UCLA QB Dante Moore continues to improve in Chip Kelly’s offense

PUBLISHED August 2, 2023 at 6:10 p.m. | UPDATED: August 2, 2023 at 7:29 p.m.
LOS ANGELES — The spotlight is back on UCLA’s quarterback battle, which remains the biggest unanswered question as the Bruins began their camp Wednesday.
True freshman Dante Moore remains a top contender for the starting role along two returners, redshirt junior Ethan Garbers and redshirt freshman Justyn Martin, and Kent State transfer Collin Schlee.
Kelly proved early in his UCLA tenure that he’s not afraid to play a younger quarterback, but Moore, a four-year starter at Martin Luther King High School in Detroit, will have to prove he’s capable of handling Kelly’s highly regarded offense.
“We had a great offense in high school, but coming here we have an NFL-style offense,” Moore said. “There are different things you have to change if you’re at the line of scrimmage or adjusting if you see different types of coverages.”
Kelly decided to play true freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson after Wilton Speight missed time due to an injury in 2018. Thompson-Robinson went on to become the Bruins’ primary starter for the next four years.
The 6-foot-2, 210-pound Moore was originally committed to Oregon, but the five-star recruit flipped his commitment to UCLA in December after Ducks offensive coordinator Kenny Dillingham took the head coaching job at Arizona State.
Garbers took a majority of the first-team reps during the spring, but Moore has made the most of his opportunities as an early enrollee and gained the respect and confidence of his teammates.
“He’s one of those guys who is naturally talented but he puts in the work,” UCLA wide receiver Kam Brown said. “He’s a grinder. That’s one of the first things I noticed about him when he first came in. … It’s exciting to see him progress each week and I think the sky’s the limit for him.”
Moore has been held in high regard throughout the offseason as a “freshman to watch” by college football pundits. Kelly will have the final say ahead of the Sept. 5 season opener against Coastal Carolina by picking the quarterback that gives the Bruins “the best chance to win,” he said last month at Pac-12 media day in Las Vegas.
Linebacker Ale Kaho was spotted in the weight room during the media viewing portion of practice.
Kaho has been out due to an injury for more than a year, but Kelly indicated last month that the linebacker should be ready to go for camp.
Kaho transferred from Alabama and made two starts in 11 games played in 2021. He recorded 32 tackles, three sacks and forced a fumble. He also blocked a punt in his UCLA debut against Hawai’i.
What a difference a year can make in college football.
The Big Ten and the Pac-12 had teamed up with the ACC to form “The Alliance,” hoping to combat any further expansion by the SEC after Oklahoma and Texas announced their departure from the Big 12 in 2021.
While UCLA was able to secure a level of stability with its decision to move to the Big Ten Conference in 2024, the Pac-12’s existence appears to be in jeopardy.
Reports surfaced again Wednesday that the Big Ten could be interested in further expanding its footprint out on the West Coast by looking to add Oregon, Washington, Stanford and Cal.
The Tournament of Roses provided the Southern California News Group with a statement on the situation involving the two conferences that traditionally play in the Rose Bowl Game at the end of the college football season each year.
“The Tournament of Roses is supportive of our long-standing partners at the Pac-12 Conference,” the statement read. “Conference realignment and regular season broadcast rights do not impact the Rose Bowl Game or the upcoming 12-team College Football Playoff, which the Rose Bowl Game will be a part of in 2024.”
Senior defensive lineman Laiatu Latu was named to the Bronko Nagurski Trophy watch list. The award is voted on by members of the media and presented to the nation’s best defensive player.
Redshirt senior center Duke Clemens was named to the Outland Trophy watch list, which is also voted on by the media and awarded to the best interior lineman at the end of the season.

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