Speculation about who will be UCLA quarterback to continue until season

Speculation about who will be UCLA quarterback to continue until season
UCLA freshman quarterback Josh Rosen prepares to pass during Monday's practice. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

For those UCLA fans who love the endless speculation, debate and bickering over who should be the Bruins' quarterback, there is good news.

"I will not say who's the guy until our first series against Virginia," Coach Jim Mora said.


So mark your calendars: Sept. 5.

The Bruins, with 18 starters back, seem to lack only an experienced quarterback in the pursuit of their first Pac-12 championship since 1998. Jerry Neuheisel has been in the program three seasons, while Asiantii Woulard and Mike Fafaul were around the past two seasons. The intriguing contestant is Josh Rosen, who enrolled early as a freshman this spring and has been impressive the first three weeks.

Of course, while Mora plans to keep mum, the decision on who will take the first snap against Virginia will likely probably become more clear as training camp progresses in August. But dragging it out as long as possible has its advantages.

Leaving the position as a question mark after spring practice hedges against complacency. It could also keep those who don't win the job from transferring.

"Coaches always want to have the biggest data sample to look from when they choose a guy," Neuheisel said. "It doesn't come down to who had the best practice one day, or another day. It comes down to the body of work you put together through spring ball and fall camp."

All four quarterbacks got work in 11-on-11 drills Monday, a deviation from previous practices, where only two received time in scrimmage situations. It was a day dominated by the defense, which was able to apply pressure with a pass rush. Safety Jaleel Wadood and defensive lineman Ainuu Taua intercepted passes.

Neuheisel had the best day among the quarterbacks, completing nine of 14 passes.

"You want to see a guy who can put together a number of good practices in a row, whether they are with the first team or the second team," Mora said. "A lot people want to know why you put guys with the second team. You know what, you need to see how a player plays under duress as well. That's important at that position, because it's not always going to be easy."

Mora said the decision will take time.

"You walk off the field every day with a little bit different feeling of how it's going," Mora said. "I hope at some point in training camp, if a light bulb doesn't go off, you have a pretty good feeling, an intuition."

Two by two

The decision to alternate quarterbacks the first three weeks, with two getting the live reps each practice, has certainly helped Woulard. He has been third-string the past two seasons and saw very little time running the offense in practice.

"I have been able to improve a lot, and be more efficient, quicker," Woulard said. "It's a repetition offense. You can see it on the board or paper, but you really don't get a good grasp for it until you run it on the field."

Woulard said, "I see things a lot quicker before the snap. It's a lot different than watching from the sideline or looking at the board."


Jamabo jam

UCLA recruit Sotonye Jamabo was arrested Saturday and charged with evading arrest with a vehicle. He was given warnings for consumption and possession of alcohol, speeding, driving without a driver's license and disregarding a stop sign.

If convicted, Jamabo could face a sentence of six months to two years.

"I can't expand further on what was said [by a UCLA spokesman] before," Mora said. "I don't know enough."

Quick hits

Darren Andrews, who was limited because of an ankle injury, returned to contact drills Monday. He had three quality catches in 11-on-11 drills. … Troy Aikman has made a $1-million donation to UCLA's Wasserman Football Center. Construction is expected to start in July.

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