Staff scrambles to tweak offense for Rasshan

Times Staff Writer

Quarterback Osaar Rasshan dropped back to pass, then took off. That was the common thread throughout UCLA’s game against Arizona State last Saturday.

Sometimes Rasshan scrambled for yardage. Sometimes he threw on the run. But it seemed clear that his abilities were a little crisper when he was on the move.

“Right now, I’m a little more comfortable throwing outside the pocket,” Rasshan said Wednesday. “Any offense in football has ways to get a quarterback outside the pocket.”


The Bruins will try to massage their offense to fit those abilities.

Rasshan, in his first college start, completed 14 of 27 passes for 181 yards against Arizona State. He also gained 41 yards rushing, including a six-yard scramble on a third-and-four play during a first-quarter drive that ended in a field goal.

“After getting a feel about what he knows and what he’s comfortable with, we’re going to tailor [the offense] for him,” Coach Karl Dorrell said. “He likes be out on the move, doing certain things. No question about that.”

Rasshan’s mobility can help underwrite the running game. The Bruins were left using third-string Chane Moline and walk-on Craig Sheppard as their primary runners against Arizona State.

“If it is a regular drop-back pass, being able to scramble and maneuver myself to get back to the line of scrimmage is better than taking a seven- or eight-yard loss,” Rasshan said. “Or I might be able to turn it into a 15-20 yard play.”

Sheppard, a sophomore, gained 28 yards against Arizona on Nov. 3 and a team-high 56 yards against Arizona State.

“It has been sweet because I did OK, but we lost so I can’t say it has been enjoyable,” Sheppard said.

Still, it has made the hours at practice more worthwhile.

“My dad and coaches taught me that perseverance pays off,” Sheppard said. “You can see that with guys on this team. Christian Taylor persisted and ended being our starting linebacker. Trevor Theriot persisted and he’s our starting fullback.”

Quarterback Patrick Cowan, out after suffering a collapsed lung against Arizona, underwent a CT scan and X-rays Wednesday. Dorrell said he was awaiting results.

“They just want to make sure it is healing and make sure there are no air pockets, no gaps,” Dorrell said. “There is some bruising, but they want to make sure it shows it is getting better and better.”

Linebacker Joshua Edwards left practice with what Dorrell said was a “turf toe” that slowed him earlier this season.