Josh Rosen officially named UCLA’s starting quarterback

Josh Rosen will be UCLA’s starting quarterback, head coach Jim Mora announced today.

The news comes more than eight months after the five-star freshman first enrolled as a Bruin, and ends a battle that pitted him against returning backup Jerry Neuheisel. Mora said he delivered the news to the quarterbacks this morning.

“You evaluate every little thing,” Mora said of the decision. “I can’t tell you that there’s a checklist, but you watch guys. … At some point, it just becomes apparent to you. You get a gut feeling. You’ve seen enough.”

UCLA, which returns its 10 other offensive starters, will opens the season against Virginia on Sept. 5 as the latest team to try and succeed with a true freshman behind center.

Jim Mora: UCLA’s quarterback race will factor in player’s potential

UCLA has been loath to reveal much about its quarterback competition, but Jim Mora gave his strongest hint yet at his likely choice.

On Pac-12 Networks yesterday, the Bruins’ head coach said mentioned “potential” as one of the factors in deciding between redshirt junior Jerry Neuheisel and true freshman Josh Rosen — a statement that seems to point toward the latter choice. Continue reading “Jim Mora: UCLA’s quarterback race will factor in player’s potential” »

UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone isn’t a ‘two-quarterback guy’

UCLA hasn’t settled on a starting quarterback yet, but offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone wanted to make this clear: He’s only going to stick with one.

“I’m not a two-quarterback guy,” he said. “Never have been. Whoever is our guy, when he’s out there, he’s our guy. And you have to go through the good times and the bad times and do all those things.

“I’m not one of those ones where, if somebody thinks his shoe comes untied and he bends over, he’s going to get yanked.”

The Bruins are still giving reps to both true freshman Josh Rosen and returning backup Jerry Neuheisel. Head coach Jim Mora said Tuesday that anyone who claims the competition is over is “1,000 percent wrong.”

Yogi Roth: UCLA football is as ‘gifted’ as any team in the Pac-12

UCLA began practicing again on its Westwood campus on Monday, Aug. 24. (Scott Tarley/Staff)

The Pac-12 Networks crew arrived at UCLA on Tuesday — their latest stop on their preseason tour around the conference — and analyst Yogi Roth took some time to share a few of his thoughts on the Bruins.

How does UCLA compare to the other teams you’ve seen across the conference?

“Deepest team in the Pac-12 conference, I think, all across the board. You hear 18 starters? It’s really more like 20, 21 starters. Not even including special teams. I would’ve picked them to win the Pac-12 if we had an answer at the position that matters the most. And they’ll figure that out. … But they are gifted, man. I mean, when I saw last year on ‘The Drive,’ seeing the build and the youth — the year before that they played 12 true freshmen, I think. (Note: UCLA actually played 18 true freshmen in 2013.) This year, maybe two, maybe three guys are gonna play? You just have crazy depth. …

“This is my 15th year in major college football. I’ve never seen players work for a head coach like they work for Jim. I’ve never seen the admiration that they have. I think he’s got something really brewing here. And if they can get consistent play at the quarterback position — and I think those two guys should do it — they’re as gifted as anybody.”

What do you think of the quarterback competition between Jerry Neuheisel and Josh Rosen?

“In San Bernardino last week, I saw Jerry have full command of the offense. I talked to him this summer, he said this offseason was the best of his life. And you have that when you have your opportunity. I remember as a player, we all went through that. When you get your chance to be the guy, it’s just different. It just is. He led all the workouts. He’s clearly the leader of this team. Whether that means he starts or not, I don’t know. But I saw a guy that was in total command of the offense. A guy that is saying, ‘I know you’re playing well, Josh, but I’m still here.’ He hasn’t given up the job.

“You look at Josh, and I’ve said this a bunch of times, I think he’s the most gifted quarterback in this conference, top to bottom. I know what that means. He may not be ready to play yet. But if you ask the quarterback gods to build somebody, they’d build Josh Rosen. I don’t know what Troy Aikman looked like at his age, but I just imagine it very similarly. I’ve known Josh a long time. His functional football intelligence is on par with Jerry’s. Jerry grew up with a coach. Josh is a savant, mentally. But he’s a first-time starter as a freshman, from the jump. I would expect both of them to play, because I think both probably earned it.”

Does it affect the offense not to have a starting quarterback named yet this close to the start of the season?

“I don’t think so. I think one of the biggest misnomers in college football is the fact that we talk about players as leaders. Continue reading “Yogi Roth: UCLA football is as ‘gifted’ as any team in the Pac-12” »

UCLA camp notes: Defense stands out in Bruins’ live scrimmage

» UCLA’s live scrimmage on Friday evening was its final practice at Cal State San Bernardino. For anyone planning to come out to the Inland Empire on Saturday, the Bruins will be out at 9:15 a.m. for its “Fan Appreciation” event.

Players will sign autographs, and free food will be available from a Stater Bros. trailer.

» The live scrimmage itself was a bit of a mixed bag. The first-team offense and defense combined as the blue team (coached by Taylor Mazzone), facing off against the rest of the Bruins on the white team (Noel Mazzone). But taking into account injuries and some liberal substitution patterns, it wasn’t exactly an accurate simulation of how the two sides stack up.

As expected, the blue team won convincingly, taking the scrimmage 39-16 thanks to a stable ground game and touchdown passes by both Jerry Neuheisel and Josh Rosen — who switched off possessions behind center. Continue reading “UCLA camp notes: Defense stands out in Bruins’ live scrimmage” »