Today, the team gets to suit up and go out and play at the Rose Bowl. For a few of our Bruins this will be their first time playing in this iconic stadium first time, some because of past injuries and some because they just enrolled. It is also the first time many of you will get to see this team, either live or on TV, and see last year's #1 recruit, Josh Rosen, run the offense.
How to Watch or Stream:
- Time: 10 AM UCLA Time
- Place: Rose Bowl
- TV: PAC12 HD Network
- Sat 4/25 10:00-11:30am Live
- Sun 4/26 8:00-9:30am
- Sun 4/26 9:00-10:30pm
- Tue 4/28 3:30-5:00pm
- Thu 4/306:00-8:00am
- Streaming: Pac-12 Network
The offense will be returning all of its starters, except for quarterback of course, and will be adding some more speed and strength with several players getting to return to the field after last season's injuries. Among those returning are wide receivers Darren Andrews and Austin Roberts, running back Steven Manfro, and lineman Simon Goines. Two other "new" players to keep an eye on are wide receivers Jordan Lasley and Aaron Sharp (he will be the taller #10). Aaron has moved from QB to receiver this spring and has been getting great reviews - good hands, tall and fast, ability to get open. Lasley was said to have been killing it on the scout team last year, and this year has been making some special catches. You can expect to see Manfro and Roberts in drills, but not in the 11 x 11's. Questionable for today are Eldridge Massington, Alex Van Dyke, and Mossi Johnson. They have been sidelined in recent practices with minor issues. The offense also will have junior college transfer Zach Bateman, who has been playing guard and left tackle. You can hear Zach talk about his experience below.
On defense, the Bruins have two new players, linebacker Josh Woods and defensive back Nate Meadors who just graduated from high school and have enrolled early at UCLA. Also returning to the team after an injury is John Johnson who has been turning heads in practice. There are also a couple other additions to the defense that probably should be mentioned Scott White is the new linebackers coach and Tom Bradley is running the defense. According to interviews and what people have witnessed in practice, the defense, while building on what it did last year, is adding a lot of new schemes, including schemes where they rush five or six guys.
Some fun things you might see: Besides the strong arms of Josh Rosen and Asiantii Woulard, there have been some pretty entertaining battles going on between the DBs and the receivers. With Mossi probably on the sideline today, expect to see a battle between Myles Jack and his new sparring partner, Nate Iese. They have been really going at it, fighting for balls and position, and have each come away victorious at times. Darren Andrew's speed has been giving our DBs some real problems, as he seems to be able to simply out speed his coverage. The first string offensive line has done a great job creating a pocket and opening holes, which Rosen and Craig Lee have been using well. However, the linebacker crew, along with Eddie Vanderdoes and Takkarist McKinley, have at times been able to break through or around the line and create problems for the qbs and running backs. And while Jim Mora has been in complete denial mode about it, in the last three practices, Myles Jack has joined Ishmael Adams returning kicks. Personally, I would hate to take a chance putting Myles back there, especially since Ish has been remarkable, but it should be fun to watch in practice.
The big question, of course, is who will be UCLA's quarterback next year. The PAC-12 Football Weekly crew takes a look at the "battle":
Listening to Josh Rosen in his first post-practice interview, I think battle just might be the wrong word for what is going on:
In case you missed JoeBruin15's Spaulding Report yesterday, you can hear below what the new Bruins have to say about their UCLA experience below. Listening to LB Josh Woods, OL Zach Bateman, and DB Nate Meadors, the common thread seems to be the support the veterans are giving the newbies. It is great to see players supporting each other even as they compete for the same position.
A huge thank you to Edward Lewis and Bruin Sports Report for the use of the videos above.
This will be the first time these Bruins get to suit up and play in the Rose Bowl. It must be a really awesome experience.
A couple pieces that might interest you:
First, SI takes a look at new DC Tom Bradley's transition to UCLA, what he is trying to do for the Bruins, and how difficult the happenings at Penn State were for Bradley. Next, Chris Foster talks to other players about how Josh Rosen isdoing. Ish is feeling challenged when Rosen is passing the ball:
I like the way [he] challenges defensive backs. We'll have the coverage right, but every pass is thrown right to the spot. That challenges receivers too. They have to be there.
Jake Brendel is not concerned about a freshman leading the team:
He really doesn't have an issue with that. Everyone gives respect to everyone on that. If you're on the green, you're out there for a reason. There is a level respect we give him and there is a level of respect he gives back to us.
Nor is Jordan Payton:
He told me the other day, 'I understand the offense more, so you can ask me questions now.' You don't see that a lot from a freshman. It'll be amazing to come back and watch all the things he is going to do. Whether he wins the job now or later, he's going be a phenomenal player.
Last, for a blast from the past, Steelers.com goes in depth with Jordan Zumwalt about his draft day and the days leading up to it. It's a great read, and includes video in which Zumwalt takes you through his feelings and a great Zumwalt UCLA photo gallery.
Okay, here is the bad news. After today there will be way too many days until we get to read reports of practice, see video and photos of our team on the field, or hear from coaches and players. I guess it is college football hibernation time. And just in case you were wondering:
Have a great Saturday, and as always ...