UCLA coach Jim Mora talked a bit today about BYU’s offensive scheme, what he wants to see the Bruins improve (sacks!), and the development of true freshman defensive back Octavius Spencer.
Much has been made of UCLA starting a true freshman quarterback in Josh Rosen, something that had loomed as the biggest question of the Bruins’ offseason.
Rosen has looked more than capable through his first two games, throwing for 574 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. According to Mora, the five-star recruit out of Bellflower St. John Bosco is in a much better situation than he might be in three or four years from now.
“It’s much more difficult to play in the NFL,” Mora said. “I think that anyone that has been in both leagues understands that the NFL is a different animal. The level of play is so much higher than we have here at the college level. I don’t even think it’s close. I think it’s much easier to start as a freshman in college than (as a rookie) in the NFL.”
Mora was the defensive backs coach in San Diego when the Chargers started Billy Joe Tolliver for five games in 1989. The second-round draft pick took the No. 1 job midway through Jim McMahon’s disappointing season, and completed 89 of his 185 passes as a rookie for 1,097 yards, five touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
The next year, rookie John Friesz started the regular-season finale for the Chargers, recording 98 yards, a touchdown and a pick on 50 percent passing in a 17-12 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The sixth-round draft pick became a full-time starter in 1991, Mora’s last year on the San Diego staff.
UCLA offensive lineman Tevita Halalilo is out for the season with a broken ankle.
The true freshman made his first career appearance on Saturday during a 37-3 win at UNLV, but went down in the final 50 seconds of the game. Head coach Jim Mora said Sunday that Halalilo suffered a fibula fracture, and will need to have a metal plate inserted.
The four-star recruit out of Moreno Valley (Calif.) Rancho Verde should qualify for a medical hardship waiver and enter next season as a redshirt freshman.
Senior center Jake Brendel sat out the second half against the Rebels, but Mora said the move was precautionary. The fourth-year starter bruised his foot during practice on Wednesday, and was stepped on again during the game.
While the injury does not appear to be serious, losing Brendel for any amount of time would be devastating to UCLA’s offensive line. The Bruins currently use right guard Alex Redmond as their backup center, though they could also turn to true freshman Fred Ulu-Perry, who made his career debut at nose tackle in Las Vegas.
UCLA head coach Jim Mora talked about the Bruins’ 37-3 win at UNLV on Saturday night, touching on offensive lineman Tevita Halalilo’s ankle injury and defending the team’s decision to run plays into the final minute.