coach Jim Mora said quarterback Josh Rosen did not practice Monday after being sidelined because of unspecified injuries suffered against on Saturday, but Mora did not rule him out from playing against on Friday.
“I wish I knew whether he will be available Friday night,” Mora said. “I just don’t know.”
Mora said Rosen would not need to practice this week to play for the Bruins (4-4 overall, 2-3 Conference) against the Utes (4-4, 1-4) at Rice-Eccles Stadium in Salt Lake City.
Mora declined to specify the nature of Rosen’s injuries, saying it was a protective measure against teams that might target those areas. The game broadcast appeared to show a cut on one of Rosen’s hands.
Mora took issue with some of the comments made during the ESPN broadcast that seemed to question Rosen’s durability after he left the game midway through the third quarter.
“I think it’s ludicrous that anyone would question Josh Rosen’s toughness when they don’t know the nature of his injury,” Mora said. “In all fairness to my comment, for a broadcaster who knows zippo about what’s going on down there to question the toughness of Josh Rosen is. … I don’t know, I guess it drives ratings. I don’t know.
“Maybe the producer was talking in his ear. But it doesn’t make any sense to me that [analyst] Brock Huard has any way to question Josh Rosen. But that’s his job. So I do understand that’s his job.”
Mora, who like Huard is an alumnus of Washington, said he had known the former Huskies quarterback a long time but did not consider him a friend.
“I would put very little stock into anything that Brock Huard has to say about football,” Mora said. “That will be controversial. But it’s the truth. … I’ve known that kid since he was in college.”
Backup quarterbacks Devon Modster and Matt Lynch took all the practice snaps Monday with Rosen unavailable. Modster rebounded from a slow start to complete seven of 12 passes for 77 yards and a touchdown during UCLA’s 44-23 loss to Washington, appearing more comfortable the longer he stayed in the game.
“The game, it looked like, just slowed down for him and he was making good throws on the money and we went right down the field and scored a touchdown,” center Scott Quessenberry said. “We know Devon can make all the throws, we see it out here [on the practice fields] all the time. So I’m sure we’re not changing the game plan up very much. I mean, that’s not my decision to make [as to which quarterback will play], but we’re extremely confident in Devon.”
Modster, a redshirt freshman, had played in only one game before Saturday, throwing three passes near the end of a blowout victory over Hawaii.
Rosen leads the Pac-12 in passing yards (2,713), passing yards per game (339.1) and total offense (333.9 yards per game) even after departing prematurely against the Huskies. He finished the game completing 12 of 21 passes for a career-low 93 yards with one touchdown.
Quessenberry said he spoke with Rosen on the sideline after he returned from the locker room late in the game.
“We just were reassuring and telling Josh we’ve got his back and [saying], ‘Let’s go win this football game,’ ” Quessenberry said, “and obviously we came up short.”
Rosen missed the Bruins’ final six games last season and the team went 1-5 on the way to a 4-8 record. It’s a scenario that UCLA would prefer not to repeat with four games left in the season.
“Last year, we dealt the whole year without him and it was obviously pretty frustrating,” Quessenberry said. “I said this over and over again in the offseason: Josh is the ultimate competitor and if he could have been out there, he would have been. It’s really tough. It’s tough to lose anyone.”
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