What does UVA D have in store for UCLA freshman QB Josh Rosen?
UCLA is going with true freshman Josh Rosen as its starting quarterback for Saturday’s season opener with Virginia. Rosen was the top quarterback recruit in the class of 2015, according to Rivals, and the #2 recruit overall. The 6’4”, 210-pounder enrolled at UCLA in the spring and participated in spring practice. Other than that, UVA coaches don’t have much to work with in scouting Rosen, who replaces Brett Hundley as the starting QB for Bruins coach Jim Mora.
“Only the video from his high school career,” UVA coach Mike London told reporters Monday, of his staff’s reconnaissance on Rosen. “I’m sure like them, they look at our VirginiaSportsTV.com as we will look at their videos, as well. But nothing substantive about what he is or what he does.”
Virginia does have game tape from last year, when UCLA topped the Cavs, 28-20, buoyed by three defensive touchdowns in a sloppy second quarter for UVA.
The Bruins were able to muster just one offensive score and 358 yards of total offense with Hundley, a fifth-round draft pick who is now Aaron Rodgers’ backup in Green Bay, running the show.
“We know it’s a system that they run,” London said.
The UVA coaches also know that Rosen is “very talented, and we know several players that can make him efficient surround him,” London said.
“That’s the challenge for us,” London said. “We get in the game and start playing against him is to actually find out what his strengths are and try to find his deficiencies, as well.”
The biggest challenge for a true freshman quarterback making the adjustment from playing on Fridays to playing on Saturdays is that “the college game is so much faster,” London said.
“The concepts and things that these young players have to be subjected to, you have great defensive coordinators out there that are always attacking protections, players, making them ‑ try to make them vulnerable to the things that you see as perhaps a deficiency or weakness, and then the mental part of it; being able to handle just the entirety of the bigness of the game,” London said.
“He’ll be the only one out there when the fans are out there, how are you going to handle those moments. You only find that out when you’re playing your first game or you only find out when you’re playing in those games.”
London acknowledged what a number of observers have had to say about UCLA heading into the 2015 season.
“I believe with the surrounding cast of guys UCLA has, that Coach Mora feels they can take some of the load off of him and as long as he facilitates getting the ball to those players and run their system, obviously they believe that he can do that,” London said. “But any freshman, true freshman quarterback, there’s always several challenges and some of them, like with (Miami quarterback Brad) Kaaya, you mentioned, have risen to the level to achieve. That’s always the challenge.”
– Story by Chris Graham
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