UCLA held another practice Friday morning, which was notable specifically because it was the first practice in full pads. For me, full pad practices means we’re closer than ever to the start of the actual season, but it also increases the chances of injuries. So, let’s get into this practice.
The biggest non-pads development of the practice is the offense’s continued development. Gone are the days of "5 plays on the napkin", but, at the same time, the offense that’s been seen in practice really has eluded the definition of "pro-style". For example, in today’s practice, we saw an actual quarterback rollout. I’ve heard tales that this could exist in an offense, but I did not truly believe until this day. Actually, let’s go to Thuc Nhi Nguyen at Inside SoCal for details on this rarest of offensive plays:
In a team period, Rosen found Cameron Griffin on a short throw and Griffin turned up field for a long touchdown.
Ladies and gentlemen, a quarterback at the University of California, Los Angeles performed a designed roll-out and threw a pass to a fullback, and the play went for a touchdown. These are truly exciting times we live in.
Let’s keep talking about the offense while we’re here, because one of the more surprising developments this fall has been the backup quarterback competition. The popular theory going into the fall was that incoming true freshman Devon Modster would take over the backup role at some point and, while that still may happen, more impressive has been the play of Mike Fafaul. Fafaul has really taken to the new offense quickly and is starting to ease some worry about the backup QB job (let’s still be fair here: there still remains an obvious drop-off from Rosen to any of the backups). Again, I’ll turn it over to Thuc Nhi Nguyen:
Mike Fafaul had another good day. He threw a nice pass to Jordan Lasley for a long completion near the sideline in a team period then later hooked up with Alex Van Dyke for a nice completion on an out route. Except for an underwhelming Monday practice, I’ve been impressed with Fafaul so far, even though he did throw an interception to Charles Dawson today also.
Also of note this practice was the presence of five-star defensive back Darnay Holmes. Holmes has been considered a long-time UCLA lean, and his continued presence at UCLA practices has to be considered a good sign going forward (h/t Edward Lewis).
Alright, let’s get into some interviews. Thanks to Edward Lewis at Bruin Sports Report for the videos of Coach Tuiasosopo and Poasi Moala and Thuc Nhi Nguyen at Inside SoCal for the video of Kolton Miller.
UCLA Quarterbacks Coach Marques Tuiasosopo took time after practice to discuss the state of UCLA’s backup QB situation. Obviously, Coach Tui also talks about this other quarterback named Josh Rosen a bit as well.
Poasi Moala currently has the right guard spot on the offensive line, and now gets some interview time. Moala took some time to talk about line unity, and also that sweet haircut (second behind Eddie personally).
Kolton Miller was very close to being the starting left tackle this year before Connor McDermott announced his return. Thus, "mini Connor" gets to be at right tackle, and UCLA gets two really good first-string tackles. Kolton does talk about offseason conditioning as well.
Saturday is the last day of practice in Westwood and Bruins Nation will be there (that is, Joe will be at practice and will be providing some first-hand reporting and pictures through the weekend). The first practice at 8:30 AM will be a normal practice, while the second practice at 3:30 PM is being called a "fan appreciation practice". It's supposed to feature a limited-contact scrimmage and will be followed by an autograph session.
Finally, just for laughs, let’s check in on former USC quarterback Cody Kessler in his first NFL preseason game.
Kessler pulled an orlovsky!!! pic.twitter.com/Vdk5iEJgGd— Ian Kenyon (@IanKenyonNFL) August 13, 2016
I guess while you can take the player out of USC, you can’t take the USC out of the player.