UCLA camp notes: Jerry Neuheisel takes first-team quarterback reps

Josh Rosen (3) and Jerry Neuheisel (11) listen to UCLA quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone at Cal State San Bernardino on Aug. 12, 2015. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff)

Josh Rosen (3) and Jerry Neuheisel (11) listen to UCLA quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone at Cal State San Bernardino on Aug. 12, 2015. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Staff)

» UCLA still technically has three quarterbacks competing to start, but after three days, it’s clear that Jerry Neuheisel and Josh Rosen are sharing the bulk of meaningful reps. Even when other Bruins have been asked about the race, they’ve usually discussed it purely as a Neuheisel vs. Rosen situation.

Mike Fafaul, who earned a scholarship this summer, got most of his action in seven-on-sevens today.

Neuheisel had his best day yet in training camp, and looks as if he’s taken a couple of steps forward since a relatively uninspiring spring. However, it’s going to take a lot to surpass both what Rosen has shown in practices and the higher ceiling he presents — even if Neuheisel is the one with meaningful game experience.

» A few notes on running backs. Nate Starks looks a bit more explosive than he did even in spring, and is now breaking off long runs at least once per practice.

So far, Bolu Olorunfunmi looks like a guy that could figure into the backfield rotation, though that may not be necessary given the existing depth at tailback. He won’t blow anyone away with highlights right now, but he has enough speed and can lower his shoulder into a defender or two. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn named to Lou Groza watch list

UCLA senior Ka’imi Fairbairn is one of 30 names watch-listed for the Lou Groza Award, given each year to the top kicker in college football.

Fairbairn has been very consistent throughout his career from inside the 35-yard line, having hit 29 straight from that range, but also been scrutinized from his struggles from longer distances. The Hawaiian native is 11 of 22 on career attempts of at least 40 yards.

Semifinalists will be announced on Nov. 5, with threw finalists named on Nov. 23.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

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

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

Ka’imi Fairbairn named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week

UCLA kicker Ka’imi Fairbairn was named Pac-12 Special Teams Player of the Week after making three field goals in the Bruins’ 44-30 win at Washington.

The total tied a career high for the junior, who has been nearly automatic inside of 35 yards but spotty from outside 40. Against the Huskies, however, he nailed a 46-yarder with 8:30 left in the game to give UCLA a three-score lead. His teammates gave him a resounding vote of confidence during the timeout before the attempt.

Fairbairn is the Bruin to earn a Pac-12 Player of the Week honor since Sept. 29, when quarterback Brett Hundley and defensive back/kick returner Ishmael Adams were picked on offense and special teams.

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page

UCLA notes: Graduate transfer Malcolm Bunche moves to starting left tackle

RB Jordon James, right, carries the ball during the UCLA practice at Cal State San Bernardino. Wednesday, August 6, 2014. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Daily Bulletin)"

RB Jordon James, right, carries the ball during the UCLA practice at Cal State San Bernardino. Wednesday, August 6, 2014. (Jennifer Cappuccio Maher/Daily Bulletin)”

» UCLA might have found its new starting left tackle in graduate transfer Malcolm Bunche. Used mostly at guard through spring and the first two days of training camp, the 6-foot-7 lineman moved to the edge on Wednesday with surprisingly good results.

With starting right tackle Conor McDermott (shoulder) held out for the day, sophomore Caleb Benenoch moved from left to right — vacating a spot for Bunche to shift out. Offensive line coach Adrian Klemm said he may keep that formation moving forward.

You can read more about the Bruins’ offensive line situation here.

» Tahaan Goodman has been able to carry over the momentum he generated in spring. The sophomore safety just missed out on a highlight, one-handed interception. Quarterback Jerry Neuheisel had thrown a high ball over the middle, but Goodman jumped up and twisted back and got his right hand on it. Continue reading

Share this post:Tweet about this on TwitterShare on FacebookShare on Google+Share on RedditShare on TumblrShare on LinkedInShare on StumbleUponEmail this to someonePrint this page