Let's pick up this morning with the story about four Bruins - Viney, Knox, Carroll and Presley - getting suspended for the KSU game. So far Viney has offered up a public statement about the suspension (spotted by Insomniac) in which the sophomore (presumably speaking on behalf of all four) took full responsibility for their actions:
"We violated a team rule and it’s a fair decision," Viney said. "You’ve just got to take it and move forward from here."
Viney then added the following wrt to preparation for KSU:
"The team is well prepared, regardless, for Kansas State this week," Viney said. "They’ll go out and be on top of their game."
At this point I don't really have anything else to add beyond what I wrote last night and will shift back into the game prep mode. Looks like it might be true freshman Sheldon Price (who already got some action against San Diego State) who could take up Viney's spot at practice:
"I got guys falling left and right," said Carnell Lake, who coaches the cornerbacks. "I got to get Sheldon Price as many reps as I can. I got to throw him to the fire in practice."
Sheldon got majority of the reps yesterday, however coaches gave Abbott some practice time yesterday as well as Coach Bullough wants to see who picks up his scheme the best:
"We're going to play the guy who knows what he's doing the most," UCLA defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough said. "More than matching the guys, we're trying to get a guy out there who knows what he's doing. They've got great coaches who teach them if they're shorter against a big guy what to do, if they're taller against a short guy what to do."
Price looked unsure at times against seasoned wide receivers Terrence Austin, a senior, and sophomore Taylor Embree. However, lined up across Verner, one of the top cornerbacks in the country, he expects to settle into the role.
"He meets with the guys during the week, and when we're game planning, he's like an extra coach," Bullough said of Verner. "He knows everything, knows the defense inside out. He talks guys through stuff, just a calming presence out there."
If there is a silver lining here, it is that our CB corps should be well seasoned by the time we get into the Pac-10 schedule. Also, I am sure ATV will remind Sheldon (and Ty) about how he also got his start as a true freshman at UCLA (and did some memorable things in his first game (Utah) and throughout rest of that year). Sheldon is going to be all right.
So no official decision yet on who will be starting at the QB spot on Saturday. However, here were the breakdown on number of snaps taken with the first team in yesterday's practice:
Brehaut was with the first team during practice most of Tuesday. He spent 45 plays with the first team in 11-on-11 drills, including the last 12 against the first-team defense. Craft, who threw a school record 20 interceptions in 2008, had 18 plays with the first team.
"I came in early so I could get this opportunity," said Brehaut, who enrolled at UCLA last April to participate in spring practice. "I'm prepared to go out and have some fun."
We have followed Brehaut's progression (via news reports) pretty closely here on BN. The article linked above is a profile from Chris Foster of the LAT, detailing Brehaut's thorough preparation to be the Bruin QB at UCLA:
Brehaut was a talented catcher whose focus was baseball, but that changed his junior year in high school. After losing a baseball playoff game, Brehaut and his father drove straight to Berkeley so he could participate in a Nike camp the next day. He won the Elite 11 competition despite being one of the few sophomores in attendance.
"We walked in there with nothing but the shirts on our back and Richard won the whole thing," Daniel Brehaut said. "I knew then that baseball might take a back seat."
Brehaut polished his skills working with noted quarterback coaching guru Steve Clarkson, one of the pioneers in tutoring young quarterbacks.
"These kids are playing quarterback year-round," said Coach Rick Neuheisel, who played quarterback at UCLA. "They are learning all sorts of different things and talking schemes. They are clearly further along than we were in my day."
Painter also writes how Brehaut is ready for his moment:
Brehaut left high school early and enrolled at UCLA to participate in spring practices, which makes starting him Saturday all the more easier.
Offensive coordinator Norm Chow shouldn't have to close the playbook.
"He's athletic. He can throw," Chow said. "He's capable of making plays. He has to do it within the framework of our offense."
And added how Breuhaut is probably the right choice to start on Saturday:
The Bruins already know what Craft can do. We know the kid is resilient. He always got up when knocked down, even when he threw four first-half interceptions last year against Tennessee. But he wasn't the answer.
We don't know how Brehaut will do in a game situation, as he has thrown only two passes - completing both - for 39 yards late in a season-opening blowout of San Diego State.
But it's a great time to find out.
Generally agree with that take. I think he still has to prove himself to the coaches during practices this week and earn it though. Plus CRN and Chow will have the final say on this matter and given their experience with QBs, we are not going to be questioning their decision on this topic whatever it turns out to be.
The key for Richard again is going to stay as composed as possible feeling without any kind of pressure. Lucky for him he has some decent talent to work around him and the offensive line this season looks little more capable from the one from last year. He needs to trust his team-mates ability to do their part and then just focus on his responsibility to execute. Here is a former Bruin QB who knows a little something about starting as a true freshman:
"You don't have the responsibility squarely on your shoulders, and it's up to the coaches to make sure the quarterback, whether he's a senior or true freshman, doesn't have everything squarely on his shoulders," McNown said. "It needs to be spread out throughout the team. They'll want to go in with a game plan he can execute. Keep it simple and go from there."
I expect the coaches to design a pretty conservative game plan (no matter who is at the QB), which will require the OL to really exert themselves on the KSU defensive frontline. If the OL can open up some running lanes early for DC and Franklin to bust throug, give Brehaut (or Craft) enough time to complete short, safe passes to our backs/TEs or receivers to catch and then run some YACs, we are going to be ok.
Lastly, I am going to end this round up with some great news. From the LA Times:
Defensive end Reginald Stokes, who had knee surgery last month, returned to individual drills. The Bruins hope to have him ready for the Stanford game on Oct. 3.
That is simply fantastic news. If Stokes actually fully recovers and makes it back for Stanford game, that would be a huge boost for our defense (considering many of us thought he might be out for the entire season).