It has been a fun week for UCLA football. For starters we got three big commitments for 2015. First, 3 / 4* athlete Stephon Johnson and 4 star OT Andre James pulled out the UCLA gear at The Opening, and yesterday 3 / 4* OL Fred Ulu-Perry who impressed big time at The Opening committed. Rivals now has us ranked #17 and Scout #11 for the 2015 football year and according to Scout's David Woods (free content), UCLA now has the highest average star ranking. We also heard this week about more Bruins making pre-season watch lists, and continue to get praise for our coaches and players. Momentum is definitely building and with just 23 days to go until training camp and 49 days to our first game, here are some appetizers to keep the anticipation building.
- First, for those of you looking for a nice place to live in the Pacific North-West, the Mora's have put their house up for sale, and man is it beautiful! Word has it they have also moved into the home they have been building in Manhattan Beach, putting words into action and roots in the beautiful southern California soil.
- UCLA football practice drones seem to be catching on. After UCLA football used one last year, other teams are thinking of incorporating them. Ken Norris, UCLA's director of video operations was the first to use one and get to fly an unmanned aircraft over a football team. The article, from the Wall Street Journal also has a kind of weird and possibly disturbing cartoon of our football team practicing under a drone. The drone the team uses was sent by a donor after Mora "floated the idea" with the press. According to Norris the drone helps the coaches get much better views of the little things: "only a drone sitting about 15 feet above the field let coaches observe little things, such as a lineman's footwork and hand placement, that would have been impossible to see otherwise. You really can't be on top of the action like you can with a drone".
- NFL.com has a nice article on 5* QB commit Josh Rosen and how he left tennis to give all of his attention to football. According to the article, Josh was a rising and highly ranked southern California tennis star until he hurt his shoulder. At The Opening, Josh told CFB 24/7: "I was rehabbing for a long time and realized at that time it kind of wasn't a sport I really loved, I had to get surgery or quit the sport and after eight months of rehab going back and forth, I didn't know if I loved the game as much as I did before...I ended up moving to football full-time and it's worked out pretty well." While U.S. tennis fans hearts may be broken by his decision, UCLA football fans welcome him with open arms.
- Josh Rosen is also getting some love for his performance at The Opening. According to 24/7 Sports, Josh was chosen as the "Alpha Dog" for his 7 on 7 team. Kevin Ryan said Josh played "lights out" and "showed good accuracy and arm strength". Patrick Schmidt at SI.com, calls Josh "one of the best quarterback prospects to enter the college game in some time". He also praises his arm strength and touch on the ball. Ryan Bartow (247Sports) called Rosen the "best quarterback recruit for UCLA since Troy Aikman." The Si and Bartow links have video of Rosen in action which you might want to take a look at. And while it is way too early to know what kind of QB Josh will be for our Bruins, this sure is fun and promising news.
- And as for our current quarterback, NBC Sport's Rotoworld, has an excellent in depth look at Brett Hundley through the eyes of NFL scouts. According to the writer, Hundley will benefit from the NFL's turn towards more athletic quarterbacks in recent years. On the other hand, it points out that UCLA's approach to getting rid of the ball quickly might hurt Hundley, as scouts have had little chance as yet to see how he handles the pocket. "In Jim Mora's offense, Hundley appeared to be encouraged to get rid of the football quickly to receivers outside. He rarely had to hold the ball in the pocket while elaborate deep routes developed down the field. Various screens, curl routes and quick out routes helped Hundley attack the underneath of the opponent's coverage on a weekly basis...Because he gets rid of the ball quickly and opposing defenses are generally more concerned with the offense's rushing ability as a whole, Hundley doesn't regularly have to manage the pocket. This is something that should change entering his third season, so when Hundley is asked to manage the pocket and make throws under pressure from between the tackles, he needs to be more consistent than he was in 2013." The article also looks at Hundley's footwork, poise under pressure, arm strength and other areas where Brett is improving. The article is so thorough and so well diagramed that I was sure our own IEAngel wrote it. I was mistaken. On a personal note, I did see Brett and Eldridge Massington working out together at an undisclosed location in L.A. Needless to say I wished them both well in this coming season!
So those are you Bruin Bites for this Saturday and here is a little something from ucla.com to get you ready for training camp: