Selecting true freshman quarterback Josh Rosen as the starter might not have looked like the next move UCLA coach Jim Mora wanted to make as recently as a week ago, when he gave a tongue lashing to Rosen in front of reporters. But Rosen's summertime status as the widely expected starter was validated Wednesday when Mora announced Rosen as the Bruins' replacement for three-year starter and Green Bay Packers fifth-round draft pick Brett Hundley.
"We made a decision and we made the decision to go with Josh," Mora said, according to the Los Angeles Times.
And with that, a kid who was walking the halls of Bellflower (Calif.) St. John Bosco as recently as eight months ago will be leading the Bruins.
"He will be playing some really good teams this year," Mora said. "There are going to be some plays that are frustrating and there are going to be some plays that are dumbfounding. But we're also going to see some great plays."
Rosen was a five-star recruit and rated the nation's No. 1 quarterback last year by Rivals.com. Rosen beat out Jerry Neuheisel, son of former Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel, for the position. UCLA offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone indicated the coaching staff will have some patience with Rosen, given the absence of game experience.
"You have to go through the good times and the bad times," Mazzone said. "It's not going to be one of those things where if someone thinks his shoe is untied, he'll get yanked."
UCLA opens the season against Virginia on Sept. 5. Two weeks later, he'll face BYU before entering conference play the following week against defending Pac-12 South champion Arizona. Rosen has the size (6-foot-4) and skills to be a dynamic passer in time. But early in September, his best play might be the handoff to 1,500-yard rusher Paul Perkins.