Jim Mora: Asiantii Woulard’s transfer wasn’t a surprise

UCLA head coach Jim Mora speaks during Pac-12 Football Media Days at Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank on Thursday, July 30, 2015. (Photo by Sarah Reingewirtz/Pasadena Star-News)

UCLA head coach Jim Mora speaks during Pac-12 Football Media Days at Warner Bros. Studio in Burbank on Thursday, July 30, 2015. (Sarah Reingewirtz/Staff)

Asiantii Woulard’s decision to transfer out of UCLA thinned out the Bruins’ quarterback rotation, but it also wasn’t a stunner.

“I had a feeling it was coming,” head coach Jim Mora said Thursday. “Some of the indicators that I got from him, and really kind of the way the spring went. There were some family issues. He wanted to get closer to home. He was struggling a little bit. I hope he does well.”

The former four-star recruit asked out of Westwood back in June, opting to go back to his home state and enroll at the University of South Florida. He is currently seeking a waiver to play immediately as a redshirt sophomore.

Mora said that while UCLA could have used Woulard in the still-undecided quarterback race, his departure also makes it easier for coaches to divide practice reps between Josh Rosen, Jerry Neuheisel and Mike Fafaul.

Some more notes from the UCLA’s portion of Pac-12 Media Days:

» Mora said there will be no additional punishment for five-star running back Soso Jamabo, who was arrested this summer for fleeing police — but never indicted. The Plano, Texas native enrolled along with the rest of the 2015 signing class, and will be ready when UCLA starts training camp in August.

» Asked about the status of cornerback Justin Combs, Mora said that there have been no changes to UCLA’s roster. The Los Angeles city attorney’s office is still deciding whether or not to press charges against Sean “Diddy” Combs for his alleged kettlebell fight at UCLA last month.

» Fourth-year starting center Jake Brendel only had good things to say about Rosen, who is widely expected by both fans and media to win the starting spot as a true freshman. Continue reading

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UCLA spring camp position review: Linebackers

UCLA linebackers watch during the Bruins' "Spring Showcase" at the Rose Bowl on April 24, 2015. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

UCLA linebackers watch during the Bruins’ “Spring Showcase” at the Rose Bowl on April 24, 2015. (Keith Birmingham/Staff)

A program vying for the title of “Linebacker U” is about to enter what could be a very interesting season.

Anthony Barr needed just one offseason to turn himself into a dynamic pass rusher, and helped anchor the defense in Jim Mora’s first two seasons. Eric Kendricks was quietly consistent throughout his career, but peaked last fall on his way to a Butkus Award and UCLA’s all-time tackles record. Can Myles Jack seize that leadership role as well as his two predecessors?

All signs point to yes. Jack has impressed from almost the first practice snaps he took as a Bruin, and has proven himself to be one of the best cover linebackers in college football. While his sophomore season didn’t fulfill the all-world expectations set by his incredible two-way debut in 2013, he still finished with 87 tackles and seven pass breakups. Continue reading

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UCLA spring camp notes: Josh Rosen gets more reps at QB

— UCLA head coach Jim Mora said earlier this week that each practice will focus on two quarterbacks at a time. Thursday’s session had Mike Fafaul working with the first-string offense, and Josh Rosen working with the second-string — which meant an offensive line that is currently using two walk-ons due to injuries.

Rosen had his share of freshman moments in his first extended bit of action, throwing an interception that linebacker Willie Green returned for a touchdown. His footwork looked good and he still clearly has the highest ceiling of all the quarterbacks, but there will be some growing pains along the way. Continue reading

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