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Winless UCLA dealing with depth issues at QB after transfer

September 23, 2018

FILE - In this Sept. 8, 2018, file photo, UCLA head coach Chip Kelly stands during an NCAA college football game between UCLA and Oklahoma in Norman, Okla. Kelly is among the first-year head coaches who are struggling to start the season. The Bruins dropped to 0-3 with their 38-14 home loss to Fresno State. (AP Photo/Sue Ogrocki, File)

LOS ANGELES (AP) — UCLA returned to practice on Sunday following its bye week but coach Chip Kelly though still faces questions about his quarterbacks.

The Bruins (0-3) are lacking depth and experience at their most important position after Devon Modster announced on Twitter on Friday that he is leaving the program. Kelly said Sunday the sophomore intends to transfer to a junior college so he can be immediately eligible at a Football Bowl Subdivision program next season.

“He was in a good battle during the preseason but he feels like he wants to play now,” Kelly said.

Modster appeared in six games last year and made two starts due to an injury to Josh Rosen. He threw for four touchdowns last season and had a career-best 295 yards in the Cactus Bowl against Kansas State. UCLA, which is on the quarters system, begins classes this week.

Freshman Dorian Thompson-Robinson has played in all three games and started the past two after a back injury sidelined graduate transfer Wilton Speight. Michael Robinson, who is Thompson-Robinson’s father, took to Twitter after a 38-14 loss to Fresno State to criticize Kelly’s play calling and handling of the team.

Kelly took the comments in stride, saying that everyone is entitled to their opinion and that more criticism comes with losing. Thompson-Robinson has completed 55.7 percent of his passes with two touchdowns and two interceptions.

With Modster’s transfer, who will back up Thompson-Robinson is a concern. Speight could return for Friday’s game at Colorado but has battled back injuries the past two seasons.

Of the other three quarterbacks on the roster, only sophomore Matt Lynch has any collegiate experience. The other quarterbacks on the roster are freshmen Austin Burton and Josiah Norwood.

“We’re treating Modster’s departure like a guy has an injury. That means there is just one less guy at the position,” Kelly said.

UCLA is trying to avoid its first 0-4 start since 1971, when they went 2-7-1.

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