Theo Howard

Getty Images

Oklahoma adds grad transfer WR from Marshall

Leave a comment

Oklahoma doesn’t typically need help in its wide receiver room, but help just arrived. Obi Obialo announced on Sunday he is now a Sooner.

Obialo arrives from Marshall, where he caught 79 passes in three seasons. After ranking second on the club with 42 grabs for 505 yards and four touchdowns in 2018, Obialo missed the first nine games of 2019 with a foot injury before snaring 18 balls over the final four, including an 8-catch, 146-yard performance in his Nov. 15 debut in a 31-14 win over Louisiana Tech.

He’ll join UCLA transfer Theo Howard as the second graduate transfer wide receiver on Oklahoma’s 2020 roster. The Sooners will likely turn to rising sophomores Jadon Haselwood, Theo Wease and Trejan Bridges to replace CeeDee Lamb‘s 1,327 yards and 14 touchdowns, while Howard and Obialo will look to duplicate graduated-senior Nick Basquine and Lee Morris, who combined to catch 37 passes for 605 yards and two touchdowns.

Obialo has now transferred twice in his college career. The Coppell, Texas, walked on at Oklahoma State in 2016 and caught two passes for 11 yards as a true freshman. He could be the first player to wear Cowboy orange and Sooner crimson in a Bedlam game; he did not record a statistic in Oklahoma State’s 38-20 loss on Dec. 3, 2016.

Oklahoma confirms addition of UCLA transfer WR Theo Howard

Oklahoma Sooners football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

Just ahead of the championship game kicking off, there’s been some confirmation as to the latest addition to the Oklahoma Sooners football roster.

Last week, Theo Howard indicated on social media that he will be transferring to Oklahoma and continuing his playing career with the Sooners.  The announcement came nearly three months after the wide receiver decided to transfer from UCLA.

Late Monday afternoon, the official Twitter account of the Oklahoma Sooners football program confirmed Howard’s signing.

Prior to the OU announcement, Howard had also considered Arizona, Baylor, Oregon State, TCU and Washington.

Howard graduated from UCLA in December, giving him immediate eligibility at OU this coming season.

In 2018, Howard earned honorable mention All-Pac-12 honors after catching 51 passes for 677 yards and four touchdowns. Because of a pair of hand injuries that sidelined him for a sizable chunk of 2019, Moore didn’t record a catch this past season for the Bruins.  Because he played in fewer than four games, he was able to use a redshirt for the 2019 season.

During his time at UCLA, Howard totaled 1,359 yards and nine touchdowns on 119 receptions. In a loss to OU in September of 2018, Howard caught two passes for 53 yards.  He didn’t record a catch in the Bruins’ loss to the Sooners this past September.

Report says a 10th UCLA football player has entered transfer portal

UCLA Bruins football
Getty Images
Leave a comment

If nothing else, personnel attrition is something the UCLA Bruins football program knows all too well under Chip Kelly.

Back in mid-October, it was reported that a whopping 63 players had left Kelly’s team since November of 2017 for various reasons. As a result, we wrote at the time, not only was the team down a number of scholarship players, but the bulk of those remaining were young and inexperienced — with some 53% of the roster was made up of freshmen alone.

Fast-forward three months or so, and the Los Angeles Times is reporting that a 10th player has made his way into the NCAA transfer database since. The 10th is Matt Lynch, who announced via Twitter that, “[a]fter a lot of thought and discussion with my family, we think it is best for my situation to enter my name into the Transfer Portal.”

According to the Times, “Lynch walked with the departing seniors before the Bruins’ final home game against California in November, but coach Chip Kelly said last month that Lynch intended to return to the team in 2020.”

Lynch will be leaving the Bruins as a graduate transfer, which would give him immediate eligibility at another FBS school in 2020.  The player will be entering his final season of eligibility.

Lynch came to UCLA as a quarterback, a three-star 2016 prospect rated as the No. 30 pro-style signal-caller in the country.  He attempted three passes as a redshirt freshman, completing two of them for 11 yards and a touchdown.

During spring practice in 2019, however, the 6-4, 230-pound Lynch moved to tight end.  Playing in all 12 games, he caught one pass for two yards.  That one reception, though, went for a touchdown.

As for those other Bruins who have entered the portal the past couple of months?

[T]ight end Joshua Harris; defensive linemen David Vardanian and Marcus Moore; offensive lineman Bryan Weitzman; receiver Theo Howard; running back Kenroy Higgins II; and linebackers Tyree Thompson, Je’Vari Anderson and Noah Keeter in the transfer portal. Thompson and Anderson would require NCAA waivers for an additional season of eligibility.

Report: 63 players have left UCLA football program since Chip Kelly arrived in Westwood

Getty Images

Will the last one left in Westwood turn out the lights?

That’s one sentiment emerging from the westside of Los Angeles in the wake of an LA Times report into the concerning number of departures from the UCLA football program since the much ballyhooed arrival of head coach Chip Kelly. In what one outlet that covers the team described as a purge, some 63 players (!!) have left the team since November 2017 — a truly eye-opening number that is outside of the norm for most regime changes.

“You could have 35 scholarships available but you can only replace 25, so you’re down,” Kelly told the paper. “So I think we were at 76 [scholarship players] to start the season this year, so we’re down nine scholarship players that other people in our league have. … You can’t replace them in one class, you have to take it over time.”

Wideout Theo Howard was the latest to leave Westwood last week, with Kelly mostly being fine with the departures by citing players ability to find the right situation for them. Playing time was obviously a big driver according to the Times but being closer to home, issues with medical clearance and other factors were also cited by players for leaving. As a result, not only was the team down a number of scholarship players but the bulk of those remaining were young and inexperienced — with some 53% of the roster being made up of freshmen alone.

There’s been a lot of people wondering about Kelly’s tenure and how it’s gone off the rails lately (4-14 overall record) but a look at the roster — or more accurately who is not on it — might provide the biggest clue as to why UCLA has struggled so much under their high profile head coach.

No Rosen, no problem for UCLA as they lead Kansas State at halftime of Cactus Bowl

Getty Images
1 Comment

UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen went through all the motions of playing in Tuesday night’s Cactus Bowl but as expected (and reported), the potential first round pick in the 2018 NFL Draft emerged for the coin toss in warmups after doctors would not clear him to go. Somewhat surprisingly as a result, his Bruins didn’t struggle all that much on offense with his absence and took a 17-7 lead over Kansas State into halftime at Chase Field.

Rosen’s replacement, Devon Modster, had his moments as both a passer and a runner. He finished the first two quarters with 215 yards passing and a pair of touchdown while also adding a dimension with his legs (19 yards). Jordan Lasley did most of the work on the team’s first big scoring play, racing 52 yards up the sideline off a quick pass and fishing the half with 90 yards all together. Fellow wideout Theo Howard got loose for the other touchdown, a 70-yard bomb off play action that completed fooled one of the better Big 12 defenses around.

J.J. Molson also chipped in a 44 yard field goal to open scoring in the game.

Skylar Thompson got the start at quarterback for the Wildcats but it was Alex Delton who proved to be the biggest threat behind center, rushing for a 68-yard touchdown on his first snap nearly untouched. Given the struggles that UCLA has had stopping the run, it was a bit shocking to see the team struggle somewhat to run the ball outside of that big play. Offensive line issues and injuries may have played a role in that but tailback Alex Barnes couldn’t find much room at all and had only 38 yards on the ground.

When it comes to halftime adjustments though, don’t put one past the ol’ Wizard as Bill Snyder is one of the best in the sport in that respect. Still, his opposite number in interim UCLA head coach Jedd Fisch has gotten the better of him so far and will be looking to close out a successful stint in Westwood with a bowl win out in the desert.