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 still waiting to name a starting quarterback

UCLA head coach Jim Mora speaks to reporters during NCAA college Pac-12 Football Media Days, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Burbank, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

UCLA head coach Jim Mora speaks to reporters during NCAA college Pac-12 Football Media Days, Thursday, July 30, 2015, in Burbank, Calif. (Mark J. Terrill/AP)

At this point, just about everyone is tired of asking questions about UCLA’s starting quarterback. And rest assured, Jim Mora is tired of fielding those questions.

So when Mora accidentally let slip that Virginia would be blitzing a guy who has “never taken a snap” — well, reporters latched onto that like piranhas. Of the Bruins’ three quarterbacks, only five-star recruit Josh Rosen has never stepped on the field in a college game.

The UCLA head coach insisted afterward that it was simply an honest faux pas — that he’d meant to say a quarterback who has “never started a game.” As always, he insisted that the competition between Rosen, returning backup Jerry Neuheisel, and former walk-on Mike Fafaul (now on scholarship) is still alive.

“What I am after is competition,” Mora said. “Competition brings out the best in everybody. It’s trying to balance wanting that great competition, and wanting to have that synergy that’s so important on offense. That’s where it gets a little tricky. Hopefully we do a good job of that.”

“I would like to decide sooner rather than later,” he added later, “but I can’t force it to happen.” Continue reading

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UCLA plans to redshirt offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry

UCLA is planning to redshirt offensive lineman Scott Quessenberry, who underwent surgeries on both shoulders this offseason.

Quessenberry had started 19 games through his freshman and sophomore seasons, playing guard in all but one of those appearances. Head coach Jim Mora said he was unsure whether or not the former three-star recruit will switch to center when he returns in 2016. Quessenberry started the 2014 season opener against Virginia at center in place of Jake Brendel, who is now a redshirt senior.

Even without Quessenberry, the Bruins return plenty of game experience in the trenches, including Brendel and his 39 career starts. Five other linemen have combined for 73 starts.

Offensive tackles Caleb Benenoch and Simon Goines were also limited by injuries in spring, but project to be ready for at least part of preseason camp at Cal State San Bernardino. Linebacker Kenny Orjioke and running back Steve Manfro are also on track to be healthy this season.

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