When practice ended today, it was about 99 degrees in the desert, so at least it was in double digits for a couple of minutes! The team practiced in shells for the second day and according to Michael Chavez of Bruin Sports Report, they are "firing on all cylinders" and getting a lot of good work done.
According to Joey Kaufman of the O.C. Register, Josh Rosen finally got a lot of time with the one's during the 11-on-11 period, taking all the snaps with the first unit today. We have seen that there is a significant, qualitative difference in quarterback performance depending on the offensive line they get to work behind. After struggling a bit yesterday behind the twos, Rosen took all the first-team reps today. He threw an interception on his first throw (leaping grab by Tahaan Goodman), but according to Kaufman "picked it up after that".
So how did Rosen do?
In 11-on-11s, I had Rosen down as completing 12 of 21 passes with an INT. In 7-on-7s, 4-of-10 passing.— Joey Kaufman (@joeyrkaufman) August 14, 2015
It sounds like Josh had an up and down day and Coach Mora did his best to avoid giving us his evaluation of the freshman's performance today when asked. Mora instead details what he is liking about the other first years he says are impressing him ... Bolu Olorunfunmi, Jamabo Soso, Steven Johnson, Austin Roberts, Fred Ulu-Perry, Tevita Halalilo, Andre James, Keisean Lucier-South, Josh Woods, Nate Meadors, and Octavio Spencer.
Rivals writer, Michael Chavez was impressed however, by Josh today:
While he clearly needs some polishing, he showed a command that I have only seen rivaled by seasoned quarterbacks. And unlike yesterday, when he needed some direction in formations or playcalling, today he provided all the necessary leadership. He stood tall in the pocket even amidst pressure at his feet and threw accurately. He wasn't afraid to challenge the defense deep either and although he did not connect often when he did, Rosen demonstrated the arm strength, accuracy and most importantly the willingness to attack.
Fortunately for whatever quarterback ends up taking snaps in the game, the offensive line has some "synergy", according to Mora. Mora noties that he knows things are working well because Jake Brendel hasn't lost it yet. From Chavez:
As a unit, I don't believe I have seen such a combination of size, power, athleticism and intelligence. The bookends are massive and athletic in Conor McDermott and Caleb Benenoch and the guards are maulers in Kenny Lacy and Alex Redmond. But the key that makes this thing run is center Jake Brendel. He's gotten bigger since last year and smarter, something that has not been lost on his teammates.
They'll also have Paul Perkins. Again from Chavez:
Paul Perkins demonstrated why he is the starting back and the top returning running back in the Pac-12. In 11-on-11 he caught a pass from Rosen and took it up the seam where poor Will Lockett met the Perkins express. Needless to say it was a crunching hit that Lockett lost and the crowd let him know it.
I guess this is what Mora means when he talks about the team practicing "hard, aggressive, fast, violent" and knowing how stay on their feet - for the most part. Mora said that the players are going after it and that he likes these kinds of physical practices with a degree of violence.
The quarterback will also have Nate Iese who had the catch of the day according to several beat writers. I'll let Jack Wang's tweet do the talking:
Seriously, Iese is a beast! And this is seriously the photo of camp so far!
A big thanks to Jack Wang from Inside UCLA for making Coach Mora's interview available:
The defense is something I know we are all looking forward to seeing on the field this year. The depth, experience, strength, and speed of this team under the coaching of Tom Bradley has many of us very excited. The defense sounds just as excited about the improvement they are seeing on the offensive Line.
It was the defense's day to step up to the podium today. Mora talks about the importance of having Kenny Clark in the middle of the line. Kenny talks about his off-season preparation, which included watching a ton of tape to learn all he could. He wants to understand pass rush better and "be able to press the pocket backwards". He loves the competition with Jake Bredel who is the best he's ever gone against - "he's unmatched". Clark loves Coach Bradley and how he's been on the defense this year, getting on them about learning what everyone around them is doing.
Up next is Eddie Vanderdoes who reflects on his "completely healthy off-season". He lost 30 pounds and you can clearly see it, he's so strong and lean. He also talks about how much stronger and bigger Takkarist McKinley, how much more confident the offensive line is - "they believe in their ability now and they're playing really well as a unit".
The bigger, stronger Takk is glad to be in camp this year. He says he still pretty fast and discusses Coach Alosi's approach to getting them ready for camp. He's never done anything like what he is doing now, "he's training us to be ready for the NFL." Now it's just me playing football." Takk now knows the playbook (after coming in during the season last year) and says he didn't really have a chance to learn it until the off-season.
Thank you to Michael Chavez of Bruin Sports Report for the videos of the players.
Not Going Anywhere
As you have probably heard, the Mora family gave a very large donation to the football program today. Mora talked about that today, saying in part, that he has been totally committed to staying at UCLA and that he hopes this donation will help people understand his commitment to staying. He also mentioned that he thinks this should squash whatever stories other schools may be telling recruits about his leaving. Take that deceivers! "I don’t know what more I can do to prove that I’m not leaving." Coach Mora expressed his desire to leave a legacy, that he never worked anywhere long enough to do that, and that he's "hopeful that this can be the place that I do that". I love how he looks directly into the camera when he almost breaks a rule, stopping himself before talking directly to recruits.
There were two new pieces of information today regarding Bruin injuries. Thankfully, they both sound like minor issues that won't keep Ishmael Adams or Steven Manfro out very long, or in Manfro's case, much longer:
Steven experienced a knee injury during the first week of last year's season, tearing his anterior cruciate ligament. He had to avoid contact in Spring and was expected to be cleared to do "all the fun stuff" this summer. But his knee has been bothering him, so he will probably have a "minor surgical procedure". Hopefully he won't have to wait much longer. According to Mora, this surgery won't keep Manfro off the field very long.
Ishmael Adams also "tweaked an ankle" and will be out for a day or two.
We still have no news about Simon Goines, but we do know that Simon was really looking forward to getting back on the field with his team, and it seems today was not a good day:
Today is not my day— Simon Goines (@goines_simon) August 14, 2015
Take care Simon!
Cordell Broadus (personal leave) andCraig Lee (in class) were also not at practice today, and Chris Clark was still on the sideline.
Other good things to watch and/or listen too.
For an inside view of the week, take a listen to BROCast as Tracy Pierson and David Woods discuss what they've seen so far in San Berdoo.
UCLABruins.com has a nice, short video about the progress, chemistry, and experience of the Bruin offensive line. The best part is watching the one on ones with the defensive lineman.
There were also NFL team sightings at camp today. The Eagles, Jets, and Bears, all had representatives there according to twitter reports. And speaking of NFL sightings:
Way to go Brett! In his first series, it looked like it was going to be deja vu for Brett Hundley - a long running play, called back for a holding penalty followed by no one blocking the pass rush around the right edge - for a sack. Fortunately, things got better!
Practice will continue tomorrow at 3 pm. Two-a-days will start on Saturday with practices scheduled for 8:30 am and 5:45 pm. Check out our 2015 Football Camp Preview for the complete schedule and other information.
Enjoy, and as always ...