Eddie Vanderdoes (Blair Angulo)

Revisiting Ten Things to Watch Before UCLA Fall Camp

Sept. 1 -- With the Bruins off to College Station for their season opener, we take a look back at whether 10 intriguing topics gained clarification in recent weeks...

10. The uncertainties at offensive guard

Depth might not be a strong point for the offensive line, but at least there was continuity at the guard spots throughout camp. Kenny Lacy, a returning starter, and Poasi Moala were slotted at left and right guard, respectively, from the start of camp and each had good moments, showing a better understanding of the new cadences and looking sound as run blockers inside. Najee Toran filled in for Lacy when he was briefly sidelined in San Bernardino.

9. The group of true freshmen specialists

Place kicker J.J. Molson, punter Austin Kent and long snapper Johnny Den Bleyker did nothing to raise concerns about the state of the specialists heading into the season. Molson, who has the task of replacing the reigning Lou Groza Award winner, was very consistent and told reporters he was mentally prepared to embrace the challenges of being a freshman kicker. Kent showed off a strong left leg and the necessary hang time to allow his cover team to get down the field. Den Bleyker was money, getting the ball where it needed to be on his snaps.

8. The battle for backup quarterback

There never was a battle, as former walk-on Mike Fafaul quickly shut down any advances from the true freshmen to gain a strong hold of the No. 2 spot. Former four-star Devon Modster had some good moments, particularly in throwing deep, but Fafaul made smart decisions with the football and appeared to establish good timing with his receivers.

Mike Fafaul (Steve Cheng)

7. The Ishmael Adams experiment

It could be argued that no receiver had a more impressive camp than Ishmael Adams, the former cornerback whose transition to offense has been seamless. The Bruins appear to have a new game breaker, specifically since Adams has the ability to gain separation quickly in his route and finds a way to get in open space. From a catching standpoint, Adams proved to be a reliable target for his quarterbacks at a position that had too many up-and-down players.

6. The next step for Mique Juarez

A head injury kept the former five-star linebacker out of practices for about half the spring and, with an excused absence to deal with a personal matter, missed all but four of the practices the last few weeks.

5. The other Scout 300 prospects

There are a few highly regarded recruits that got their first taste of college football, including Boss Tagaloa, the No. 12-rated defensive tackle in the 2016 class, and Brandon Burton, the No. 13-rated athlete. Tagaloa got a look with the first-unit defense when some linemen were given rest, and he should be a contributor this fall. Burton also impressed, making plays on the football and probably forcing more turnovers than anyone else. Lokeni Toailoa generated buzz from the coaching staff for his readiness, while Damian Alloway seemed to adjust to the speed of this level as practices rolled on.

4. The return of Eddie Vanderdoes

After four weeks of preparation, Eddie Vanderdoes could once again be considered a high-end NFL prospect. The big defensive tackle was impressive throughout camp, overpowering blockers with his strength to get into the back field and also trusting his surgically-repaired knee in pass-rushing drills. He figures to be a major piece of the Bruins' new 4-3 defensive front.

3. The rotation at inside linebacker

Kenny Young (18) and Isaako Savaiinaea (4) each have career starts under their belts and, after alternating throughout the spring and this camp at middle linebacker, the Bruins would appear to have two solid options at the position. UCLA has not officially named a starter for Texas A&M and we'd probably assume it doesn't matter since both figure to factor into the rotation. Toailoa, too, could get some snaps in certain situations.

2. The emergence of a sackmaster

Takkarist McKinley is the prime candidate to be UCLA’s top pass rusher this season as he hopes to build off the 4 1/2 sacks he registered a year ago. He consistently pressured quarterbacks in camp, but was hindered a bit by a groin injury. Deon Hollins (concussion) is doubtful for the opener and redshirt freshman Keisean Lucier-South showed signs that he could be an important piece in surefire passing situations.

1. The progression of Josh Rosen

The new offense was a work in progress this past spring, but Josh Rosen proved to have a grasp of the new schematics this last month. There were some that wondered if the adjustments put in place by new offensive coordinator Kennedy Polamalu and new starters at key spots would affect Rosen's development, but that's far from the case. The star sophomore looked comfortable operating the offense and, if his line holds up, should continue generating headlines for his on-field play.

Josh Rosen (Steve Cheng)

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