Nelson Rosario, the 6-5 true sophomore receiver, had an up and down fall camp. His desire was questioned, and he settled in to a less-featured rung of the depth chart.
But with the injury to senior Gavin Ketchum, which has kept him out of UCLA's first three games, combined with the one-game suspension of talented freshmen Randall Carroll and Morrell Presley, Rosario had an opportunity -- and he's taken advantage.
Four of Rosario's five receptions on the season have turned 3rd downs into first downs. The other reception was a 21-yard gain which was described as one of the best catches of the young college football season, where he snagged the ball with one hand.
We talked to Rosario Tuesday about his performance on the season so far.
Receiver coach Reggie Moore has said he has talked to you about consistency of effort, particularly on the practice field. It seems you are, and it's carrying over to the field. How is that process coming along?
‘'You know, during the games, any ball that comes my way I'm not going to let that go. I think I need to bring that same mentality to practice a little bit more. I'm more relaxed in practice, but I've been working on it, trying to become more consistent, like coach says. That's what he's always yelling at me about. He said it can't just be in the games, you've got to show it all the time, so I've been working on that. The last couple of weeks I've been doing that and it's been showing in the games.''
Do you agree with that? Does it translate to the field?
‘'I agree. In most cases, a lot of people, if you do it in practice it's going to happen in games. I'm not going to say that's not the case for me, but I try to make as many plays as I can. They tell me, ‘You can't just switch it on,' you know. Even when I wasn't consistent, I was making plays, but I'm not going to say that's why it's happening. I'm just going to do what he asks me and do what I can, and when I get my chance in the game, keep doing what I'm doing.''
Was that hard to hear, that you needed more consistency?
‘'I just took it as constructive criticism.''
Was it valid, though, do you think?
‘'There were a couple of practices where I wasn't consistent, so I guess you can say so. But every receiver is not always going to be consistent. I just had to take that one and do what he says.''
You do feel it making a difference, though …
You see the athletic ability and the talent, you want to see the package put together. Are you happy with the progress that you've made?
‘'I won't be completely happy until I'm the No. 1 dude and I'm making all the plays. If I get a chance to go to the NFL, that's when I'll be completely happy. Until then I'm just working and trying to help my team however I can.''
Rosario: "I've Got to Show it All the Time"
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