UCLA offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch took questions after practice Saturday.
On how the offense is coming along
They’re getting better. They’re learning it more. We haven’t installed the last couple practices, so they’ve been able to work through the installations of the first couple weeks. This final week, we’ll maybe have one install left, on Monday, of just some minor variations. But a lot of the offense is in. And now it’s a matter of repetition. And I can see them playing a little bit faster, and that’s usually the indicator of knowing it better – less thinking, more doing.
On Matt Lynch saying that the offense is based off of the Patriots and the Falcons
I haven’t worked for the Patriots nor the Falcons, so no, I don’t think so. We are trying to put together the best UCLA offense we can. Maybe Matt was referring to him watching some Matt Ryan and Tom Brady film in the meeting room. And that’s not because of schematically, that’s more because of fundamentally. We’re showing these guys the best way to take a snap from center, we’re showing them ball handling, we want them to see what the best in the business do when they’re carrying out a boot or a naked. Or running some form of a play-action pass, what does it look like? So we’re trying to show them that more than anything. And those guys have great pocket movement, they have great understanding of how to play the position and everything of that nature.
On the high amount of 11-on-11 action today
Today was a game, really. I mean, it was by period, but we were in every situation we could possibly be in – we were backed up, we were in goal-line, we were in red zone, we were in a sudden-change situation where we had great field position, we were in another situation where we were just working on just down-and-distance calls. So we had a little bit of everything going today – we had two-minute, we had four-minute, we had it all. So it was fun. It was all live, it was all tackling. Guys got a lot of great reps. I think we probably ran a lot of plays today. Going back in and watching them, I’ll have the exact number. But more is more. We’ll just try to keep getting better off of repetition.
On his impression of Josh Rosen so far
He’s a good player, he’s talented, he can make a lot of throws. He has all the arm in the world that a guy would need. But we’re working through grasping the offense, so he doesn’t overthink, so he doesn’t feel like he has to analyze – so he can just play the game. And that will come really with his work ethic in May, June and July. How hard he works in May, June and July will determine how good of a quarterback he can be for us this year. Because all we were able to do this past month is lay the foundation of the offense, and now he just has to own it and work at it and master it the best a 20-year old can master an offense.
On whether Rosen’s consistency is an issue
Yeah I think today kind of went up and down. Like the second half of practice, I don’t think he missed a throw, the first half of practice, I don’t think he hit one. So it’s one of those that you’ve just gotta play a full game, right? I tell these guys, you don’t ever win or lose a game in the first quarter. It’s never been done in the history of sports – when the first period is over, they never call winner. So we did not win the first quarter of practice today. But as the game went on, as the third quarter went on, as the fourth quarter of practice went on, we were much more efficient – we hit on more plays, we ran the ball better. So we’ve got to just continue to do that and then with Josh’s consistency throughout the whole practice.
On Rosen throwing across his body or off his back foot
Yeah, we’ve tried to limit those. I think the last one I saw there was last week. But yeah, it’s everything. And that sometimes comes from, ‘I thought (the receiver) was going to be there and remembered he’s not going to be there.’ One of those type of things. But we’ll get past all of that. And you really do have to be programmed as a quarterback – I don’t believe in not programming, I think you really have to help them. Coach Harbaugh used to always say: the most important thing a quarterback can do is protect the football. So that’s the most important thing. So we can’t throw across our body and not protect the football. We just can’t do that. We can’t make those mistakes. I don’t think we threw an interception today, that was good. But we need to have back-to-back days of not throwing interceptions.
On the benefit of being able to work with Jimmie Dougherty again
It’s awesome. It’s great to have him here, I think he’s a great coach, a great person. We’re very good friends on and off the field. He knows the offense, he game-planned with me all last year. He was in every installation meeting that we had last season. So any time we looked, he was extremely close with coach Drevno for all of us through the years before, and was very involved in the run game and the passing game a year ago. So he’s really good to have on staff. And he was a coordinator. So the fact that you have another Division-I offensive coordinator and runner-up to the Broyles award – I don’t know if you know that, but he was the runner-up to the Broyles award. He has his runner-up trophy out. But he’s an outstanding football coach. And coach Fraley was his O-line coach. So when he was a coordinator at San Jose (State), coach Fraley was the O-line coach. So there’s a lot of familiarity there and we’re really super excited about the whole staff. With Rip, DeShaun and those three guys, it’s been outstanding.
On the NCAA appeal process with Devin Asiasi
I don’t know. I don’t know any of that, that’s above me.
On the running backs
Full competition. Competition is on. If you ask me, I don’t even know who the starter is right now. They are just competing, competing, competing. We are just mixing them all in. They’re practicing hard. Nobody wants to miss a rep, nobody wants to miss a practice, nobody wants to miss a period. We’ve got a nice set of backs that are all running hard. I believe, probably, at the end of today, we probably ran the ball 50 times. Each one of them probably had close to 10 carries. So we’ll really be able to see how everybody did.
On Austin Burton getting more reps in 11-on-11s
Yeah, it was nice to see that, right? Yeah, he did a nice job. He moved the ball a couple times for a kid that should be in high school getting ready for his prom. Exciting to see him get out there – fumbled one snap, didn’t throw an interception, led the team down to two touchdowns. It matters to him, he’s working hard at it. He’ll have a nice future with us.
On how the backup QB reps are split right now
They just all get reps. Everyone gets reps. I think I saw something like at the end of yesterday, or two days ago’s practice, I think Devon had like 11 more attempts than Lynch. SO they’re all pretty even, and Austin is working his way into the equation as well. He’s a little bit behind on the rep count, but we’ll try to get him some more too.
On if there’s a reason why Matt Lynch didn’t get as many 11-on-11 reps on Saturday
Gave Austin more of a chance. Gave Austin more opportunity today – he’s worked really hard.