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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What does it take to succeed as a true freshman quarterback?

UCLA will likely turn to Josh Rosen this season, making the St. John Bosco product the latest true freshman to start at quarterback. (Scott Varley/Staff)

UCLA will likely turn to Josh Rosen this season, making the St. John Bosco product the latest true freshman to start at quarterback. (Scott Varley/Staff)

Josh Rosen will almost certainly be UCLA’s starting quarterback this season. How successful he’ll be as a true freshman is another question. To try and answer that, I asked a few players who had started games their first year on campus — from Ohio State’s Terrelle Pryor to Penn State’s Christian Hackenberg.

The story is part of our college football preview package, which comes out in magazine form as part of all LANG newspaper editions this Sunday. You can check out some of that content online, including (too early) USC-UCLA predictions and games to watch each week.

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UCLA quarterback Asiantii Woulard decides to transfer out

UCLA quarterback Asiantii during the Bruins' spring practice Spaulding Field on April 15, 2015. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

UCLA quarterback Asiantii during the Bruins’ spring practice Spaulding Field on April 15, 2015. (Hans Gutknecht/Staff)

UCLA quarterback Asiantii Woulard has announced his decision to transfer out, and leaves the Bruins having never taken an in-game snap.

Woulard was a former former-star recruit in 2013, an Elite 11 MVP who looked like he had the potential to become Brett Hundley’s successor. However, the Florida native struggled to absorb the nuances of the position after his first preseason camp at Cal State San Bernardino.

Continue reading

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UCLA spring camp position review: Quarterbacks

UCLA quarterbacks work on drill during spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 23, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

UCLA quarterbacks work on drill during spring football practice at Spaulding Field on April 23, 2015. (Andy Holzman/Staff)

Much has already been made of UCLA’s quarterback situation over the past several weeks. Through 15 practices, the consensus among observers was this: Josh Rosen looks like the Bruins’ best starting option this season.

Jim Mora and the rest of the coaching staff has declined to officially name a starter, which is unsurprising for a two main reasons: it’s not a good look to have a true freshman, however talented, zoom to the top of the depth chart; it might persuade those who lose the competition to think longer and harder before potentially deciding to transfer out.

For those still skeptical, here’s the quick argument for UCLA to start a first-year player at a position where first-year players have historically struggled. Continue reading

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