No surprise: Dorian Thompson-Robinson listed as UCLA’s starting quarterback
UCLA released its depth chart Sunday, and it wasn’t exactly high drama.
Sophomore Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who has spent all of training camp leading the first-team offense, was listed as the starting quarterback. True freshman Sean Rhyan, who has worked with the first-team offensive line in recent days after an injury to teammate Alec Anderson, was listed as the starting left tackle.
Thompson-Robinson was widely expected to take the Bruins’ first snap in their season opener at Cincinnati on Thursday after starting seven games last season. He beat out redshirt sophomore Austin Burton, whose improvement over the last year has made him viewed as a capable backup.
“He knows what he needs to do and how we look to him to lead us on offense,” tight end Jordan Wilson said of Thompson-Robinson, “and he’s really taken a step toward being that leader.”
Wilson was listed as a starter over Devin Asiasi, though Wilson noted that the starting designation at tight end isn’t important because of coach Chip Kelly’s tendency to use multiple tight ends.
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There was a mild surprise at wide receiver, where All-Pac-12 Conference honorable mention selection Theo Howard was listed as the backup to Jaylen Erwin, a junior college transfer. Chase Cota and Demetric Felton were listed as the other starting receivers. Howard’s status as a backup to open the season might merely be a function of him returning from a wrist injury that slowed him during training camp.
A notable defensive development was that the Bruins listed Elijah Wade as the starter at outside linebacker even though he had spent much of preseason practice at defensive end. Leni Toailoa, who had completed walk-throughs with the first-string defense at outside linebacker during parts of practice open to the media, was listed as a backup at inside linebacker behind his older brother, Lokeni, and Krys Barnes.
As expected, graduate transfer Wade Lees was listed as the starting punter.
The Bruins’ depth at inside linebacker was further thinned when the school announced that sophomore Bo Calvert would be sidelined indefinitely because of an unspecified NCAA rule.
Kelly was not available to comment and is not scheduled to speak with reporters until Monday.
Calvert played in five games during an injury-plagued 2018 season, making nine tackles. The Bruins were already without inside linebacker Tyree Thompson, a projected starter who recently underwent foot surgery that is expected to sideline him for an indefinite period.
Cornerback Darnay Holmes, who recently returned from a minor injury, was not seen on the field during the portion of practice open to the media. … Anderson continued to work on the sideline with a trainer during the start of practice.
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