I was planning on providing a straight recap of this week’s video, but I’m going to start off by discussing today’s elephant in the room.
That, of course, is the report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter that Josh Rosen would consider returning to UCLA for another season if it looked like Cleveland was interested in him.
Browns are giving UCLA QB Josh Rosen pause, as he would prefer to play for the NY Giants, per sources.https://t.co/utbtn5lOel— Adam Schefter (@AdamSchefter) December 24, 2017
Personally, I find this report to be somewhat ridiculous.
The reason is pretty simple. Let’s assume for a moment that it’s true. I would totally understand why Josh wouldn’t want to play for Cleveland. The franchise has gone through 28 different quarterbacks since 1999. Playing quarterback for Cleveland has got to be the worst job in the NFL. I don’t care how much money Jimmy Haslam can pay Rosen. It probably isn’t worth it.
But how realistic is it that Rosen can avoid the Browns if they are interested?
If the Browns are interested and are sufficiently quiet about it, there really isn’t much that Rosen can do about it. Sure, he could pull a John Elway and refuse to sign with the team and threaten to wait a year and re-enter the NFL Draft next season unless he’s traded, but, if the Browns select him in the draft and refuse to trade him, he could have to sit out an entire season and that isn’t very productive for him.
The problem with the report that he could return to UCLA if the Browns are interested is that he has to decide whether or not to enter the draft months before he might know for sure. And, let’s say he decides to stay at UCLA because he thinks the Browns will draft him. What then?
Well, it could be the same situation next year. So, the report really doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.
I’ve said for a long time that I think Josh will return to UCLA next season. That’s due in large part to Jim Mora’s data on how many college starts successful NFL quarterbacks have, which I’m sure Mora has probably shared with Rosen given how close the pair are.
In fact, Mora appeared on The Herd with Colin Cowherd on Wednesday and said that he had an idea as to what Josh will opt to do. Interestingly, he also mentioned that Rosen could potentially graduate in June if he chooses.
Regardless, it should make the next few weeks interesting as the January 15th deadline to enter the 2018 NFL Draft approaches.
With that out of the way, let’s look at what’s been said as the the UCLA Bruins have been prepping to play the Kansas State Wildcats in the Cactus Bowl this Tuesday.
For that, we’ll start off with a rewind back to Tuesday when outgoing Bruin defensive coordinator Tom Bradley spoke with the media. Thanks to Thuc Nhi Nguyen of InsideSoCal.com for all of this week’s videos.
Bradley spoke a little bit about some of the adjustments they’ve had to make coaching-wise due to the fact that Coaches White and Martin are no longer with the team, but seemed confident in what the graduate assistants can do. He also spoke about the type of team that Kansas State is.
“They're a big, strong, physical football team,” Bradley said. “They're well-coached. They’re not gonna beat themselves. You're gonna have to beat them.”
Senior linebacker Kenny Young spoke about how the break has helped his body recover as well as the fact that he’s playing in his 42nd game and how that’s ironic. He also mentioned that he has spoken with Coach White since his departure.
Adarius Pickett said that his focus is on winning the Cactus Bowl. He sounded like a guy who just rolls with things and understands that there are things he doesn’t need to worry about with respect to the coaching change.
“It helps when the young guys know what they’re doing,” Pickett said, referring to how the defense has developed and improved over the season and the last three games in particular.
On Wednesday, Josh Rosen met with the media and made it known that he wants to play. Of course, there are multiple reports that he will not be cleared medically to play after suffering another concussion in the game against UC Berkeley, but that didn’t stop him from expressing his desire to play.
He also spoke about new UCLA coach Chip Kelly.
“I love Coach Kelly,” Rosen said. “Hopefully, he can do well with this program in the years to come.”
“Coach Kelly is very forward-thinking in everything he does...and how to get the smallest of an edge.”
One guy who has played well in his last few games is Jordan Lasley. “It’s been really special,” Lasley said. “I was gone for four game and I see what I could have done.”
Lasley mentioned that the hiring of Chip Kelly will impact his decision on whether or not to enter the NFL Draft a lot.
Kolton Miller offered his thoughts on the hiring of Chip Kelly and spoke about what he has learned from offensive line coach Hank Fraley this year.
“I feel like I’ve learned a lot more about defenses this year,” Miller said.
After Thursday’s practice only Jedd Fisch met with the media. He spoke about Jordan Lasley and his back-to-back 200-yard games.
“I hope we can get that third one....I don’t think I’ve ever seen three 200-yard games in a season, let alone back-to-back-to-back,” Fisch said. “He’s had a great intensity.”
He was asked about whether he gives advice to guys who are looking to make a decision about whether they should leave early. He said that he’s offered his thoughts to anyone who’s asked because he’s coached in the NFL and can provide helpful insight.
The team flew to Phoenix on Friday and Saturday was the Cactus Bowl Media Day. During his interview, Coach Fisch was asked about the coaching transition.
“The players have been amazing [through the coaching transition],” Fisch said.
He also spoke about the trend of players to skip bowl games.
I think everybody should play in a bowl game. It’s a football game. It's a chance to win a championship. Every chance you have to win, you should try to win. The more wins you have, the better your resume is. You know, regardless, you know, so keep trying to win. Keep building your resume. Keep...I mean...I can't imagine...you know...sitting out a game...sitting out a playoff game...sitting on out anything. I mean, in my mind, this is a championship game. This is your final game. This is your Super Bowl. Why would you not play? Could you imagine somebody asking a guy in the Super Bowl, “Do you want to play in this or sit it out in case you get a better contract next year?” You know, you play in it. So, that's our mindset. We expect every single one of our players to play in it and they are.
KansasCity.com reports that, during his media session, Coach Fisch was asked what it will be like coaching against Bill Snyder. Fisch responded with that sense of humor that Bruin fans have gotten to know over the course of this season.
“I looked it up last night, and he has been a head coach for 320 games and this is my second,” Fisch said. “I have a better win percentage. I noticed that. But he is an icon. He is an icon in this industry. He is an icon in football and anybody that knows college football respects everything that Coach Snyder has done.”
Fisch continued, “It is one of those moments where you want to make sure you get a picture with [Snyder] before the game, because when you are coaching against the guys that are on the Mount Rushmore of college coaches you want to make sure that you can celebrate all of their successes.”
These are just a few more reasons to like Jedd Fisch.
In the video from Thuc Nhi, Rosen talks about wanting to play in the Cactus Bowl, but acknowledges that it’s out of his hands and in the hands of the doctors.
But, the most interesting statement from Rosen was shared in a tweet from WIBW-TV Sports Director Chris Lilly. In the video that Lilly tweeted, Rosen spoke about how running backs take a beating and that may be a reason why Christian McCaffrey, Leonard Fournette and others may opt to skip a bowl game. Rosen emphasized that he plays a “not-as-physical position” and that people need to understand the full circumstances and the “entirety of the situation” rather than “lumping them altogether as the ‘selfish college football player.’”
Today UCLA QB Josh Rosen said he would look at the NFL after the bowl game and when asked about what makes him want to play in the @Cactus_Bowl when other high profile players have skipped bowl games... he had this great answer. #UCLA #CactusBowl pic.twitter.com/fArs2leCix— Chris Lilly (@wibwChrisLilly) December 24, 2017
I’m going to close out this article by sharing a few tweets from UCLA Football, UCLA Athletics and the Cactus Bowl. That’s because this morning, the Bruins spread some Christmas cheer with the Muscular Dystrophy Association and deserving kids from the Phoenix area.
And, finally, we would be remiss if we didn’t share one final tweet which includes pictures of the team at the hotel. Apparently, it looks like Coach Fisch, his wife Amber, Josh Rosen and quite a few players might actually be having an ugly holiday sweater contest there.
Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays from all of us at Bruins Nation!