UCLA spring camp position review: Quarterbacks

UCLA quarterbacks work on drill during spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 23, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA quarterbacks work on drill during spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 23, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

Much has already been made of UCLA’s quarterback situation over the past several weeks. Through 15 practices, the consensus among observers was this: Josh Rosen looks like the Bruins’ best starting option this season.

Jim Mora and the rest of the coaching staff has declined to officially name a starter, which is unsurprising for a two main reasons: it’s not a good look to have a true freshman, however talented, zoom to the top of the depth chart; it might persuade those who lose the competition to think longer and harder before potentially deciding to transfer out.

For those still skeptical, here’s the quick argument for UCLA to start a first-year player at a position where first-year players have historically struggled. Continue reading

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Jim Mora Family Foundation set to hold ninth annual golf fundraiser

For the ninth year, UCLA coach Jim Mora is set to host his annual celebrity golf classic — the biggest fundraiser for the children’s charity helmed by his wife, Shannon.

The Jim Mora Count on Me Family Foundation, which benefits at-risk children, is holding the event for the third time since arriving in Los Angeles. It will take place Monday morning at The Riviera Country Club, less than five miles west of the Bruins’ campus.

After a Sunday evening cocktail reception at the W Hotel, the golf fundraiser will host such names as Troy Aikman, Marcus Allen, Dick Butkus, and LaDainian Tomlinson.

You can donate to the foundation at the official site.

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NBA combine: Looney, Powell measure out with long wingspans

The NBA Combine will hold its on-court portions to end this week, with five-on-five competition returning for the first time since 2008.

Former UCLA guard Norman Powell is slated to participate, part of a nine-man squad that also includes Kentucky’s Andrew Harrison, Arizona’s T.J. McConnell, and Stanford’s Chasson Randle. They will take the floor at 1:30 p.m. PT on both Thursday and Friday.

In the meantime, there are full body measurements from 63 players to pore over. Both Powell and forward Kevon Looney stood out in one particular category: their wingspans.

A potential lottery pick after his lone season at UCLA, Looney spread his arms out to 7’3.5″, tying him for sixth at the combine with Kansas’ Cliff Alexander. The downside is that he also tied for the eighth-highest body fat percentage at 11.9 percent. It’s a surprising number given how lanky he looked as a college player, and helps explain why he appeared winded at the end of the season despite being listed at 6-foot-9, 220 pounds. Continue reading

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Report: Quarterback Everett Golson has UCLA on transfer list

Could UCLA’s quarterback race expand from four contestants to five?

According to ESPN, former Notre Dame signal-caller Everett Golson has included the Bruins on his list of 10 potential transfer destinations, along with Florida State, Alabama and South Carolina. Arguably the most intriguing prospect on the graduate transfer market, Golson could immediately help expand a quarterback-needy offense.

After spring camp, UCLA appears likely to turn to true freshman Josh Rosen behind center over Jerry Neuheisel, Asiantii Woulard and walk-on Mike Fafaul. Only Neuheisel has any significant game experience. Continue reading

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UCLA spring camp position review: Receivers

UCLA's Mossi Johnson catches a pass during spring football practice on April 2 at Spaulding Field.(Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA’s Mossi Johnson catches a pass during spring football practice on April 2 at Spaulding Field.(Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA has not produced a 1,000-yard receiver since 2011. Looking at the state of the Bruins’ offense, it’s a good bet that the drought will extend for another season.

Such is the nature of offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone’s scheme. For three years, UCLA has divvied up targets between bevy of receivers, racking up significant total yards without creating a dominant No. 1 wideout. In 2014, Jordan Payton became the first Bruin to record more than 60 catches in the Jim Mora era; that same season, 12 others in the Pac-12 cleared that same threshold.

Payton might crack four-digit yardage as a senior, but the chemistry he built with Brett Hundley might not necessarily carry over when UCLA picks a new starter. (Even last year, Payton’s production tailed off as the season progressed; he didn’t top 58 yards or catch a single touchdown in his last four games.) This is not to say that the receiving corps are in any real trouble. After all, they return all but one member, and add a few others. Continue reading

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