Well it looks more and more that Richard Brehaut is going to be leading the Bruins at Manhattan next Saturday. A day after being "back to full speed" Kevin Prince didn't do all that much yesterday. Not only that, it now appears that he is not going to participate in Friday's "game simulation" at the Rose Bowl. So heading into game week Prince probably has had a total of two (to be charitable) days of live practice with the first team and no reps whatsoever during any of the scrimmages. It is hard to see how he is going to be ready for Kansas State, unless he dramatically improves by Monday.
Coach Rick Neuhiesel talked about the team needing to be ready with Brehaut (if Prince can't go) after practice yesterday:
As for Prince, he himself is talking about coming back by Stanford game:
"If I can't make it against Kansas State then I'll just try to get back by Stanford," Prince said. "You can't rush it and be set back even further than we are right now. It's frustrating, but that's the way it goes."
Guess we will see how it goes if Brehaut gets the start against Kansas State. As CRN mentioned Brehaut has "had a great camp" and "outstanding in the scrimmage." From what we have read it sounds like Brehaut is right now ahead of where Prince was at this point last season. Whether that will translate into a "W" in the first game at a tough place like Manhattan, I am not sure. However, we can certainly hope that he can do enough to put the team in position to win.
CRN also sounded encouraged about our OL. Per his comments above they seem to be holding their own during practices as the first unit right now is made up seniors "who like each other" and who have been through a lot during their time in Westwood. More after the jump.
Peter Yoon from ESPNLA picked up on CRN's comments about scout team rising to the occasion at Spaulding:
On the field, the Bruins began specific game-plan preparation for the season opener against Kansas State. Third- and fourth-team players dressed in scout team jerseys, and the result was one of the more intense, high-energy practices of the season.
"Really pleased with the way the scout teams performed for their first day out and the tempo that they provided," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "The attitudes that the kids had were terrific. We've just got to keep setting that as a standard. We can improve, certainly, but if we don't ever dip below what we did today, we'll be a good football team with the work that we're getting from those demonstration teams."
Speaking of guys who are getting it done, Lastly, Chris Foster from the LA Times focused on Kevin McDermott, a walkon TE who has had his moments during preseason camp:
McDermott was looking for a place to walk on after his senior season as a tight end and long snapper at Nashville Ensworth High in 2007. He sent out tapes and a number of schools were interested in him as a long snapper. But Norm Chow, UCLA's offensive coordinator, saw potential as a tight end.
"Norm invited us out here," said McDermott, who came to California with his mom and dad. "At that point, I was looking to walk on anywhere. I came out here for the first three days of spring football, and they offered me preferred walk-on status." (Not a scholarship, but a place on the team.) [...]
"There is no doubt in my mind that I am 100% sure about my ability to play tight end," McDermott said. "I know what I'm doing. When I got out here I wanted to prove to myself and my teammates that I could get the job done."
With Fauria "nursing" an injury (BTW "nursing" seems to be the theme of this training camp), McDermott has had his opportunities to prove himself at the TE spot. He will probably be in line to take over at long snapper next season, after preseason All-American Christian Yount graduates from UCLA.
At this point, don't have much to add expressing anxiety and excitement about getting to watch these guys in game action soon. Like everyone else, I am keeping my expectations realistic around this team, particularly given the injury issues at our OL and QB. Still part of me is uber excited to see many of these talented kids in action for the first time in UCLA uniform.
In some ways the start of this season is reminding me of Ben Howland's third season in Westwood, when he lost something like 11 players due to injuries at some point during the season. Of course, expecting the same type of result is kind of absurd given the difference in two sports in terms of how programs are built. Still if we can get the same kind of resiliency from this band of Bruins, it could be a fun season.
If you want to get a sense of camaraderie and cohesion among these Bruins, you should watch and listen to these interviews by Jon Gold of SS Tony "Hair" Dye:
And Rahim Moore:
It is pretty striking to hear how Moore is so passionate about his offensive team-mates and Dye talking about the needing to step up following departures of seniors from last season. Now if we can only get Rahim to dye his hair gold, we are getting somewhere.