Notes from Monday’s UCLA Football Spring Practice


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It was my first time attending a spring practice to cover the UCLA football team. I showed up early and stood a few feet away from what appeared to be a massive gray metal box. Rookie mistake. “Run This Town” starts blaring from the box, which I now know is a powerful speaker system to amplify music across Spaulding Field.

Nonetheless, the Jay-Z/Rihanna/Kanye West track seemed like an appropriate one to kick things off; after all, the Bruins have run this town of Los Angeles for three years straight. But if UCLA wants to make it 4 years straight, and perhaps even run this country, they have to work hard from day one. That starts in the spring.

Here are some quick notes from this afternoon; the guys who ran this practice, and the guys who got run out of it.

Sep 26, 2014; Las Vegas, NV, USA; St. John Bosco quarterback Josh Rosen (3) looks to pass against the Bishop Gorman Gaels at Fertitta Field. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

All Quiet on the Quarterback Front

  • Josh Rosen was the first quarterback to get reps under center in full contact 11-on-11 drills. He made each of those reps count. On the sole occasion in which he was forced to scramble, Rosen ran up the middle and slid before getting hit; he looked like a natural mobile quarterback in the process. The few passes he made were all accurate. He impressed when airing it out long, but in later drills, he started to underthrow his routes, especially from close range.
  • Jerry Neuheisel was more limited in his opportunities, but quality trumped quantity Monday afternoon for the man in the yellow #11 jersey. His accuracy was apparent throughout, but his throws lacked the bullet-like quality of Rosen’s lasers.
  • Mike Fafaul was #2 in terms of reps taken, but should remain at #4 in the depth chart. He still needs to improve his accuracy and hone his decision-making ability.
  • Aaron Sharp may have worn a yellow jersey, but I don’t buy him being a quarterback. Apparently, neither does the coaching staff; Sharp was the only “QB” to play different position. He garnered awe from spectators after going up to catch a Neuheisel bomb in the end zone in what was arguably the best play of the practice.

A Scuffle at Spaulding

Jordan Lasley and Denzel Fisher got into a scuffle with one another during one-on-one drills. The seemingly uneventful practice finally got a spark of excitement after 90 minutes.

Lasley was labelled as the instigator and punished for it; one coach came over told him, “Sit yo’ a** down!” while motioning toward the sideline

The two got tangled up and it appeared as though Lasley was unhappy with Fisher’s tight coverage continuing well after the throw, which the receiver was unable to pull in.

Both helmets came off, the pair shoved one another, and Lasley may have thrown a punch.

It seems that Lasley was labelled as the instigator and punished for it; one coach came over told him, “Sit yo’ a** down!” while motioning toward the sideline.

That was the last I saw of Lasley; I didn’t spot anyone reprimanding Fisher.

Nov 8, 2014; Seattle, WA, USA; UCLA Bruins quarterback Brett Hundley (17) celebrates his touchdown pass to wide receiver Mossi Johnson (14) during the fourth quarter at Husky Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

The Wideout Gap Widens

  • Jordan Payton and Devin Fuller are without a doubt the two best wide receivers on this team, especially when one considers the recent departure of Devin Lucien. Payton and Fuller were targeted more than anyone else. Fuller broke Tahaan Goodman‘s ankles while making a nice move during a cut toward the end zone.
  • Mossi Johnson and Eldridge Massington are in position to take the third and fourth spots in the wide receiver depth chart, but their order is anyone’s guess. Johnson was targeted more than Massington, but neither have a big advantage over the other as of right now.
  • Johnson was unable to do anything whenever he was matched up with Myles Jack, but he excelled when he faced Goodman.
  • It’s only logical to conclude that Lasley has taken a big step back in the wide receiver race after the fight.

Nov 23, 2013; Pasadena, CA, USA; Arizona State Sun Devils quarterback Taylor Kelly (10) dives for more yards at the end of a 23-yard run during the second quarter against the UCLA Bruins at Rose Bowl. Making the tackle is UCLA Bruins safety Tahaan Goodman. Mandatory Credit: Robert Hanashiro-USA TODAY Sports

The Point(s) After

  • Tahaan Goodman struggled for most of the practice. He was beaten easily by Mossi Johnson on multiple occasions and he failed to wrap receivers up while attempting to tackle them. Goodman did partially redeem himself, however; he undercut a route run by Mossi and made an excellent interception. Goodman showed potential, but his consistency was nowhere to be found.
  • Myles Jack is the best Bruin on defense. This may seem obvious, but I’ve been skeptical of him in the past. He made plays whenever he had the chance, locking down Johnson in coverage, undercutting routes to bat balls away, and even making some jarring hits whenever appropriate.
  • Nate Starks continues to impress in spring practices. His ability to gain yards after contact was on full display on Monday.

That’s all for Monday. The Bruins’ next public practices are at 7:00 am on Wednesday and Thursday.