On Thursday’s practice:
“I’m very excited about the way we practiced today. This is what we needed. I feel much better about the week, and very excited to practice Sunday. We’re 0-0, we start a new season, and we’re eager to get off to a good start.”
On winning the Pac-10:
“When you’re at UCLA, and you walk into a hall of fame that has 103 national championship trophies, you can’t become part of that scene until you win a Pac-10 championship. That season starts this next weekend.”
On Christian Ramirez’ recovery:
“We had him in a little scrimmage, got him some live action there at the end, and I hope he’s ok. He got up a little hobbled there. He’s got to start playing through that.”
On Gavin Ketchum’s recovery:
“He’s getting there. It’s been a while. He doesn’t seem right now willing to explode out of it. But that’s why this bye week is so important.”
On Kevin Prince losing weight with a broken jaw:
“He’s a put together kid. He’s been working out. He’s been running. He’ll be fine.”
On the battle at cornerback with Aaron Hester down:
“Sheldon Price is now competing, and Courtney has to win that job back from him. Sheldon has had the job. We’ll have plenty more opportunities the next couple weeks to see who’s ready to play.”
On if the Prince injury should have been called a helmet-to-helmet penalty:
“I play linebacker, so I hope they never throw that flag. The hardest part of your equipment is a piece of steal, your facemask. I’m leading with my facemask every time. If you catch me, you catch me. But it didn’t look like it was that bad of a hit.”
On UCLA’s quarterback health issues:
“Wow, they do go down every year. I think this year we’re a close team, were tight, we tell the offense regardless of who’s back there, we’re going to play our game. We should be fine, we’re not going to let them score too many points.”
On confidence with Prince gone:
“If they don’t score, regardless how many picks our quarterback throws, it doesn’t matter. I don’t know if it will give us something more; maybe it’ll be motivation, more fuel to the fire. Maybe we have to play great now because our quarterback is down.”
On Kevin Prince’s injury:
“It hurt my feelings. It really hurt my feelings. I asked him if I could play still. He said, no they had to wire his mouth shut. I said just don’t get hit. I told him we’d hold it down for him until he got back.”
On the defensive performance:
“We played a tough and strong game, but had a few mental errors. It’s still game two and there’s room to get better. But 208 yards of total offense you can’t be too mad. After watching Tennessee’s first game and they had 380 yards rushing, for us to hold them to 208 total yards in Tennessee, in front of 102,000 people, it was great.”
On defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough’s game plan:
It was big. He had us watching tape and schemed them up great. He was confident that they would stick to their game plan. Everybody did their job. They kind of came out and gave us what we expected, and we played to it.
I just checked my voicemail, where I heard these exact words:
Check your email.
Prince has a fractured jaw, and is out 3-4 weeks.
Here’s what the email said…
KEVIN PRINCE TO MISS THREE TO FOUR WEEKS WITH FRACTURED JAW
UCLA redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Prince has a fractured jaw and will be out three to four weeks, head coach Rick Neuheisel announced today.
Prince was injured late in the 19-15 win at Tennessee when he was hit on a third-down play in the Bruins’ end zone. He returned only to kneel on the final two snaps of the win.
He was examined in the locker room after the game and returned to Los Angeles with the team. He had x-rays this morning that confirmed the fracture on the right side of his jaw. His jaw will be wired shut to assist with the healing process.
“This is a tough blow for Kevin and for our football team,” said Neuheisel. “We hope Kevin recovers quickly but we have other talented quarterbacks in our program. We have confidence in all of our quarterbacks and we will get them ready to lead us against Kansas State this Saturday.”
Cory Paus remembers his first road game like it was yesterday.
And he has some words of advice for Kevin Prince, who’s first road game is tomorrow.
“All I would tell him is stick to what you know,” said Paus, who started seven games as a redshirt freshman and split time in two others. “Pay attention. Focus. Believe it. Listen to your coaches.”
And it’s not like Paus’ first road game was at Utah State.
In Week 2 of 1999, the Bruins travelled to Ohio State. Or more appropriately, most of the Bruins travelled to the Horseshoe. UCLA had nine starters and four backups out of the game because of either injury or suspension.
But Paus played, and he wishes he still was.
“It was a feeling that you constantly try to replicate,” Paus said. “I may never be able to. Any situation after football doesn’t compare to having a 100,000 people watching. A hundred thousand people aren’t showing up to watch me close a deal. That’s the biggest thing I miss. There’s no way to compare to that.”
Paus said he listened to Prince on the radio this week talk about the big game, and while he has not sat down and spoken with the young quarterback – they’ve exchanged pleasantries but no more than a quick hello – he believes Prince is ready for the game.
Or, rather, as ready as he will be.
“I listened to Prince on the radio this week – and Matt Barkley as well – and I agree with them; you can’t prepare for this,” said Paus, who now works in insurance. “There’s no way to pipe in enough music, no way to make it even closely resemble what it’s like to be on that field with people screaming and wanting to kill you. Hopefully, the preparation is there so people know what to do things with their eyes closed.
If the prep is there, it doesn’t matter how loud it is.”