UCLA spring camp notes: Josh Rosen takes first-team reps

— UCLA has given a different quarterback first-team reps in each of its four practices this spring. Monday was finally freshman Josh Rosen’s turn, and he looked like everything you’d expect out of a five-star recruit.

The freshman hit on five of his first six throws, with the one incompletion being a dropped pass by Thomas Duarte. But it was how those throws looked that was really impressive. A sampling of what he did during 11-on-11s: rolling out and zipping a ball about 15 yards to Duarte near the sideline early on his first drive; finding Tyler Scott open in the middle for what would have been a very long touchdown in a real game; airing a pass almost 40 yards downfield, again to Duarte.

For some reason, however, Rosen did look worse during one-on-ones and seven-on-sevens, missing more than a handful of passes.

Still, he is clearly the most talented player currently vying to become Brett Hundley’s successor. He’ll almost certainly take his lumps if he wins the job and starts against real competition, but so far in spring, he’s backing up the hype that followed him out of St. John Bosco.

— Mike Fafaul got second-team reps today, and actually showed a nice bit of oomph on some of his passes. Head coach Jim Mora said the staff will reevaluate the current structure of using two quarterbacks each practice both this Tuesday and early next week. Continue reading

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Scott White makes ‘seamless’ move to UCLA linebackers coach

Scott White has only officially been UCLA’s linebackers coach and special teams coordinator for a little over a month, but his time in Westwood predates even Jim Mora.

White is entering his fifth season on the Bruins’ staff, and most recently served as a defensive quality control coach. He had been taking a visible role coaching linebackers, and was a natural candidate for a promotion after Mike Tuiasosopo was let go after just one season.

“It’s been seamless,” Mora said of the transition. “He’s doing a heck of a job on special teams. He’s got great energy and passion and the players really respond to him. He’s an excellent communicator. You guys don’t see it in the meeting room, but when he stands up in front of the team … he just has really great command. Guys tune in to him.

“The most important thing when you stand in front of a room with players is that you have credibility. You can lose it fast. Scotty has credibility with our players.” Continue reading

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UCLA spring camp notes: Nate Starks looks like No. 2 tailback

— One of UCLA’s biggest questions in the past two offseasons surrounded the running back position, which lost all-time leading rusher Johnathan Franklin after 2012.

Paul Perkins answered that in a big way as a redshirt sophomore, becoming the Pac-12’s leading rusher with 1,575 yards (121.15 per game). His presence, as well as that of an entirely intact offensive line, will certainly make it easier for whichever quarterback ends up replacing Brett Hundley this upcoming season.

But who’s looming behind him? After UCLA’s first spring practice in pads, Nate Starks looks like the clear-cut No. 2 running back. As a true freshman in 2014, the Colorado native was fourth on the team with 141 yards — behind Perkins, Hundley and senior Jordon James. He’s picked up where he left off and appears to be the team’s second-best runner now.

While head coach Jim Mora agreed that Starks currently has the inside track on the backup role, he insisted there is still “great competition there.” One player he said has “flashed” through three practices is Craig Lee, a speedy four-star recruit in 2013 who has yet to play a down for the Bruins. Continue reading

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