Spaulding Roundup: Spring Impressions

So Brian Dohn becomes the second beat writer (joining OC Register's Adam Maya) to drop the "starter" word wrt to Kevin Prince. From today's Daily News:

Spring practice is two-thirds complete, the pecking order of quarterbacks is yet to change and there is an air at Spaulding Field that redshirt freshman Kevin Prince already secured the starting job.

Yet, with no announcement looming, the Crespi High of Encino product is plugging along.

"It tells me I've got to keep working because nothing is official," Prince said. "Until they make an announcement, there's nothing set in stone. And even then, you don't want to change the way you work.

"Regardless of if I'm named the starter or not, it's not going to change the approach I have to practice, and to learning everything."

For his part CRN doesn't seem to be any kind of hurry to make an announcement:

"I'm not pressed to make a decision at the quarterback position," Neuheisel said. "I can keep putting pressure on guys and find out how they respond to pressure. The longer I can do that, the more I'm going to find out about each of the candidates."

Makes sense to me. Speaking of competition, it seems (reading from the report) Jonathan "Jet Ski" Franklin is making an impression with his coaches:

"My attitude has been to focus every day like it's a game," said Franklin, who was a redshirt as a freshman last fall. "There isn't a lot of time to show the coaches what you have, and there are a lot of tailbacks. I just have to lay it all out there."

Franklin was one of the "bright spots" in last week's scrimmage, Coach Rick Neuheisel said. He had 45 yards rushing, scoring the only touchdown on a five-yard run. Franklin had a team-high nine carries, which "we did on purpose to see if he would get tired," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said.

He didn't.

Franklin displayed his speed and jitterbug abilities on a 16-yard run during the touchdown drive. The payoff was some time with the first-team offense this week.

"He showed a little bit in camp last year," running backs coach Wayne Moses said. "He was not as consistent or as strong as he is now. He has gotten stronger and more mature physically. Consequently, he's a little stronger in what he's doing mentally."

Whether that translates into significant playing time in the fall is to be seen, but Moses said, "He has demonstrated he can get out and be a multi-touch guy, whether carrying the ball or throwing to him."

And if anyone is wondering why some of the other talented young backs haven't been able to get ahead of the log jab at RB, I think this comment from Chow should answer that question again (emphasis added):

"The young ones have to learn to pass-protect," said Chow, who added, "You can't just go out and play right now. You have to separate yourself."

I am not sure how many times we have made that point when discussing young backs such as Dean and Knox, but there it is again. I am sure those guys are working hard to get down those blocking techniques and they will eventually get there.

Speaking of getting somewhere, per Adam Maya's report in the OC Register, Presley is always going "100 mph":

"He's going 100 mph," receivers coach Reggie Moore said. "If he makes a mistake he's going 100 mph making a mistake. And he'll come back and get it right."

Presley is officially listed as a 6-4, 222-pound tight end, though he is about 10 pounds lighter. Calling him a tight end might be premature, too.

"We're under the premise that with his skills he's able to play on the edge," Moore said. "Right now, body-wise, he's probably an H-back type. He's a little undersized but we're going to work him into maybe being a full-time tight end."

That might have to wait, as tight end is one of the few positions where the Bruins should be deep come fall. Moreover, UCLA receivers have struggled to get off the line all spring, making room for Presley to work as an H-back — more motion, less blocking.

"I don't plan on sitting on the bench behind anybody," said Presley, whose practice was cut short Thursday because of a leg cramp, but who also stuck around to lead the Bruins' huddle signaling the end of practice.

Man, I can't wait to see number 7 in action. Speaking of which the coaches have scheduled an 80 play scrimmage for this afternoon (starting at 4 pm PST). If you have time please head down there and check them out. Let us know who is making the best impressions as spring football (we are already done with two-thirds of it) winds down to a grand scrimmage extravaganza at the Rose Bowl.

GO BRUINS.

 

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