Monday, 22 May 2017 18:21

Josh Rosen Key In 2017

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Rosen UAUCLA junior quarterback, Josh Rosen, started his Bruin football career throwing a perfect long ball strike, right into the bread basket of receiver, Kenneth Walker III, and a certain touchdown fell harmlessly to the ground.

Rosen showed poise beyond his years. Unaffected by the early missed opportunity, the young signal caller bounced back leading the Bruins to a 34-16 victory, over a solid Virginia team. Rosen finished the day in magnificent fashion hitting on 28-35 passes, for 351 yards and three touchdowns.

Though Rosen made some freshman mistakes, the good play far outweighed his blemishes and his accomplishments didn’t go unnoticed. He was named Pac-12 Conference Offensive Freshman of the Year after rewriting UCLA’s true freshman quarterback record book.

Rosen holds the freshman record for most passing yards in a single game with 399 against Cal. He threw for the most passing yards in a season 3,350, most 300-yard passing games in a season (5), most touchdown passes in a season (20). He owns the longest pass play by a frosh 70-yards to Darren Andrews against Stanford. He tied Cade McNown's freshman mark with three touchdowns passes in a game, three times (Cal, Stanford, and Virginia).

Going into Rosen’s sophomore season, there was much anticipation among Bruin fans. Dreams of championships dangled in the imaginations of the UCLA faithful. 

When Rosen’s freshman season ended, he was nationally ranked 19th in passing yards (3,350), 21st in passing yards per game (279.3), 22nd in completions per game (22.17), 28th in total offense (281.4) and 36th in passing touchdowns (20). 

That’s a great season for a quarterback of any class, yet that’s what Rosen accomplished as a true freshman. Things could only go up, right? Wrong. The opening game against Texas A&M was a precursor of the season to come. A season that held such promise.

The Bruins lost a mistake-filled game to the Aggies in overtime on the road in one the hardest venues in college football. Rosen was sacked five times and was harassed all day. He ended up throwing for 343 yards but had three interceptions in the losing cause. The Bruins had their chances, but they were their own worst enemies and questions arose regarding the offensive line and the dependability of the receivers.

UCLA lost a lot of productive receivers from Rosen’s freshman season the NFL and it showed in that first game. Dropping passes and a leaky interior offensive line proved to be UCLA’s Achille’s Heel.

Rosen finally succumbed to an injury and was lost for the season after the sixth game of the season. When you consider that Rosen was under constant pressure, he still threw for 1,915 yards, 10 touchdowns, five interceptions and had a 138.9 quarterback rating. 

UCLA was 3-3 at the time but could have won all six games. That was the kind of season 2016 was. Even with Rosen out, the Bruins still had chances to win each and every game, until the last two, against USC and Cal, but faltered in all except one ending the season 4-8. Well, below expectations.

The depression in the program was intense. The Bruins made wholesale changes on the offensive coaching staff, only Senior Associate Head Coach/Tight Ends, Rip Scherer survived. 

Rosen and his teammates couldn’t wait to get back to work. Breaking in a new offense takes time to hit stride. At times the offense looked like the kind of squad, UCLA head coach Jim Mora envisions on the offensive side of the ball.

With spring ball as an indicator, Rosen looked like he has recovered 100 percent from his shoulder injury. The offensive line looks like a work in progress, but showed some life at times and should get better.

Keeping Rosen healthy will go a long way in helping the Bruins have a successful in 2017. He’s a difference maker and when given time, a deadly accurate passer.

Bruin fans can’t wait for the season to begin. They hope the nightmare season of a year ago will only be a fading memory and the promise of a year ago will be fulfilled in 2017.

The pieces are there on the defensive side of the football, while questions remain offensively. One question answered is, the Bruins have potentially, one of the best quarterbacks in college football if Rosen is able to fulfill that potential, and his offensive teammates rise to the occasion, the promise of a great season could be fulfilled.

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