LOS ANGELES — Spring is a time for progress, not final decisions. For Matt Lynch and Devon Modster, it’s a time for competition.
The redshirt freshmen are vying for the backup quarterback job, which Coach Jim Mora said remains open after almost three weeks of practice.
“There’s not going to be a day where we don’t stop competing,” Lynch said.
During the first 10 practices, it was typically Modster first off the bench to lead the second offense in team periods. The former four-star prospect out of Tesoro High was elevated to the backup position in November after Josh Rosen was ruled out for the year. UCLA avoided the disaster of having to burn Modster’s redshirt during its lost season as Mike Fafaul stayed healthy.
Although he was powerless to help UCLA’s sputtering offense last year, Modster said he was glad to have retained his extra year of eligibility.
“It was just a learning experience, kind of getting used to the system and how the game is going,” he said.
Lynch was a three-star recruit from Broomfield, Colo., and enrolled early last season. He spent the offseason ironing out his throwing motion with quarterback coach Warren McCarty, trying to shorten the motion while fighting the desire to drop his shoulder. Going through his second spring practice, Lynch said his knowledge of the game has increased the most in the past year with the help of Rosen.
“(I’m) always learning from Josh because there’s always something new that comes up in practice or different plays, so just trying to pick his brain a little bit,” Lynch said.
Instead of rushing to identify a backup quarterback, Mora is content watching the redshirt freshmen progress while learning UCLA’s new scheme this spring.
“What I see is two guys who are getting better every practice,” Mora said. “So I’m just encouraged by the way both of those guys are coming along.”
SPRING SCRIMMAGE PLANNED
UCLA’s spring game will indeed be a real game. Probably. Knock on wood.
Barring significant injuries in the final week of spring practice, the Bruins will punctuate their monthlong spring camp with an official scrimmage in Drake Stadium, Mora said.
UCLA has been fortunate to avoid major injuries this spring with only DeChaun Holiday being the major loss. The safety/linebacker suffered a right shoulder injury last week and hasn’t returned to the field, but was seen Thursday without his sling for the first time since the injury occurred. Tight end Austin Roberts was sidelined with an undisclosed injury, but returned to the field Thursday.
“I see them understanding how to practice with a level of physicality without cheap shots,” Mora said of weathering injury concerns this spring. “The defensive backs understand that they’re not going to blow a receiver up just to blow him up. They know how to practice.”
The last time the Bruins capped off a spring practice slate with an official spring game was 2014 at StubHub Center. The previous two years,…