Much has been made of UCLA starting a true freshman quarterback in Josh Rosen, something that had loomed as the biggest question of the Bruins’ offseason.
Rosen has looked more than capable through his first two games, throwing for 574 yards, four touchdowns and an interception. According to Mora, the five-star recruit out of Bellflower St. John Bosco is in a much better situation than he might be in three or four years from now.
“It’s much more difficult to play in the NFL,” Mora said. “I think that anyone that has been in both leagues understands that the NFL is a different animal. The level of play is so much higher than we have here at the college level. I don’t even think it’s close. I think it’s much easier to start as a freshman in college than (as a rookie) in the NFL.”
Mora was the defensive backs coach in San Diego when the Chargers started Billy Joe Tolliver for five games in 1989. The second-round draft pick took the No. 1 job midway through Jim McMahon’s disappointing season, and completed 89 of his 185 passes as a rookie for 1,097 yards, five touchdowns, and eight interceptions.
The next year, rookie John Friesz started the regular-season finale for the Chargers, recording 98 yards, a touchdown and a pick on 50 percent passing in a 17-12 loss to the Oakland Raiders. The sixth-round draft pick became a full-time starter in 1991, Mora’s last year on the San Diego staff.