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.”

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 “UCLA spring camp notes: Myles Jack practices at kick returner” »

UCLA spring camp notes: Josh Rosen gets more reps at QB

— UCLA head coach Jim Mora said earlier this week that each practice will focus on two quarterbacks at a time. Thursday’s session had Mike Fafaul working with the first-string offense, and Josh Rosen working with the second-string — which meant an offensive line that is currently using two walk-ons due to injuries.

Rosen had his share of freshman moments in his first extended bit of action, throwing an interception that linebacker Willie Green returned for a touchdown. His footwork looked good and he still clearly has the highest ceiling of all the quarterbacks, but there will be some growing pains along the way. Continue reading “UCLA spring camp notes: Josh Rosen gets more reps at QB” »

JUCO offensive tackle Zach Bateman commits to UCLA

For the first half of this season, UCLA’s offensive line was hurting most on the edges.

The return of Conor McDermott at left tackle has stabilized the unit, but it was an obvious area of need heading into the next recruiting cycle. And on Saturday night, the Bruins added one more future piece in three-star JUCO recruit Zach Bateman.

The 6-foot-7, 320-pound tackle starred for Orange Coast College after becoming an All-Orange Coast League selection at Costa Mesa’s Estancia High. His commitment was first reported by, and he should graduate in time to enroll early.

Bateman’s arrival would give UCLA a chance to test out more offensive line combinations during spring camp. The Bruins would return McDermott and starting right tackle Caleb Benenoch, as well as have a fully healthy Simon Goines — a former 20-game starter at tackle. Current redshirt freshman Poasi Moala would be a factor as well.