Already this season the unthinkable happened for UCLA—Josh Rosen, doing the best with his natural gifts for a struggling offense, was lost for the season. Mike Fafaul, getting not much help from his supporting cast, is winless in games as a starter and in games with any meaningful playing time. But what if something happens to Mike Fafaul?
"We’ve already prepared for that, we’ve been practicing it," Kennedy Polamalu said. "When the time calls for it, then we’ll be ready for it."
Polamalu said the coaching staff wouldn’t burn Devon Modster’s redshirt for just a couple of plays, but use some mystery backup, probably a player not even on the QB depth chart.
"We’ve had probably dozens of snaps with him in practice," Polamalu said.
Modster is the clear second string to Fafaul, Polamalu indicated, but they wouldn’t use him unless a Fafaul injury would cause him to miss significant game time. Modster, a true freshman from Mission Viejo, was rated as a 4-star QB recruit by ESPN, Scout, and Rivals.
"He’s getting all the reps and Coach Tui has worked with him, and he’s getting the back up reps in practice," Polamalu said. "You can never say Lynch is out of it. I don’t think any kid is out of it. We just want a competitive environment, but right now for sake he’s getting most of the reps."
Is It Theo Time Yet?
Receivers coach Eric Yarber said we could expect more Theo Howard for the remaining games of the season, but we’ve heard that before.
"He should see a lot of time this week," Yarber said. "Just like all the guys, they dictate their playing time in practice, and validate it in the games. He’s had two good weeks of practice, the game plan has tightened down a little bit, so we feel good about putting him out there."
With Kenny Walker out last week after taking a hit to the head against Utah, Jordan Lasley saw more action against Colorado. Yarber said he’s seen a tremendous amount of growth in the redshirt sophomore during his second year of playing for the Bruins.
"He’s trusting the process, he’s not just trying to get a win at all costs," Yarber said. "He’s doing extra studying, lifting the guys up in practice, playing hard, making plays, doing all the things that I wanted him to do at a young age, he’s starting to do it now, and I’ve seen a lot of growth out of him."
Trick Plays, or the Lack Thereof
The offense has stunk this year, rather unequivocally, so you’d think the play caller might try a few tricks, a bit of a misdirection, say, to steal away a big play or two. But nary such dexterity has been seen out of the Bruin offense this year.
"We’ve had it in the game plan, just like anything else we have it in game plan," Polamalu said. "We just haven’t had an opportunity to really execute, we’re trying to do the little things right now."
Polamalu did cite a screen to the tight end against Utah, and the jet sweep to Darren Andrews that went for a touchdown against Arizona, though I wouldn’t call a jet sweep a "trick play" or even misdirection, per se.
"It’s in our game plan to try to change up the force defender," Polamalu said. "What I always tell ‘em is if that force defender is undisciplined, we’re going to attack it."
Check out more from defensive coordinator Tom Bradley, offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu, and recievers coach Eric Yarber below. Videos are courtesy of Thuc Nhi Nguyen of the LA Daily News.
DC Tom Bradley:
OC Kennedy Polamalu:
WR coach Eric Yarber: