A brief run of offensive plays had UCLA coaches fuming early during the scrimmage portion of practice.
First, four defenders chased quarterback Kevin Prince for a loss.
Second, Prince overthrew a pass.
Then, a Johnathan Franklin fumble.
Once more, Another Prince overthrow and finally a Richard Brehaut pass that landed 12 feet from anyone in either white or blue jerseys.
Finally, Brehaut righted the ship with a nice pass to tight end Logan Paulsen, eliciting cheers all over the field.
Speaking about Prince – and by no means am I an expert, hell I was an offensive guard in high school – it is abudantly clear that he’s taken the reins as leader of the offense.
It’s in the little things.
When I covered one of the UCLA spring scrimmages, Prince wasn’t exactly lost in the huddle, but he certainly was not the force he is now.
On Monday, Prince simply sounded louder than the other UCLA quarterbacks, almost angry, always with something to say. Sure, it’s a little thing – Bruins fans should concern themselves more with his arm than his throat! – but it matters.
Especially to the offensive linemen.
Kevin Prince on what the offense needs to most improve upon:
“If you don’t protect the ball, you’re not going to score. That was something we struggled with last year. It’s the number one thing going into this year that we have to fix. It’s extremely important to avoid those types of throws. That’s one of the biggest momentum changes in sports. But that’s what we practice for – to get in those situations and learn from them.”
I’m heading to practice around 2 p.m. so I can try to pick up on anything out there. Things will really pick up around 5 this afternoon if you want to check back then.
Over the next hour or so, I’ll post some extra quotes from yesterday by UCLA’s top mouthpieces: Rick Neuheisel, Kevin Prince and Christian Ramirez.
Thanks for reading, folks.
Also, just checking before I do this, but would anyone enjoy some good YouTube clips of all things Blue and Gold?
Good morning all,
Here’s The Daily News UCLA notebook from the first day of practice, including a brief story on how Kevin Prince is handling his old high school knee injury, two years later.
Working with both the first and third teams, freshman tight end Morrell Presley (Carson High) was one of the surprises of Day 1. While there are plenty of tight end options, Presley appeared to be in the mix to at least see some time, based on three or four nice catches from Kevin Prince.
Presley had one particularly impressive grab near the end of practice, leaping to catch a ball before falling out of bounds, right over the outstretched arms of a leaping Kyle Bosworth.
Presley, on his status with the team:
In some parts of the program, I’m really not even considered a freshman,” Presley said. “They don’t treat me like one. They’ve thrown me in with the older dudes. I eat with the older dudes. I even grew up with a couple of them, went to middle school with them.”
On his chances to get some playing time:
“Everything is about competition out here,” Presley said. “It doesn’t matter how young you are. You can run a 4.2, be the fastest dude on the team, and still if you can’t routes or have an understanding of the routes, you’re not going to play.”
Kevin Prince, on Presley:
“He’s a great athlete, and he’s starting to learn everything,” Prince said. “He was here in the spring with us, but he’s still learning every day. He’s doing well, and I think he’ll be able to contribute in the fall. I hope so – he’s a great athlete.”
On the new faces in the offense:
“They’re new to you guys, but they’ve all been here,” Paulsen said. “We’ve been working out with those guys. Christian (Ramirez) was on the team last year. Kevin Prince has been here. It’s a little different, but everyone is sort of just filling in where they’re supposed to fill in.”
On where the team stands after one practice session:
“Right now, we’ve got the puzzle on the table, and we’re kind of putting it together,” Paulsen said. “We kind of see where everything is going, but we’re not 100 percent sure yet. That’s what camp is for, to solidify that puzzle and make sure it holds true during the season.”
Practice is wrapping up, but I’ll be bringing you some player comments shortly.
Things were pretty breezy out there, but a couple players raised some eyebrows, including a freshman whom I spoke with. Players mentioned that the practice definitely took on a serious tone as the day wore on, with coach Rick Neuheisel staying on top of guys.
Stay tuned for one-on-one quotes, including Logan Paulsen, Alterraun Verner and Kevin Prince.
On new starting quarterback Kevin Prince:
“He lines up in the huddle, he has 10 guys looking at him, waiting for him to call the play, waiting for him to direct the offense,” Austin said. “It hasn’t been gameday yet, he’s going to have his jitters of course, but he sits there and directs the offense, no problem. He’s not nervous, he’s confident when he speaks to us; if there’s something wrong, he fixes it. That’s darn good for a redshirt freshman. I don’t think he has anything but upside to him.
“When he walks around campus he’s a cool cat, but when he steps on the field, it’s different – he’s leading us and directing us.”
On finding positives in the offense last season:
“There were definitely some positives last year,” Austin said. “The charisma on offense – we just kept going. We had some setbacks. One game we threw five interceptions, but we came back and won the game. That’s something a lot of people didn’t see last year. When you have a team that has the ability to still go on each game and make an effort, all you have to do is make some changes to make it.”
Rick Neuheisel on starting quartback Kevin Prince at UCLA Media Day:
“Much will be on his shoulders as the quarterback. The quarterback position can’t escape responsibility. I think he’s got the gift. It’s a great coaching challenge for Norm. Not only as the QB coach but as the coordinator. We’ve got to not put everything on (Kevin’s) shoulders.”