The number one question coming out of just about any school’s spring camp is: Who is the quarterback? Well, I don’t think it’s any question that Josh Rosen will once again be at the helm. I’m sure we’ll hear the same song and dance that “the competition is wide open” and “we’re looking at all options”, but come on, it’s Rosen.
Before we go any further, I think we need to acknowledge that we did lose a quarterback to graduation, Mike Fafaul. This guy was thrown to the wolves without proper development and played the final seven games of the season. He wound up 1-6, but, because our offensive line was so bad last year and couldn’t open holes to save their lives, Fafaul threw for 464 yards vs. Utah (3rd on the all-time school list) and set school records for most pass completions (40) and most passing attempts in a game (70) against Utah. While the season definitely didn’t go the way we all planned, that was all on the coaches and Fafaul deserves credit for his industriousness and perseverance.
There are plenty of question for UCLA offensively this Spring. The biggest lingering question at this point is: What is Rosen’s status after his surgery in October? But other questions include: Are we going back to the offense that Rosen was recruited for? Are we going with the multiple scheme offense that no one had a label for that also wasn’t very successful? Are we going to utilize a completely different scheme altogether?
While Rosen did play in six games last year, I can’t say I was totally impressed with his body of work, but I’m going to blame a new offensive scheme that pretty much killed both the passing AND the running game. While the reports since Rosen’s surgery have been positive, it will be interesting to see him brush the dust off during spring practices. He will also be on his third offensive coordinator, which makes me wince, but, hopefully, he has grown mentally in the last year and will be able to take on whatever scheme Jedd Fisch brings in.
Other than Rosen, we haven’t seen much of anything from the rest of the stable. At this point, if I had to make a guess, I’d say Devon Modster is going to be Rosen’s backup. He was highly touted coming out of Tesoro High School in Mission Viejo and was a Rivals.com four-star recruit. I really hope the coaches don’t make the same mistake of relying on a star and forgetting to develop backups. Dymond Lee was also a four-star recruit, according to Scout.com, but was actually a wide receiver coming out of high school. He is still listed as a quarterback, so it will be interesting to see if he makes the switch back to receiver or not. Matt Lynch and Craig Myers are also on the roster, but were not ranked nearly as highly as Modster or Lee.
Who’s Coming In?
We will now get a look at Austin Burton who is enrolling early. He is the only scholarship quarterback in this year’s class and will be battling head-to-head with Modster and the others. He is a three star, pro-style quarterback according to rivals, and had actually committed verbally to Boston College before flipping to UCLA.
Why does it seem like we always have such a huge problem bringing in quarterbacks? I felt like Hundley brought back the glory days of UCLA football and that Rosen was supposed to pick up where he left off. With so many changes in both schemes and coaches, it looked like last year was almost a waste—not even a year of growth, just a waste. The important thing now is looking forward, creating some stability, and developing the players we have in the program. I’ll say it one more time: DEVELOP the players we have in the program! Aside from top notch recruiting, this is the most important thing the coaching staff can do.
And, with that, we wrap up our 2017 UCLA Football Spring Previews.