UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince has been cleared by medical staff to resume practice this week and will be the starter Saturday against California if his injured right knee allows, coach Rick Neuheisel said Monday.
"My thought is he'll be ready to go," Neuheisel said.
That is certainly good news. If the Bruins were to have any shot of pulling off an upset this weekend (we are 8 point underdogs as I write this post) they are going to need a healthy Prince who has been in practice rhythm all week. More from the LA Times:
Bruins coaches were waiting to see whether Prince was healthy enough to run with the ball and are now convinced. Prince said Monday the swelling in his right knee had subsided and that he was "fine."
Fingers crossed again for Prince's health not just for rest of this week but the entire season. Don't forget Prince actually had an okay game against the Bears last year racking up his first 300 yard passing game of his career. Don't get too excited though. Prince did throw a costly pick 6 that decided the game plus there is also this: Bears have a brand new defensive coordinator in Clancy Pendargast. Reading through his impressive resume, it becomes pretty clear that he is no Chuck Bullough.
Everyone has been talking about how Pendargast's D got worked over by the Wolfpacks. To me what is noteworthy is that the Bears have given up only 6.7 yards rushing in the other three games, holding their opponent to 62.7 rushing yards per game. Can the Bruin rushing attack have the same level of success against the Bears like it enjoyed against the Longhorns? Don't really think so, considering unlike the Longhorns, the Bears have already had a first go around with the "pistol" template and have had two full weeks to prepare for the Bruins. More after the jump.
Bruins released their depth chart for this week. Brandon Huffman posted it over at Bruin Report Online. Normally don't really pay attention to the weekly depth chart all that much but this week is kind of interesting. Owamagbe Odighizuwa is now listed as a starter at left DE (ahead of Reginald Stokes). Keenan Graham is listed as the other starter at RDE (ahead of Damien Holmes). These two guys along with rest of front-7 are going to have huge roles to play this Saturday in their attempt to contain Shane Vereen and put some semblance of pressure on Kevin Riley.
If our defensive front-7 cannot handle Vereen and can't disrupt Riley by either generating some TOs or getting some sacks, it is going to be a long day for us. Reading through the comments on BN, I got the vibe that people are discounting him based on his inconsistent performance through his career. Apparently Jon Wilner from the San Jose Mercury News is not high on Riley:
The Bruins have only been running the pistol for six months. They aren't nearly as adept as Nevada and have nobody as devastating as Colin Kaepernick.
But their offensive line was physical enough to dominate Texas, and their secondary is more than equipped to handle Cal's sputtering passing game, allowing them to stack the line to contain Shane Vereen.
Uh somehow Bullough forgot to stack the line against Daniel Thomas and Kansas State in the second half in Manhattan. So I wonder if that light bulb will go on this weekend. Plus, what also really worries me is Riley has done just fine against Bullough's base defense. Last year he completed 60 percent of his passes, throwing for 3 TDs and no picks. He actually PWNed ATV on number of throws last season at the Rose Bowl. He is the kind of QB who usually gets to enjoy a lovely time against a week rush from our D and pick us apart. Anyway, for another precursory look at the Bears check out ESPNLA.
Going back to the depth chart at this point Nelson Rosario is listed as starter at SE ahead of Randall Carroll and Jerry Johnson. I am guessing and HOPING we will get to see lot more of Jerry Johnson and some Carroll this weekend. Similarly would like to see more and more of Josh Smith and Ricky Marvray at the expense of Taylor Embree, who frankly has not been getting it done, as we approach the midpoint of 2010 season.
Interesting, as we talk about depth chart (and assuming the competition that is taking place and being analyzed at Spaulding), CRN had to say this about his QBs:
"When guys are playing well, people respond," Neuhesiel said. "Because of the way Richard played Kevin will be more excited to go back in there, and Richard will be more excited to go back in there. That kind of competition raises the level for everyone."
As for Prince, he will practice this week and all signs point to him playing Saturday at Cal. However, the Bruins plan to ease him into his workload.
"We want to be careful we don't overwork him but my thought is he'll be ready to go," Neuhesiel said
Hopefully it's not just Prince, but the entire team is practicing with a sense of urgency this week.