UCLA coach Jim Mora took the stage at Pac-12 Media Days on Wednesday, along with center Scott Quessenberry and linebacker Kenny Young. Much was discussed during their time with the media, but we’ve parsed down the most important info.
Here are the five biggest takeaways for the Bruins:
Grad transfer Sunny Odogwu provides O-line options
Mora: “He came on the radar, Jedd Fisch, our offensive coordinator, had experience with him in Miami, and we got wind that he had graduated and was looking to be a graduate transfer. So, you know, we started to communicate with him, and it just worked out where he came to UCLA.
I will tell you this: I think it was a very big acquisition for us, not just because he’s massive, but because he gives us some experience, and it allows us to go to the gap. You know, with Kolton Miller at left tackle and Sunny at right tackle, you’ve got a couple of large men that are athletic and have experience. It allows us to do some things inside at the guard position. You guys know that we had Kenny [Lacy] working at tackle through the spring. Andre James played tackle when Kolton got hurt last year. So we have some flexibility that we didn’t have.”
Kenny Young is the undisputed leader of the defense
Mora: “Kenny’s very well-respected by all of our coaches, certainly the players. He’s a very serious young man. He’s team-oriented, goal-driven. He’s accomplished a lot of great things at UCLA both on and off the field.
“I think one of the things I’m most proud of are the things that he’s been able to do academically. But he’s a serious guy, and winning is important to him. Being on the right type of team is important to him. I think it’s a great example for not only our young players but our entire community.”
Incoming 5-star athlete Darnay Holmes could play both ways
Mora: “We have to move slowly. We need him to master something. We need him to master being the defensive back at corner and nickel. But fortunately he’s very smart, and I know that Jedd is very creative. We will have packages for him. We just have to make sure we’re monitoring it so we give Darnay the best chance to have the individual success. You want a guy like that to have the ball in his hands.”
Several players have chance to break out
Kenny Young: “I think Adarius Pickett, our safety, is gonna take off this year. And I think [tight end] Caleb Wilson is gonna take off this year. You’re gonna see a whole new Josh Rosen that you haven’t seen in the past this year. We have a lot of guys that are gonna do great things. I think Jaleel [Wadood] is gonna make a lot of plays.”
Josh Rosen continues to progress off the field
Mora: “I think that he’s progressed tremendously. I think it’s a huge credit to Josh Rosen in the way that he’s matured and the way he’s approached this off-season. Just like all these young men, they get it at different times. I think a lot of things factored into Josh having the productive off-season that he’s had. Certainly being injured and having football kind of removed from his life as a player at the time that he did, that affected him. Humbling himself to a certain degree and accepting coaching.
“I think he’s been asked a couple times is it helpful or hurtful that he’s on his third coordinator, quarterback coach. For some it might be hurtful. For Josh, I think it’s helpful because he loves information. He loves to absorb information.”