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ROSEN ASSETS

Variable Interest Rate — Coming off a 4-8 season, expectations for return on investment are low, until you see Josh Rosen’s leadership, mechanics, and pinpoint accuracy accrue, and then you get your hopes up again that UCLA’s stock will rise

As racial tension rises in the Country, and nuclear tension rises internationally due to a severe lack of diplomacy, it is a miracle that the Stock Exchanges continue to thrive.  Let’s take this as a metaphor for UCLA Football.  The O-line is coming off its worst year in memory, the record was a dismal 4-and-8, and there are no super-frosh, immediate impact saviors coming in to Lonzo Ball the Bruins to respectability.   But with a new Offensive Coordinator and the return of a HEALTHY Josh Rosen at Quarterback, the Bruins could easily hit new highs like the Dow Jones and Nasdaq.

The blame for last year’s fiasco falls squarely on the injury to Rosen, and the horrendous playcalling and nonexistent adjustments made by the incompetent Offensive Coordinator Kennedy Polamalu, who was immediately fired in disgrace after the season.  So with the respected Jedd Fisch coming in as the new O.C., and with Rosen looking as strong as ever, 4-8 should quickly become a distant memory.

Saturday was UCLA Football’s Fan Appreciation Day on campus, with the program’s supporters encouraged to attend practice.  It was nice, but a far cry from the Fall Scrimmages that have taken place for the last decade.  Not that many fans showed up, there were no members of the Dance Team or Cheer Squad in uniform, and the annual player autograph session was cancelled.  So was it a complete and total waste of my time?  Not exactly.

First of all, I met a very sweet couple, who are die-hard Bruin fans, and spent the whole practice commiserating with me.  I believe I have made a couple of new, like-minded friends, and that’s always nice.  And the other reason the day was worthwhile:  It’s always a pleasure to watch a talent like Josh Rosen exhibit his unparalleled skills.

Josh was on target all day, leading his Receivers just right, while also showing adeptness at avoiding the pass rush.  And I believe it was Fisch and his strategy that enabled Rosen to look so good.  The play calls emphasized short, quick passes, like slants over the middle, and tosses to Backs in the flat.  When Noel Mazzone was the Bruin O.C., he also minimized the jeopardy of having a weak O-Line with quick passes, but he preferred bubble screens and throwing quickly behind the line of scrimmage, out near the sidelines.  Fisch, it appears, wants to use the middle of the field more, which seems to play into Rosen’s strength.  Of course Rosen is deadly on deep balls, but in this practice session, the unit did not go VERTICAL very often, perhaps lacking confidence in extended pocket protection.  Once near the very end of practice, Rosen let one fly, and it resulted in a long TD.  Maybe it shocked the Defense.

Other than that one and maybe a few other strikes, the Defensive Backfield was pretty impressive in coverage.  Conceivably you could blame that on the Receivers lacking the ability to get any separation, but I prefer to CREDIT the D-backs instead.  The one player who is touted to have separation skill, Theo Howard, hopped off the field injured, putting no weight on his left leg, possibly protecting a knee or ankle.  If serious, that would be a big blow to the Offense, who at this point has no true go-to guy.  On Saturday, it looked like #7 Darren Andrews might be Rosen’s favorite target, but you can’t really extrapolate that from one practice session.  Alex Van Dyke caught a TD pass from one of the back-up QB’s, for what it’s worth.

The Running Game didn’t inspire a lot of oohs and ahh’s.  Of course, the tackling was not at 100% speed/effort, and the refs were blowing whistles way before the plays were done, so it’s hard to tell if the Running Backs could have broken some tackles and found more running room, but initial holes and running lanes were not readily apparent.

That just means that the Bruins will live or die on Rosen’s arm, and that’s not a bad position to be in.  With a quick strike approach that minimizes the effects of a porous Line, UCLA could still succeed in moving the ball and putting points on the board.  Let’s hope so — I want something to celebrate with my new Bruin friends.

Below are 31 photos from the practice.  Sorry (REALLY sorry), but no Cheerleader shots.  In 22 days though, I will give you all that you can handle.  Lots and lots of new faces this season.

"ROSEN ASSETS" was published on August 13th, 2017 and is listed in Blue & Gold News, UCLA/usc/Sports Photos.

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Comments on "ROSEN ASSETS": 1 Comment

  1. Theo wrote,

    Have you heard anything about what kind of outfits the spirit squad will be wearing for the upcoming season? Do you think they’re going to give us a preview or do we have to wait till the opening day to find out? Thanks for the great website and everything that you do for the bruins fans.

    [T-H’s Note: Sorry, I don’t have any inside information about the uniforms. I was hoping to find out last Saturday, but I didn’t, so I guess we will have to wait until the season starts.]

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