UCLA Quarterback Josh Rosen Looks Ahead to Season Opener

Aug. 30 -- UCLA sophomore quarterback Josh Rosen spoke about the team's highly anticipated matchup against Texas A&M, his protection and more...


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On the biggest difference from last year:

A comfort and knowing what to expect. One of the big things is, operationally, I know what it's like to travel, I know what game weeks are like. I'm not experiencing things for the first time. We have a unique schedule how we ramp it up early and then slow it down before game time then spark the nervous system before. We have a unique schedule. I understand what we're trying to do.  It's more of a comfort.  More a routine.   

On if he'll be more focused because it's not new:

Maybe focus better, but as focused as I could possibly be last year. I'll be as focused as last year.  If you're not trying as hard as you can, you've got issues.

On the offense:

I've always said the offense is offense. We run the exact same play, just different responsibility. You're just window dressing everything.  I don't care how smart you are, how genius you are, you're not going to reinvent power, counter, inside zone, you're not going to reinvent football, you're just going to change the way it looks a little bit. So the biggest thing out here, I've had to get used to how many people are in the box at one time. Last year, we had five lineman and a running back, now we have two tight ends, a fullback, formation shifts. A lot more window dressing.

On if he feels he'll be more protected with tight ends blocking:

They're involved in protection.  The tight ends and fullbacks are football. Protection wise, we still have the same five dudes. They're going to do just as well as they did last year.

On countering the noise:

After like 50,000 people, it sounds the same, or doesn't sound the same.  The best example was Utah, we scored on our first drive and it got quiet after that.  If we can open with a statement or get up on them early, the proud won't be a factor. We're more focused on what's in front of us than what's behind us.

On Christian Kirk:

He's a really good friend and an awesome guy.  I thought we were pretty close to getting him here. He'll do very well, he's an intelligent guy and I loved hanging out with him. He'll be tough to handle, he's a phenomenal athlete.  His feel for the game, there are certain guys who run robotic routes, chalk board routes and then some guys who will run the right route, but feel it out more and he really had a feel to move the DB off his ground, move into certain windows, he's incredible and explosive.   

On his reaction to Conor McDermott returning:

We were at his place.  Just hanging out and he was deliberating the decision for a while.  We had gone to BJ's for dinner. We were all thrilled.  It means a lot.  He's an incredible player, a first round talent. And a personal friend of mine. He's really good.

On the A&M pass rush:

They're as good as a lot of teams we played.  I think we'll have the advantage to run the football this year to try to neutralize that. Hopefully they'll have a few chinks in their armor that we'll be able to exploit.  It's like in practice, you're never as good as you're hyped up to be, but you're never as bad as some say you are. You always have to respect the defense, but don't under or over respect them.

On taking direct snaps:

I've been doing it for a few months now and haven't had a single fumble through spring, camp, this week. I was under center for five years in Pop Warner and probably 100 plays through my high school career and it's never been an issue.

On his pass drops:

Every quarterback coach starts, even if you're in the gun, they start under center. It's not that big of a difference., Only issue is you might be a yard or two closer to the line of scrimmage than you are in the gun.  But you get used to it quick, it's not that big of a factor.

On his mustache:

I just like to mess with people.  It's funny. The idea was to make it as terrible as possible.


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