Spring Practice Day 5: Offensive Coordinator Noel Mazzone And The Defensive Line Talk To The Media


One of the constants with UCLA football since head coach Jim Mora arrived in Westwood has been the offense. Mora hired Noel Mazzone from Arizona State as the offensive coordinator and since then the Bruins have been flourishing with the fast-paced offense Mora required.

UCLA Bruins
UCLA Bruins /

UCLA Bruins

That is due to Mazzone’s spread offense which has worked wonders for UCLA the last three years with Brett Hundley running the system.

But things got interesting for Mazzone after Hundley’s final game in the Alamo Bowl in January. Mazzone would be without a quarterback to run his system.

Well if you have been paying any attention to UCLA football, you would know that the Bruins have a quarterback battle on their hands, their first since selecting Hundley. This time it consists of the experienced Jerry Neuheisel, the dual-threat Asiantii Woulard and the “chosen” Josh Rosen.

Mazzone addressed some of these and other topics in his first meeting with the media in Spring Practice. Here is a quick run down of what he said:

First, The Wise Cracks

  • When asked who the starter is, Mazzone said, “Jake [Brendel] is going to start at center. Jordan Payton is starting X.”
  • He expressed excitement with the change at QB, “I was kind of bored with Brett. Time for a new guy.”
  • When asked when he will have a starting QB selected, “By Virginia (the first game of the season).”

But Seriously

  • Despite the rumors, Mazzone is going to choose the starting QB based on performance (on the field) and not potential.
  • As far as when the starter will be chosen, it will not be by the end of Spring, but the list will be cut to “2 or 3.”

You can watch Mazzone in the four-minute video below by

Jack Wang




The Defensive Line Speaks

You can check also check out the 20-minute video of the press conference HERE (brought to you by UCLABruins.com) which features Mazzone (the first five minutes you see above), Defensive Line Coach Angus McClure and Bruin defensive linemen Najee Toran and Matt Dickerson.

Sep 25, 2014; Tempe, AZ, USA; UCLA Bruins defensive line coach Angus McClure against the Arizona State Sun Devils at Sun Devil Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Najee Toran

  • Mora asked Toran if he would move to the D-line because he would be a good assets.
  • The move exited him as he has been wanting to play defense since he got to UCLA.

Matt Dickerson

  • He was 260 lbs. last year. Now he is 270 lbs. Gaining that weight back will be beneficial to that game (his goal is 280 lbs.).
  • One of his biggest improvements in the off-season for him is becoming more comfortable with the defense. Now he is more adapt to doing what the coaches need of him at this level.

Angus McClure

  • Coach McClure is very excited about Najee Toran playing defensive end with the eventual move to nose tackle.
  • He discusses how he helps Toran move his feet and hands, which is quite different from what he was used to on the offensive line.
  • Takkarist McKinley is continuing to do fantastic. He will be used as a nickel and a pass pusher.
  • McClure loves the depth, which has arguably been one of the thinner position groups.