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Spaulding Report: Jim Mora Puts QB Rosen On Blast at UCLA Practice

In Wednesday's morning practice, the defense beat up the offense pretty good, and the head coach beat up his star freshman for some lazy effort near the end of practice pretty good, too.

Head Coach Jim Mora lit into his prized freshman QB Josh Rosen this morning
Head Coach Jim Mora lit into his prized freshman QB Josh Rosen this morning
Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

We said it would get hotter in San Bernardino.

It got downright steaming for Josh Rosen today.

After a morning practice that saw the Bruin secondary seemingly catch as many passes as the Bruin receivers, the day ended with Josh Rosen making a lackadaisical effort in a Hail Mary drill, and he got blasted very publicly by his head coach.

Welcome to FBS football, Josh.

It will be interesting to see how Rosen responds.

The good news, if you are looking for some, is that the defensive secondary played great today. This event also reconfirms the sense that Rosen is the starter. This isn't the way a coach treats a backup player, and certainly the one who had the best performance of the day by a long way. This was Mora sending a message that every play of every practice needs to be played at 100%. No more comfort as the best player on the field. No more coasting on talent alone. This was Mora very openly telling Rosen that it's all for real now, and that subpar efforts will not get it done, while at the same time sending a message indirectly to the team that everyone is accountable. Even J Chosen.

Here was the final comment from Mora on the field (HT to Bru82 for the eye witness comment)

"Take control!"

That's a coach telling his starter to start being a leader on the offense.

Let's see who gets 1st team snaps on Thursday.

There was some more straight forward good news this morning when Conor McDermott returned to paractice in full pads this morning, as did Jake Brendel and Alex Redmond, all of whom left practice Monday night with undisclosed injuries.

Left tackle Conor McDermott was back at practice after having an MRI yesterday in Westwood. He was limited to the bike, but should return soon, along with center Jake Brendel, who tweaked his calf. Alex Redmond left Monday's practice as well, but Jim Mora said there was no injury and he was fully participating.

Today's O Line, to give an idea of the two-deep, had Kolton Miller at left tackle, Redmond at center for Brendel, and Fred Ulu-Perry at right guard for Redmond. Kenny Lacy and Caleb Benenoch were in their usual spots.

OC Noel Mazzone met the media afterward and joked that the 8 or so interceptions thrown by the offense put the grey back in the beard he had just dyed. He added that the two-a-days and the SB heat were having an effect as all the quarterbacks were showing a bit of arm fatigue and all the receivers were showing some leg fatigue. He was very complimentary of the receiver corps as a whole, however, and especially the upper classman who are setting a good example for the younger players.

video from Ed Lewis and BSR TV via YouTube

Freshman running back Soso Jamabo spoke afterward about his performance so far in camp. He admitted it has been a huge learning curve and he listed several things he is having to work on, particularly pass blocking and getting his pads down, but he feels like he's starting to catch on, and added that Paul Perkins has been a great leader and Coach Kennedy Polamalu is the best coach he has ever been around. Soso has been on the receiving end of Mora's ire in camp himself but he clearly has the right approach when he said, "It's not about the performer, it's about the performance". He also said that he has learned a lot about maturity following his driving incident this summer along with his struggles at camp so far and that he is working to be smarter and more focused.

video from Ed Lewis and BSR TV via YouTube

I really like this kid. He is saying all the right things and it sounds like he is beginning to understand his position both on and off the field now.  Once he gets the college game to slow down, and he still has a long way to go to get there, he's going to be one smooth performer on the field.

Outside linebacker Deon Hollins talked about some of the changes in the defense under the new DC Tom Bradley. Bruin fans will be thrilled to hear that the defense is bringing more pressure now and bringing it from different spots, too. Hollins said it's a real change from last season and he feels it is going to pay "huge dividends". Yup. DC was a huge upgrade in the off season.

He said he is really looking forward to going up against tackles who aren't Caleb Benenoch and Conor McDermott, saying they are both "of course, NFL guys" and that he thinks that practicing against those two will make the regular season seem easier by comparison.  He was especially complimentary of McDermott calling him the most improved player on the team.

video from Ed Lewis and BSR TV via YouTube

King Leonidas has nothing on this kid. THIS. IS. WESTWOOD!

While Hollins looks to be a breakout star this season at one OLB spot, the opposite side still remains in the air. Kene Orjioke, Cameron Judge, and Aaron Wallace are all getting reps at the position in camp. Our friend Chris Foster at the LAT had a nice capsule on the three players and their path to this point.

Orjioke seemed on track to take an outside spot last season when he suffered a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his knee. The junior has been practicing with a knee brace, which he hopes to be removed at some point. And while he is pushing for a job, he knows not to go too far.

"It comes with taking care of yourself and understanding your limits," Orjioke said. "When the knee feels good, you go. When it doesn't feel good, we got a lot of young guys here that are going to be studs. I send in one of the young guys and they do an amazing job."

Judge, a junior, spent the last two seasons as a middle linebacker, with his playing time primarily on special teams. He was moved to the outside during spring practice.

"I'm feeling pretty comfortable now," Judge said. "In the spring, I was kind of struggling with the plays. I'm having fun out there now, knowing what I'm suppose to do."

Wallace, a senior, is the war horse in the group. He has one start in his career, but has been rotated into the lineup the last two seasons.

"This is my last year of college football, my last year as a Bruin," Wallace said. "I want to make sure I go out doing the best I can. There's a sense of responsibility to be a leader to younger guys. We've got a lot of freshmen and this is their first taste of playing here, and they look up to you."

I think this position battle is really key because I can see teams going away from Hollins and targeting this side in particular, so whomever lands this spot is going to be busy. Set that edge, guys.

There were also video interviews after the morning practice with Marcus Rios here and Jaleel Wadood here. They both spoke about their experience at camp so far and their development in the secondary.

The Bruins evening practice was pretty mellow by comparison, with the team practicing just in helmets and spider pads.

Following on the good play from the secondary this morning, DB Coach Demetrice Martin spoke with the media. Well, not really spoke with, but rather he gave a few direct answers to questions about his personnel. He says he fells "pretty good" about his DBs, adding that freshmen DeShaun Holiday, Colin Samuel, and Nate Meadors are making some "freshmen mistakes" but are "getting better every day". He says Marcus Rios is "in a good place" and that his confidence has really grown.

video from Ed Lewis and BSR TV via YouTube

He did seem pretty pleased with his diving interception from the morning practice. Balls don't hit the ground.

Ed Lewis with Bruin Sports Report Joey Kaufman with The OC Register returned to their Cover Two Recap and broke down all the key points from today's two practices.

video from Ed Lewis and BSR TV via YouTube

Practice on Thursday will be at 11:15am, so go pick up a Double Double Animal (because you can't do that sort of thing in exile!) and take in the lunch hour with U.C.L.A. Football at CSUSB (because you can't of that sort of thing in exile, either!). Keep an eye on our open thread and if you are there, chip in with your thoughts or observations or questions.