I wish I could tell you. I wish I knew whether he’s going to be available or not Friday night. I just don’t know. —UCLA coach Jim Mora, on quarterback Josh Rosen
SALT LAKE CITY — UCLA coach Jim Mora didn’t even wait to be asked at Tuesday’s media availability. He knew it was coming.
What’s up with Josh Rosen and his status for Friday’s game at Utah?
“Well, I might as well just start with an update on the quarterbacks since that will be everyone’s question of the day,” Mora said. “Nothing really to report. He did not practice today. Devon Modster took all the reps, along with Matt Lynch. I wish I could tell you. I wish I knew whether he’s going to be available or not Friday night. I just don’t know.
“Hopefully he will be. But if he’s not, then we’ll have Devon as prepared as possible to go out and play to the best of his ability,” Mora continued. “So that’s really all I can say on that.”
Mora later added, however, a few tidbits concerning Rosen. The Heisman Trophy candidate and projected high NFL draft pick suffered an apparent finger injury in last week’s 44-23 loss at Washington. He left the game in the third quarter and later returned in street clothes.
Mora said Rosen could play against the Utes without practicing. He declined to expound on the junior’s injuries, though, noting it was in the best interest of Rosen and the people trying to get to him the next time he plays not to answer such questions.
Rosen, who has thrown for 2,713 yards and 20 touchdowns (with eight interceptions) this season, is being followed by a large contingent of NFL scouts. They aren’t the only ones who have taken note of his skill set.
"I think he is tremendous. He is the whole package. You look at the way he operates in the pocket with his release and arm strength, he looks like an NFL quarterback right now,” said Utah coach Kyle Whittingham. “There is no difference from what I can see whether you are watching him on Sundays or watching him on Saturdays. He is a tremendous talent.”
As for the upcoming game, Whittingham doesn’t know whether the Utes will face Rosen or not.
“The freshman behind him did a nice job. He came in and looks very similar as far as his tools,” Whittingham said. “He doesn't have the experience that Josh does, but we will just have to wait and see. It didn't do us any good last week when (Oregon’s) starter was out, so you can't be overly concerned about that.”
UCLA enters the game with the Pac-12’s leading receiver. Senior Darren Andrews, who has 57 catches for 707 yards and nine touchdowns, averages 7.1 receptions per game.
Other Bruins to watch include senior defensive back Jaleel Wadood and junior linebacker Josh Woods. Both players have made 57 tackles this season. Defense, though, has been a weakness for UCLA. The Bruins are 11th in the Pac-12 in scoring defense (37.6 ppg) and 12th in both rushing defense (307.1 ypg) and total defense (487.5 ypg).
The season started with a thrilling 45-44 come-from-behind victory over Texas A&M. UCLA’s other non-conference games included a 56-23 win over Hawaii and a 48-45 loss at Memphis. Pac-12 play includes victories over Colorado (27-23) and Oregon (31-14), as well as setbacks to Stanford (58-34), Arizona (47-30) and Washington.
• • •
UCLA (4-4, 2-3)
at Utah (4-4, 1-4)
Friday, 7:30 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 700AM