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Spaulding Report: A First Look at UCLA Football's Josh Rosen and DC Tom Bradley

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Today was day two of spring football from Spaulding Field. Here are some news, notes and video from today's practice, including interviews with Tom Bradley, Myles Jack, Jerry Neuheisel, and Nate Starks.

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Today was day two of spring practice on a beautiful sunny southern California day.  It was Josh Rosen's first chance to run the offense.  As gbruin reported, two quarterbacks a day are being given a full experience.  Tuesday, Jerry Neuheisel and Asiantii Woulard ran the team in 11 on 11 and 7 on 7 drills.  Today Mike Fafaul and Josh Rosen had their turn.  As one beat reporter standing near me said, now we get to see what Rosen can do.  Well unfortunately we didn't really get to see what Rosen could do as he was playing behind a second string O-Line which today had a lot of problems.

While the offense is deep at skilled positions, the second string of the o-line needs a lot of work. With Rosen under (or more accurately behind) center, the line gave him very few chances to do anything with the ball. On at least three plays, the ball was snapped on the ground and on several more, the defense broke through the line immediately after the ball was snapped. Josh was very poised and saved the play each time, sometimes getting a quick pass off, sometimes running with the ball as he zigzagged through the line. So while we didn't get to see Josh throw much in a game type of situation, we did get to see how he handled a broken play and a broken line and I think IE would give him an A for how he handled it today. I am hoping that in his next outing, he will get to play with the ones.

There is a lot of new talent out there and some old-timers who seem to have returned much improved. Jordan Lasley, Darren Andrews, and Austin Roberts are clearly very talented and have made some really nice catches and Lasley clearly beat Jordan Payton in today's unofficial dance contest while waiting for their turns to go out for a pass. However, I have been most impressed with the catches and speed Devin Fuller has shown. On Tuesday, he made an amazing one handed catch, totally stretched out, on a long sidelines route. Today, he made two more incredible receptions, both again on long passes. All the receivers (be they running backs or receivers) are really making some nice catches out there, and after a few drops first thing Tuesday, they have been strong and consistent. Speaking of strong, Alex Van Dyke has clearly been in the training room and has added much needed bulk to his legs and body.

While Rosen has yet to get quality time behind center, in the drills and with smaller groups, he has made some beautiful throws. On Tuesday, Thomas Duarte was running a deep route up the middle, had one step on his man, and the ball just sailed into his lap, Duarte in stride, barely having to turn his head to get it. Josh threw a couple more like that today, one beauty to the deep corner of the end zone (I couldn't see who caught it), and another long ball to Eldridge Massington. Again, the ball was perfectly thrown, just falling into his lap in full stride. Josh's passing is sharp, right on the money, and he throws it deep, seemingly without effort. We know what Jerry can do, but we also got a chance on Tuesday to watch Asiantii run the offense. Woulard looked in command on offense, shifting players around and making some really nice throws down field. He actually seemed more accurate in game situations than he does in drills. And remember that pass I described to Duarte?  Woulard threw the same beautiful pass, falling in Duarte's lap in stride.

A few other notes before we get to the press conferences. Mossi Johnson is just great. He's fast, strong, catches anything and seems to be having fun wrestling Myles Jack for the ball. Myles is practicing with the defensive backs a lot, working on dropping back in coverage, and seems to be teamed up with Mossi quite regularly. On Tuesday, Mossi caught one deep, Jack came down with him and the ball, and the two wrestled for it with a great deal of passion, until Myles emerged victorious. Jack also seems to be the vocal leader on the defense and is supporting the new young qb, jumping up and patting him on the head Tuesday after Josh threw some beauties. Nate Meadors, a early enrollee from the Inland Empire, got some playing time today with the one's at DB. I really like this young man and was glad to see him out there.

Today, there was a lot of work on fundamentals, blocking, getting around blocks, running low. A good deal of time was spent at the beginning of practice, lining up groups of guys to see how well they could get around their man and down the field in kicking situations. The speedsters were doing it on one field, all the other players on the other. I guess today was the first day of special teams try-outs. The quarterbacks were also working on throwing over players, warming up throwing over a net and throwing over the tallest trainer out there in passing/receiving drills. I imagine this was in response to the two or three passes I saw get blocked on Tuesday. Speaking of fundamentals, there were a lot of push-ups happening out there, especially by the linebackers and defensive backs.

Okay, now on to the press conferences.

This is the first time we've gotten to hear from new Defensive Coordinator Tom Bradley. Bradley was asked a lot of questions about Myles Jack and how the scheme would change. He said the defensive scheme would be flexible and that rather than changing up what UCLA has been doing he wants to add on. He said Myles has all the tools he needs, just needs to work hard to be great. Bradley wants to get Myles in the middle and have him go after the ball.

As for the opportunity to coach at UCLA, Bradley said he is now in an enviable position at a great university and with a program that does things the right way. He said a lot of the decision to come to UCLA had to do with the kind of person Jim Mora is and the attitude of the players and the coaches.  Bradley said the players practice like they want to be national champions. He followed a group of players around campus one day and noticed how much fun they were having with each other and also saw that they had a purpose. As for choosing players, Bradley says he has come in with no perceived ideas about the defensive players. He has been watching film without other coaches so that he can see things for himself. He wants to operate from a clean slate.  Bradley says good things happen when you take care of the little things and hustle. As for recruiting, Bradley is going to be able to go back east and recruit and he says UCLA should be easy to recruit for, with the academics, the community, and the weather (although he did mention the 405 and traffic twice). Bradley didn't answer the questions when asked about how much the Sandusky scandal came up in his interviews. Instead he said "I think all those questions have been answered years ago" and that he is here to help UCLA be great.

Here is the full interview care of Ed Lewis of Bruin Sports Report:

Video courtesy of Ed Lewis, Bruin Sports Report.

Myles Jack was also interviewed and talks about the respect Tom Bradley garners as the new defensive coordinator. Jack compares Bradley to Yoda, he's quiet, sits back and when he speaks it really means something. Myles likes the way he talks, the way he cares, and the wisdom he brings. Myles is impressed with the linebackers Bradley has helped turn out. Jack also talks about the fun he is having going up against Mossi and says that while Mossi got the best of him today, he'll get him back on Saturday. Myles is enjoying being in the middle where he gets a little more space and gets to run and hit. He is going to watch a lot of EK's film. Jack says his goal this year is to work on the mental part of the game and on knowing the whole defense and what everyone is doing.

Video courtesy of Ed Lewis, Bruin Sports Report.

Jerry Neuheisel is looking forward to the chance to be the guy this year and jokes about having one good throw in the Texas game.  Jerry says he worked on everything this year. As for the competition, the wisdom of J. Neuheisel shows through when he says that it's not about being better than someone else, it's about being the best you. On life without Brett: "I get a lot more reps". The job of the quarterback is to get first downs, not to get stuck like they did sometimes last year.

Video courtesy of Ed Lewis, Bruin Sports Report.

Running back Nate Starks is looking faster this year and talks about how he worked with Coach Alosi to get stronger and faster. Nate too is working on learning what is happening in all aspects of the offense, his strength and vision, and is grateful for the opportunity to learn from and with Paul Perkins.

Thank you to Edward Lewis of ucla.rivals.com for all the video!

The next practice will be held this Saturday at 9:30 a.m. UCLA Time. If you would like to meet up before practice for breakfast, we will be at Headlines! at 8. We also have a spring roster available here.

Enjoy the day, and as always...

Go Bruins!