Focus on quarterbacks as UCLA opens spring practices
LOS ANGELES (AP) Anyone expecting a quick resolution to UCLA's search to replace quarterback Brett Hundley would be well served to look back at how the record-setting three-year starter won the job in the first place.
''We didn't decide on the starter until, gosh, like 15 practices into fall that first year,'' Bruins coach Jim Mora said Tuesday after opening spring practice.
A similar timetable seems likely to identify Hundley's successor, as the plan is to allot the majority of each day's work to just two quarterbacks, with those duties rotating among the candidates.
Rosen, the consensus top quarterback in the 2015 recruiting class, showed off a strong and accurate arm during the handful of meaningful reps he received.
''The ball comes out of his hand nicely, and it doesn't seem too big for him, so I think that is a good sign for him on his first day,'' Mora said.
Rosen has been enrolled in classes since January, giving him the chance to participate in informal throwing sessions with other players and work with the school's strength and conditioning staff.
But while Rosen has five-star credentials, he lacks the familiarity with UCLA's spread offense the other quarterbacks on the roster have developed. Coaches and players were giving him frequent instruction as Neuheisel and Woulard went through live and 7-on-7 drills.
When it comes to game action, only one UCLA quarterback has meaningful experience.
When he replaced an injured Hundley and led the Bruins to a 20-17 win against Texas last season, Neuheisel showed drive reminiscent of his father Rick's rise from walk-on to Pac-10 and Rose Bowl champion quarterback at UCLA in the early 1980s.
Neuheisel completed 23 of 30 passes for 178 yards and two touchdowns against the Longhorns, including a 33-yard game-winner in the fourth quarter.
Those circumstances give Neuheisel ''the edge right now,'' Mora said.
''When you go into a game like he did at Texas and help your team win, not only does that build internal confidence but your teammates have confidence in you,'' Mora said.
Woulard, a 6-foot-3, 210-pound redshirt sophomore from Orlando, Florida, is the closest to matching the physical prowess Hundley offered. Woulard showed off his athleticism with several scrambles, but is still raw as a passer.
Mora indicated the evaluation is unlikely to be done by the time UCLA holds its spring game at the Rose Bowl on April 25.
''I don't believe as we stand here (on) Day One that we'll come out of spring with a clear feeling of who is going to be the guy or what the pecking order is,'' Mora said. ''I just want to see them all improve and compete on a daily basis.''
Besides Hundley, the other glaring absence for UCLA is offensive line coach Adrian Klemm, who was suspended earlier this month while the school investigates potential recruiting violations.
Mora said he could not discuss specifics of the review process or when Klemm might be reinstated.
Graduate assistants Blake Bentz and Dave Marsh are currently overseeing the offensive line, with offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and running backs coach Kennedy Polamalu providing input.