Backup UCLA quarterback Devon Modster is leaving the Bruins behind in hopes of finding a chance to continue his football career elsewhere. Modster took to Twitter to announce his intent to transfer from UCLA on Friday afternoon, during UCLA’s bye week.
“I would like to thank [former UCLA head coach Jim Mora] for giving me the opportunity to play and attend such a prestigious school,” Modster said in his Twitter statement. “I’d like to thank Coach Kelly and the strength coaches for allowing me to continue to play the game I love, BUT I’ve decided to leave UCLA and pursue other opportunities.”
Modster had not recorded any stats for UCLA this season. Graduate transfer Wilton Speight has played in just one game as UCLA’s starter, and freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson has played in three games and led the offense. Perhaps the writing was on the wall with Thompson-Robinson becoming the go-to option for Kelly and the Bruins moving forward after the first few disappointing weeks.
Modster appeared in five games as a backup to Josh Rosen last season. In his five appearances, Monster completed 51 of 79 passes for 671 yards and four touchdowns without an interception.
Modster will have to sit out the 2019 season if he lands at another FBS program under NCAA transfer rules, but he will have a few years of eligibility to use.
As for Kelly, it has been a rocky start with the quarterback position. Between Speight’s injury and Thompson-Robinson’s dad ripping the head coach and now having one quarterback transfer before the end of September, what else could possibly go wrong for Kelly in his return to college football coaching?
UCLA will kick off the new college football season and the first game in the Chip Kelly era a bit shorthanded. On Monday, UCLA suspended six players for the season opener this weekend against Cincinnati for what is simply being reported as a violation of athletic department policy. Tight end Devin Asiasi, running back Soso Jamabo, defensive linemen Osa Odighizuwa and Moses Robinson-Carr, defensive back Mo Osling, and offensive lineman Boss Tagaloa will all sit out of UCLA’s home game against Cincinnati on September 1.
Bruce Feldman of The Athletic reported the news of the suspension, via Twitter.
Jamabo is one of UCLA’s top running backs returning in 2018 after rushing for 446 yards and a team-high six touchdowns last season for the Bruins in 10 games. The absence of Jamabo will likely mean more carries for senior Bolu Olorunfunmi, last year’s leading rusher for UCLA, as well as some younger options that could take advantage of the opportunity. Branden Stephens may be the most liekly to get a few more rushing attempts as a result.
Tagaloa started eight games for UCLA in 2017 and recorded 32 tackles with one sack. In nine games, Tagaloa recorded multiple tackles a year after playing in 12 games as a reserve lineman and on special teams.
Odighizuwa played in 13 games last season and recorded 15 tackles with 5.5 tackles for a loss and a sack as a backup.
Osling played in 13 games as . abackup defensive back and saw time on special teams by returning kicks. Osling recorded 18 tackles and returned nine kickoffs for an average of 18.0 yards per return.
Robinson-Carr played as a backup tight end and on special teams last season. He started one game and caught one pass for four yards.
Asiasi sat out the 2017 season after transferring to UCLA from Michigan.
UCLA has not released a depth chart for this weekend’s game at this time.
UPDATE: Now, UCLA has a depth chart. Redshirt junior Joshua Kelly sits atop the depth chart at running back. Kelley did not play in 2017 after transferring from UC Davis. No starting quarterback has been decided on at this time.
UCLA head coach Chip Kelly may have his offensive line coach. According to multiple reports on Thursday, UCLA will add Justin Frye to the coaching staff to fill the vacancy at offensive line coach. Football Scoop was among the first to report the news, and Pete Thamel of Sports Illustrated has also reported the same development via Twitter.
Frye served as the offensive line coach at Boston College, where the Eagles have established themselves with a strong running game behind an improved offensive line. Frye will be expected to produce similar results with the Bruins as Kelly looks to bring the program up to a conference championship pedigree as quickly as possible.
Phil Trautwein was recently named as a new member of the Yale coaching staff in the Ivy League, where he was to be the offensive line coach. Now, he will instead return to Boston College, where his coaching career started. Trautwein was a graduate assistant at Boston College from 2013 through 2015 before spending two seasons as a special teams coordinator and tight ends coach at Davidson. The former NFL player and Florida Gator spent four seasons in the NFL with brief stops with the St. Louis Rams, Cleveland Browns, New Orleans Saints and San Diego Chargers.
UCLA’s previous offensive line coach, Hank Fraley, has moved on to the NFL to coach the position with the Detroit Lions.
UCLA has announced it has relieved head coach Jim Mora of his coaching duties effective immediately. Offensive coordinator Jedd Fisch will take over as the team’s interim coach for the remainder of the season.
“Making a coaching change is never easy, but it’s an especially difficult decision when you know that a coach has given his all to our University,” UCLA athletics director Dan Guerrero in a released statement. “Jim helped reestablish our football program, and was instrumental in so many ways in moving the program forward. While his first four seasons at UCLA were very successful, the past two seasons have not met expectations. We thank Jim and his family for his service to our school and his unquestionable commitment to our student-athletes.”
Mora was in his sixth season as the head coach of the Bruins and it was largely a run that had some promise at times but never fully took advantage of a division that included a USC program held back by NCAA sanctions. Mora coached UCLA to two 10-win seasons in 2013 and 2014 and has seen his win totals hit 8, 4 and 5 wins in the three seasons since. What makes the Mora legacy so frustrating is he had talent to work with. Among solid recruiting classes during his time at UCLA, Mora coached two NFL quarterbacks in Brett Hundley and Josh Rosen as well as one of the top defensive players in recent years (Myles Jack) still failed to deliver a Pac-12 championship. Mora was 46-30 as UCLA’s head coach, but the trends were heading in the wrong direction at a time when crosstown rival USC continues to be rising, thus increasing the pressure for UCLA to keep up.
UCLA’s loss on Saturday night to the Trojans dropped UCLA to 5-6 on the season, leaving the Bruins in need of a win this week against Cal in order to become bowl eligible (without hoping for vacancies needing to be filled by 5-win teams). USC will play for the Pac-12 championship a year after going winning the Rose Bowl in the stadium UCLA calls home.
The UCLA job is one that should be expected to draw some interesting names to the rumor mill. Among them could end up being Chip Kelly, who doesn’t feel like a great fit in the SEC and has past success in the Pac-12 while at Oregon. UCLA’s release confirms the school will begin a national search for a new head coach.
With Florida officially on the market for a new head coach of the football program, it has not taken too long for the rumor mill to get moving. The Florida gig figures to see a number of familiar names attached to it during the rumor season, some more realistic options than others. This is also a time to never take anything for granted but also a time not to place too much faith in every little thing you read. With that in mind, Florida Athletics Director Scott Stricklin took to Twitter to confront one rumor head on.
Houston radio personality Marc Ryan shared an update on his Twitter feed claiming Florida has reached out to representatives for former Oklahoma head coach Bob Stoops, former Oregon, and NFL head coach Chip Kelly and current USF head coach Charlie Strong to speak about the open posiiton in Gainesville. According to Ryan, he says these are the top three options on the wish list for Florida.
On the surface, it would make sense for a school like Florida to contact these coaches. One is a former coach with a national championship to his name. The other was one of the top coaches in the Pac-12 before taking a stab at the NFL (and failing miserably, but so did former Florida coach Steve Spurrier). And the last one is a former Florida assistant who has redeemed his coaching pedigree a bit this season at USF, one of the top Group of Five contenders right in the state of Florida.
But just as this is the time of the year to spread coaching rumors on the internet, it is also denial season from ADs and other school officials. And Stricklin certainly had quite the denial ready to go once he saw this one making the rounds.
The quote by Edgar Allen Poe comes from a short story, “The System of Dr. Tarr and Prof. Fether,” that originally was published in a November 1845 issue of Graham’s Magazine. Even if the original report from Twitter has any validity, this is exactly what you would expect an AD to say regarding his coaching search. But at least he had some fun with it by pulling a classic quote from a literary master.