UCLA camp notes: Defense stands out in Bruins’ live scrimmage

» UCLA’s live scrimmage on Friday evening was its final practice at Cal State San Bernardino. For anyone planning to come out to the Inland Empire on Saturday, the Bruins will be out at 9:15 a.m. for its “Fan Appreciation” event.

Players will sign autographs, and free food will be available from a Stater Bros. trailer.

» The live scrimmage itself was a bit of a mixed bag. The first-team offense and defense combined as the blue team (coached by Taylor Mazzone), facing off against the rest of the Bruins on the white team (Noel Mazzone). But taking into account injuries and some liberal substitution patterns, it wasn’t exactly an accurate simulation of how the two sides stack up.

As expected, the blue team won convincingly, taking the scrimmage 39-16 thanks to a stable ground game and touchdown passes by both Jerry Neuheisel and Josh Rosen — who switched off possessions behind center. 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

Jim Mora: I’d like to name UCLA’s starting QB by next weekend

UCLA might be a week or so away from finally naming its starting quarterback.

“I would like to be able to make that decision next weekend at the latest,” head coach Jim Mora said Friday, after the Bruins’ final practice of training camp at Cal State San Bernardino.

The evening session consisted of a live scrimmage in which true freshman Josh Rosen and redshirt junior Jerry Neuheisel switched turns with the first-team offense. Former walk-on Mike Fafaul took most of the second-team reps.

Mora said that the scrimmage is only part of the overall picture, especially since the quarterbacks weren’t taking contact. However, he said the team would ideally need to know the identity of its starter before it starts game week prep for its Sept. 5 opener against Virginia.

“I would love to be able to make that decision, but to be perfectly frank, we’re not prepared to make that decision yet,” Mora said. “We want to make sure when we do make it, it’s the right decision — that we have conviction about it, that we stick with it.”

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 camp notes: Injured players could return to practice Monday

» Defensive end Takkarist McKinley suffered a head injury during Wednesday morning’s practice and has not dressed or been out on the field since. Offensive lineman Tevita Halalilo is also suffering from a concussion, but head coach Jim Mora said the true freshman is now asymptomatic.

Both could return as soon as Monday, when UCLA will resume practices on campus in Westwood.

The same timeline goes for both left tackle Conor McDermott (knee) and center Jake Brendel (calf), both of whom have been dressed for practice but held out of team drills. Mora said McDermott, who underwent an MRI on Tuesday, could have participated today if necessary.

Receiver Tyler Scott appeared to pull his groin during a one-on-one drill.

» The quarterback competition finally seems to be shrinking down to one that includes just true freshman Josh Rosen and returning backup Jerry Neuheisel. Redshirt junior Mike Fafaul has only taken third-team reps for the last couple of practices. 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

Jim Mora: UCLA is ‘no closer’ to finding a starting quarterback

Don’t expect UCLA to find a starting quarterback anytime soon.

“We are no closer,” head coach Jim Mora said Tuesday evening. “There’s nothing on the horizon in regards to a quarterback decision. I’m waiting to see somebody win the job. And nobody’s won it yet.”

More than halfway through preseason training camp, the Bruins have continued to rotate true freshman Josh Rosen and redshirt juniors Jerry Neuheisel and Mike Fafaul — declining to cut it down to even a two-man competition.

According to Mora, the quarterbacks are being constantly graded on various factors 24 hours a day. He would not say who was currently grading ahead, but insisted that the competition remains very close. 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 camp notes: Bruins continue to run three-quarterback rotation

» At Pac-12 Media Days last month, Jim Mora said he wanted to find a starting quarterback “sooner rather than later.” At the start of training camp this week, he said UCLA would reevaluate the position after five or six practices.

But now, six days and seven practices later, the Bruins’ three-headed rotation is still going strong. During Saturday night’s full-pads session, it was Mike Fafaul who got the bulk of the first-team reps, with some also going to Jerry Neuheisel. Josh Rosen worked with the ones sparingly, but threw a pair of touchdowns.

Asked if at least one could be cut from the race by Monday, quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone held to the status quo.

“All three are doing a great job,” Mazzone said. “They’re having a great camp. I think right now, for the past seven practices, right now we still need to see more from all three of them. … We’re going to keep grinding those guys out, see what they can do.”

Mazzone did allow that if he gets a “gut feeling” about a player, then it would be appropriate to give him a larger share of the reps.

But asked if he had such feelings, he said: “I couldn’t tell you that right now.”

» Myles Jack worked a little bit at returner today, but was held out of essentially the entire second half of practice. 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