UCLA OC Jedd Fisch on State of UCLA's Offense

Apr. 29 -- UCLA OC Jedd Fisch talked after the spring game about what has to happen between now and the 2017 season...

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On the spring game

It was good in terms of just kind of working through some protocol I guess and getting lined up, running through some plays. Some pretty base offense, base defense. Kind of put ourselves in a position where you play with a starting tackle next to a backup guard next to a starting center. So you don’t necessarily see everyone working together, but you see everyone competing. And that’s the cool part. You want to see, when the ball is in the air, who’s going to make a play. Ball’s in the air, who’s going to fight for it. We had some opportunities early on to connect on some passes and we didn’t; and then we had some passes that we connected on later. But it was a fun game, we stayed healthy. And that’s really, for a spring game, when you decide to go live, your number one goal is just to really stay healthy. 

On Josh Rosen's performance

Well I think that first pass, I think he threw a great ball that would have gone for 20 or 25, but we didn’t catch it. And then the second one, the second pass or so I think we ended up checking it down. We just couldn’t get it going. We tried a couple different things. We wanted to just kind of let them play. In the second series, we tried to get a pass going, and the pass gets picked off on the corner route. And then the third series, we ran the ball on third down, to see if we could get a little reverse. Then, in the fourth series, he came out and had a nice drive. I think he hit on all his passes, and he looked good. He looked really comfortable, looked like he was in rhythm. All the guys caught the ball, and then DA had the really nice route (for the touchdown). And so that was good. And then that was it (for Rosen). So it was nice to see him get that drive going. But we’d like to start faster

On how his relationship with Josh Rosen has developed throughout the spring

Good. I think it’s gotten to the point where we spend time together and he trusts what we’re going to tell him. He’s going to try to execute as best as he possibly can, and I trust what he tells me. I need to understand it and then accommodate. He’ll kind of give me some suggestion on what he likes or what we can do for us to be successful. And I think that’s a key part of being a great quarterback: being able to communicate with your coach. He does a great job of that. And now he’s just learning. He’s just learning all the reads. There’s things that came up today – that interception. I think he’ll see that there was another guy open on that play, but maybe he threw the ball to that corner route three or four times in the last two weeks, so he felt comfortable with that. So he’s really building, he’s really learning, and he’s really taking to coaching. 

On how he will stay in touch with Rosen from now until fall camp

This next phase becomes the hardest phase of communication, because of the fact that you get two hours a week to be able to meet and communicate – if we are not using all eight hours in the weight room. So this next phase, we’ll use all eight hours in the weight room when we’re on the road recruiting and then after that, we’ll find a little bit of time here and there. Really, for the most part, he understands what our reads are – there’s cut-up after cut-up after cut-up of NFL teams, college teams, our team running these plays. And it’s up to him, really. I tell our guys: It’s the summer of improvement. You’ve got to just absolutely find a way to get better at your craft. And that’s on their own. And then when we get back August 2, when there’s no hour rules in training camp, we’ll be able to grind them into submission to try to figure out the best way to move the ball come September 4. 

On the dropped passes by the receivers

Yeah, I think we had five drops today, if I’m right. I think El had a drop and Las had a drop and Asiasi had a drop. Different guys though – it wasn’t the same guy. I always say: If it’s the same guy dropping the ball, then that’s when you get nervous. If it’s four different guys dropping the ball, then what is it – why did that happen? One ball, you throw into traffic – that’s on the quarterback. Throw it to the guy that’s not having three guys about to hit him. Or another one is: Bring the ball down. Instead of making them reach up here (above the head), have them reach down here (in front of the face). Make it more frameable, make it more catchable. That’s on us, too, at the quarterback position. And the receivers – get on the jugs machines. Just catch ball after ball after ball after ball until you don’t drop the ball anymore. That’s really the best way to do it. 

On whether he’s happy with how much of the offense he got to install in spring

Yeah, football-wise, we’re fine. We have enough plays in. We just need to execute them better. Just play faster – don’t think as much. And that will come with just repetition. Now the plays are in, the foundation has been laid. Training camp is really: You take spring ball and you repeat it – twice. And you just run the same plays over and over and over and over, until you finally are able to get able to execute the plays. 

On his advice to the offense for the summer

Run those plays. Run those plays on air, run those plays against our defense when our coaches aren’t out there. Just run our offense. And just practice our offense, and practice our offense and practice our offense continuously. If you’re a quarterback, you go through your reads, you go through your progressions, you get a feel. And then you study film. The more you put in, then the more you’ll get out. 

On how much he wants his QB to talk back and ask questions

I think there’s always the ‘why?’ And I think it’s the coach’s job to explain the why or the purpose, and then it’s the player’s job once they hear the why or the purpose, to then ask ‘how do I do it?’ So the question they should ask is how and we should answer the why. And I think that’s kind of where I grew up with that mentality, and I think that’s a great way to have that coach/player relationship. It’s our job as coaches to explain to them that we’re never going to put them into a situation where they won’t know why we’re putting them in it

On Josh Rosen having a lot of ‘why’ questions

That’s OK, that’s great. I hope that I’m able to answer those questions. I’ve been around some good quarterbacks and good coaches. They should want to know why. They should want to know that. And they should want to know, if we’re calling a play, why are we calling it? Why do I think that play is going to work? Why should he go to the X receiver if I mark him off for completing a touchdown to the Z. Because maybe one time he’ll throw a touchdown and the other six might be picked. That’s why you go to the X, for example. But he’s been fantastic. 

On whether Josh Rosen is similar to any other QBs he’s worked with

No, not really. 

On how his first spring camp at UCLA compares to his first at Michigan

Well the biggest difference after the first spring practice at Michigan is that our quarterback wasn’t there. He transferred in June 25th from Iowa. So we went through the whole first spring at Michigan, and the starting quarterback for opening day wasn’t on the roster. And the starting slot receiver for opening day wasn’t on the roster. So it’s different. Offensively, our whole spring, I don’t think there will be anyone walking in the building here that wasn’t here. So I’m more comfortable in that regard. Now it’s just the continued execution. 

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