UCLA head coach Jim Mora talks to the media after the first day of spring practice. (Photo by Brad Graverson // Daily Breeze)
One day down, 14 more to go. Here are a few observations and notes to pass along from the first day of spring practice.
Read the notebook from the first day of camp, focusing on Jim Mora’s aversion to the “pro-style” label.
Watch/listen to post practice interviews here
— A prominent storyline of the spring will be how the offense progresses under new offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu. Whether the scheme is that much different than what Noel Mazzone had can be debated, but Jim Mora is adamant that it’s not as different as everyone’s making it out to be. The changes include a different snap count and an increased amount of time you’ll see Josh Rosen under center. The snap count changes made for an ugly first period of scrimmaging as there were likely more false starts than completed passes.
— Indeed there will be tight ends and fullbacks in this offense. At least one tight end was in almost every set. Nate Iese seems to be a top option right now, as the former fullback lined up with the No. 1 offense during the scrimmage periods. Giovanni Gentosi also lined up at tight end. Cameron Griffin and Ainuu Taua took snaps at full back.
— Mora said there were 20 snaps of a 3-4 defensive front during practice and downplayed the hubbub about making a big change to a 4-3 defense. He said the team played about 50 percent of its snaps with four down linemen last year, so it’s not a look the Bruins are unfamiliar with, he stressed. However, linebacker Jayon Brown said after practice that the team is focusing on the 4-3 front more in an effort to be better against the run.
— Freshman wide receiver Theo Howard had likely the catch of the day, making a great adjustment in the air to catch a back-shoulder pass over a defender.
— Eight other freshmen are on the spring camp roster: Linebackers Breland Brandt, Mique Juarez and Lokeni Toailoa, receivers Demetric Felton and Theo Howard, quarterback Matt Lynch, kicker JJ Molson, defensive lineman Nick Terry, defensive back Leni Toailoa.
Juarez worked into the second string linebacking unit, playing as an outside linebacker. He dropped into coverage and came off the edge. Mora said the North Torrance High alumnus did not look out of place, which is a good thing for an 18-year-old who just started college within the last 36 hours.
Molson connected on all four of his field goals.
— The first string offensive line looked like this (from left to right): Conor McDermott, Kenny Lacy, Scott Quessenberry, Poasi Moala, Kolton Miller
— DB Fabian Moreu, DB John Johnson, DL Eddie Vanderdoes, WR Mossi Johnson and OL Tevita Halalilo were all limited in practice as they’re working back from injuries. They worked out individually on the side of the field.
Tell me what you’re most curious about in practice and I’ll try to keep my best eye on it for the coming days.
Up next: Day 2 of practice, Thursday, 7 a.m., intramural field