rosen ran with the first-string, while Asiantii Woulard and Mike Fafaul got their chances with the second string.

Rosen subbed in for 11-on-11s more than an hour into practice, and completed his first five passes. His sixth was a nice-looking 35-yard pass to Logan Sweet, but cornerback Marcus Rios reached over and tipped it away at the last second. He eventually finished 13 of 17 with two touchdowns and an interception on the day, with the pick going to Johnny Johnson.

As has been the case at times this spring, Rosen didn’t look as sharp during seven-on-sevens. He missed a couple of back-to-back swing passes to Paul Perkins, one thrown slightly too far ahead and the other thrown too low.

» Instead of running a real, live scrimmage like it did last spring at the StubHub Center, UCLA opted for what was essentially a regular practice. When Mora announced that decision to the team on Monday, not everyone was excited. Continue reading

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Where does Jim Mora rank among L.A. sports powers?

Jim Mora has led UCLA to 29 wins over the past three seasons. He's pictured here as the Bruins run out of the Rose Bowl tunnel against Stanford last November. (Will Lester/Staff)

Jim Mora has led UCLA to 29 wins over the past three seasons. He’s pictured here as the Bruins run out of the Rose Bowl tunnel against Stanford last November. (Will Lester/Staff)

We at the Los Angeles News Group released our first-ever ranking of the top 50 most powerful sports figures in the city today, and there was definitely a UCLA presence.

At the very top is Bruin alum and booster Casey Wasserman, whose surname will grace the school’s new football facility. Athletic director Dan Guerrero comes in at No. 28, and football coach Jim Mora at No. 33.

The ranking also branched out beyond, well, humans. The Rose Bowl checks in at No. 20.

Here’s the top 10:

1. Casey Wasserman, CEO Wasserman Media Group
2. Philip Anschutz, AEG Chairman
3. Magic Johnson, Dodgers and Sparks owner, Lakers Hall of Famer
4. Kobe Bryant, Lakers guard
5. Mark Walter, Dodgers Chairman
6. Vin Scully, Dodgers broadcaster
7. Jeanie Buss, Lakers owner
8. Stan Kroenke, St. Louis Rams owner
9. Steve Ballmer, Clippers owner
10. Ari Emanuel and Patrick Whitesell, WME co-CEOs

Click through to see the rest of the list. Feel free to express your approval/outrage in the comments below.

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VIDEO: Offensive lineman Zach Bateman on his transition to UCLA

Offensive lineman Zach Bateman is one of the new faces at UCLA this spring, and the transition hasn’t gone as smoothly as he’d hoped.

The JUCO transfer from Orange Coast College enrolled in January hoping to win a starting spot at left tackle. Through 14 spring practices, however, he’s been moving to different spots on the second-string line.

The 6-foot-7, 320-pound Bateman spent the first week or two of camp at guard, a position that was completely new to him. He’s since practiced more as a tackle, but said that the initial move didn’t help ease his learning process.

“From a left tackle point of view, I’ve got a fast end and I’m taking a step back, versus having a 330-pound lineman straight in my face (as a guard),” he said. “The stance is completely different. I was playing out of a three-point, versus out of a two-point. For someone that isn’t a lineman, those don’t sound like those are major differences, but it really is.”

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UCLA adds four-star cornerback Jordan Parker to 2016 class

Earlier this month, UCLA secondary coach Demetrice Martin said he’s currently in charge of his deepest defensive backfield yet. On Friday, he secured yet another player who can help the Bruins sustain both quality and quantity.

Four-star cornerback Jordan Parker, a standout at Pittsburg High in Northern California, announced his verbal commitment to UCLA. The 5-foot-11, 184-pound prospect is the first player at his position to join the Bruins’ 2016 class, which already included seven other recruits.

Rivals.com ranks Parker as one of the country’s top 16 cornerbacks, while Scout.com puts him at No. 9 nationally and the best at his position in the West.

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UCLA sets home-and-home series against Cincinnati in 2018, 2019

UCLA has scheduled a home-and-home series against Cincinnati, set for the 2018 and 2019. The first game will be played at the Rose Bowl as the season opener, while the next game will be at Nippert Stadium.

Cincinnati athletic director Mike Bohn first announced those plans on Thursday, according to the Cincinnati Enquirer, but said then that the series was tentatively scheduled for the 2019 and 2020 seasons.

The games will mark the first-ever meetings between the Bruins and the Bearcats.

This is how UCLA’s nonconference schedule is currently constructed for the next decade: Continue reading

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