UCLA football prepares for Cam Rising’s potential season debut – Daily News

The UCLA football team is coming off a near-shutout performance against North Carolina Central and will turn its attention to an offense that has questions at quarterback going into the week.

Utah quarterback and former Newbury Park High standout Cam Rising missed the first three games of the season, after suffering an ACL injury he sustained during the Rose Bowl game against Penn State in January.

Utah coach Kyle Whittingham told local reporters last week that “he’s day to day.”

“We are at the direction of the medical staff,” Whittingham said. “(The surgeon is) the one that is the ultimate guy that says thumbs up or thumbs down for playing.”

Notable sports physician Neal ElAttrache, who is based out of Los Angeles, is Rising’s surgeon and will make the final decision on whether the quarterback will play this week.

ElAttrache most recently worked on New York Jets quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ Achilles and is the head physician for the Rams and Dodgers.

While the 11th-ranked Utes (3-0) continue to wait to hear this week’s decision on ElAttrache, Rising was already back practicing with the team last week without limitations.

“I have a ton of respect for Cam Rising,” UCLA coach Chip Kelly said. “I think he’s an amazing competitor. We’ve played against him before. He’s been one of the top quarterbacks, not only in this league but in the country for a long time.”

Rising has led the Utes to back-to-back Pac-12 Conference titles. The 22nd-ranked Bruins (3-0) will prepare for Rising as if he were going to play and believe if he does play, he will be “the full version” of himself.

The defense will also be prepared for Nate Johnson, who started at quarterback for the Utes’ game against Weber State.

“He may be one of the fastest quarterbacks in the country,” Kelly said of Johnson. “He was a 100-meter (runner) here in the state of California and really active but he can also throw the ball really well too. … They have more of a run package with him than they would with Cam so you have to prepare for it all.”

The last time the Bruins played in Salt Lake City, they were without their starting quarterback, Dorian Thompson-Robinson, who was questionable throughout the week but eventually sat out the 2021 game due to an injury he suffered the week prior against Oregon. Ethan Garbers made his first start for the Bruins that week.

Garbers is still with the Bruins but true freshman quarterback Dante Moore has started the last two games for UCLA.

Kelly remains uncommitted to naming a starting quarterback, saying that he wants to see how the week progresses before making that decision.

“Two years ago when we played this game against Utah, Alec Anderson was our starting tackle all week long and then got declared out on Friday morning, so that’s one of the reasons we don’t get into who’s going to start on a Monday.”


Cornerback Jaylin Davies made his first start of the year Saturday in place of Devin Kirkwood, who had allowed receivers to get behind him on potential explosive plays against San Diego State.

Davies didn’t record a tackle in the NCC game, which featured 101 different Bruins getting on the field including Kirkwood, who had one solo tackle.

“I think Jaylin did a really nice job but you guys get into starters more than we get into starters.,” Kelly said. “We rotated a ton of players and I know he didn’t play the most in the secondary in that game. Who takes the first snap of the game is inconsequential in our minds.”


Offensive lineman Siale Taupaki made his return against North Carolina Central after missing most of last season with an undisclosed injury.

The senior played against Bowling Green and Alabama State before the injury. He also missed the entire 2021 season.

“He played about 19 or 20 snaps and did a good job in his first extended period back,” Kelly said. “We will continue to monitor him. … We are excited for him and I know how hard he’s worked to return to play so it was cool to see his hard work pay off.”


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