UCLA spring camp notes: Bruins wrap up last day at Spaulding Field

» For someone who has yet to play a down at UCLA, Asiantii Woulard’s career as a Bruin has seen its share of ups and downs. He committed late to the Bruins in the 2013 cycle, reputed to be a talented athlete but raw passer. Then, he opened eyes during the first week of preseason camp, making himself look like an underrecruited gem. And then, he faded — eventually hitting a wall that kept him from even being a backup last season.

So he deserves some credit for making a bit of noise this spring. Woulard had a rough start to spring camp, a stretch of the quarterback competition that was seized early by the precocious Josh Rosen. But halfway through, he finally broke out — completing what Jim Mora later called the best Woulard had looked in a UCLA jersey. (It’s worth mentioning that, on that day, Rosen still looked the best of the four quarterbacks.)

Since then, the 6-foot-3 quarterback has put together a decent — albeit still uneven — finish to his spring. Thursday’s morning practice was a microcosm of that. During 11-on-11s, Woulard made the best throw of the day by any UCLA passer: a bomb to Kenny Walker on a go route that he placed perfectly beyond cornerback Fabian Moreau. But a few minutes later, Woulard threw into the flat for what would have been a bad pick — had Johnny Johnson not let it bounce off his hands. Overall, however, the former four-star recruit is definitely trending up.

Taking into consideration everything that’s happened this spring, Josh Rosen still looks like the best choice to start at quarterback. Continue reading

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UCLA spring camp notes: Myles Jack practices at kick returner

» Myles Jack worked a bit as a returner on Monday, and yeah — it’d be a ton of fun to watch the linebacker toss his 6-foot-1, 231-pound frame around on special teams in a real game. Don’t hold your breath, though.

“If he’s doing that, he’s just messing around,” said head coach Jim Mora, who expressed surprise that Jack had been returning kicks. “Myles has to be moving out there. So if there’s a drill he’s not involved in, he just goes and gets involved. I didn’t even know he was taking reps back there. He’s not on the depth chart as a kick returner.”

And given UCLA’s depth there, putting Jack at further risk of injury seems foolhardy — no matter how thrilling the potential highlights.

In addition to No. 1 returner Ishmael Adams, the current rotation on kick and punt returns includes safety Jaleel Wadood, receiver Jordan Lasley, receiver Devin Fuller, running back Craig Lee, receiver Kenneth Walker, safety Randall Goforth and receiver Aaron Sharp.

» Not much has changed in the ongoing quarterback race. Josh Rosen, Jerry Neuheisel, Asiantii Woualrd and Mike Fafaul each took a share of reps today, and none of them did anything that seriously upset the perceived pecking order behind center. Continue reading

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UCLA spring camp notes: Myles Jack moves to inside linebacker

UCLA started spring camp today, and while the starting quarterback race is still in its very early stages, but here are some other developments from this morning session.

— Myles Jack will be working a lot at inside linebacker this spring, although head coach Jim Mora said the junior will get reps outside as well. It’s a significant move for the UCLA defense, but not one that’s overly surprising given Jack’s skill set.

For all his talents, the 6-foot-1 linebacker has never been the most dangerous pass rusher. On the other hand, he matches up well in coverage even against some top receivers, and is so versatile moving sideline to sideline. The stats bear this out: he only has one sack in two season, but has 18 pass breakups in that same period.

No other Pac-12 linebacker can match that statistic in that same span. Second place goes to USC’s Hayes Pullard, who had 14.

“It gets him to the middle of the field where we can utilize his speed and things like that,” Mora said of Jack’s move. “If there was a disadvantage — some of the things he does on the outside puts him in man-to-man coverage situations. He’s a little less involved with that when he’s in the middle of the defense.”

Deon Hollins and Aaron Wallace are playing outside now, while sophomore Kenny Young is next to Jack.

Jack was also responsible for one of the session’s most notable plays. During one-on-one drills, he got tangled up with receiver Mossi Johnson on a contested ball. Both came down with at least one hand wrapped around the pass, and essentially wrestled each other for 15-20 seconds before Jack came up with it.

— Other position changes: offensive lineman Colby Cyburt is switching to tight end; offensive guard NaJee Toran is moving to the defensive line; linebacker Dwight Williams is moving to safety.

— Randall Goforth is back in a non-contact red jersey after undergoing surgeries on both shoulders. He’s getting a waiver for 2014 — a season that only saw him play two games — and will be a redshirt junior this upcoming season. Continue reading

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