Jim Mora: UCLA could use multiple quarterbacks for three games

For a moment, he teetered on the verge of divulging some real information.

Asked today if there’s a timeline on UCLA’s quarterback competition, head coach Jim Mora said: “Well, you know, the sooner the better, once we get to fall camp.”

After insisting for the past few weeks that no one will no the starter until the season-opening kickoff against Virginia, that felt for a moment like a softened stance.

Then he remembered that he was doing a conference call in late April, and that telling anyone whether the Bruins will start Josh Rosen or Jerry Neuheisel or Asiantii Woulard or Mike Fafaul serves the Bruins themselves little purpose.

“But it’s not something that we’re going to push,” Mora continued. “We want it to just happen the way it’s supposed to happen. Heck, we might go three games and not know who our starter is. … We might give each of them a quarter in each game. We don’t know yet.”

Welcome to the offseason.

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UCLA spring camp 2015 roundup

UCLA quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone, center, grappling with what he's seeing in the Bruins' Spring Showcase on April 24, 2015. (Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

UCLA quarterbacks coach Taylor Mazzone, center, grappling with what he’s seeing in the Bruins’ Spring Showcase at the Rose Bowl on April 24, 2015.
(Photo by Keith Birmingham/ Pasadena Star-News)

In today’s edition of Los Angeles News Group papers, I covered a few of the things we did and didn’t learn about the UCLA football team through 15 spring practices.

If you missed anything else that happened this month, here’s a recap.

» Storylines
Those who know Bill Roth say UCLA couldn’t have gotten a better play-by-play announcer
— UCLA ends spring without naming a starting quarterback, but Josh Rosen looks like the frontrunner
— Spring Showcase gives fans a glimpse at the Bruins’ new faces
— After enrolling early, Josh Rosen is adjusting quickly to life at UCLA
Deon Hollins is aiming to be UCLA’s next great linebacker Continue reading

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Jim Mora: UCLA no closer to naming a starting quarterback

» UCLA head coach Jim Mora talked after UCLA’s final spring practice on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, and immediately quashed the biggest question of the Bruins’ offseason: Who will be the new starting quarterback?

“I don’t think we’re any closer to a decision than we were when we started spring,” he said, with more or less a straight face. And he isn’t planning to name one until the season-opening kickoff against Virginia on Sept. 5.

Regardless of what happened through four weeks of spring practice, the coaching staff has consistently insisted that no hierarchy has emerged among the four candidates vying to be Brett Hundley’s successor. On Saturday at the Rose Bowl, all four got 11-on-11 reps. Jerry Neuheisel and Josh Rosen ran with the first-string, while Asiantii Woulard and Mike Fafaul got their chances with the second string.

Rosen subbed in for 11-on-11s more than an hour into practice, and completed his first five passes. His sixth was a nice-looking 35-yard pass to Logan Sweet, but cornerback Marcus Rios reached over and tipped it away at the last second. He eventually finished 13 of 17 with two touchdowns and an interception on the day, with the pick going to Johnny Johnson.

As has been the case at times this spring, Rosen didn’t look as sharp during seven-on-sevens. He missed a couple of back-to-back swing passes to Paul Perkins, one thrown slightly too far ahead and the other thrown too low.

» Instead of running a real, live scrimmage like it did last spring at the StubHub Center, UCLA opted for what was essentially a regular practice. When Mora announced that decision to the team on Monday, not everyone was excited. Continue reading

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VIDEO: Offensive lineman Zach Bateman on his transition to UCLA

Offensive lineman Zach Bateman is one of the new faces at UCLA this spring, and the transition hasn’t gone as smoothly as he’d hoped.

The JUCO transfer from Orange Coast College enrolled in January hoping to win a starting spot at left tackle. Through 14 spring practices, however, he’s been moving to different spots on the second-string line.

The 6-foot-7, 320-pound Bateman spent the first week or two of camp at guard, a position that was completely new to him. He’s since practiced more as a tackle, but said that the initial move didn’t help ease his learning process.

“From a left tackle point of view, I’ve got a fast end and I’m taking a step back, versus having a 330-pound lineman straight in my face (as a guard),” he said. “The stance is completely different. I was playing out of a three-point, versus out of a two-point. For someone that isn’t a lineman, those don’t sound like those are major differences, but it really is.”

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