Spaulding Roundup: "Sluggish" Without Prince, Angry Cougars & Other UCLA Notes

Well, if there are still people wondering whether Coach Rick Neuheisel sugar coats in terms of what takes place at practice this post should quash it (along with the posts from two years ago when CRN used to sound shocked at that kind of intensity that used to be prevalent at UCLA practices).  Kevin Prince sat out practice for the second straight day and it sounded like Bruin offense had a bad day at Spaulding.

Coach Neuheisel didn't mince words when describing the practice efforts from his offense in this video:

Right off the bat he sounded disappointed at his offense describing their effort as "sluggish" and not "as good as he wanted."  He emphasized the need for the offense to have "great practice" today if they wanted to match the intensity of an opponent which is in the same spot UCLA was just two weeks ago. CRN was also visibly annoyed by a silly, set up question (that would potentially make him look disrespectful to the Cougars) wondering whether UCLA is looking at this game as an opportunity to get the young guys some experience.

As for Kevin Prince it's a "game time decision" for the coaches. CRN mentioned if he is able to play on Saturday, he will play no matter how much practice he has had in this week. Given Prince's experience with this offense, I think if the doctors and trainers clear him, coaches will most likely go with him at least for a while to make sure he stays acclimated to game speed.

As for Prince he told the reporters after practice that he is going through a "normal knee rehab." Even though he didn't practice yesterday his "extension is getting better," his "full range of motion is getting better as well" and his "swelling is going down a bit":

Prince added that he "always expects to play." He sounded just like CRN when he mentioned that Washington State is in the same position as UCLA was two weeks ago and that they are going to be come out and ready to fight. Prince also voiced support for Richard Brehaut saying "Rich knows what he is doing" in case number 12 has to lead the team on Saturday.

Despite Prince's confidence though it sounded like Brehaut struggled during practice yesterday:

* Kevin Prince missed practice again today, with Richard Brehaut and Darius Bell getting the reps. Prince said the knee was feeling better but was still bothering him, and added that he could have it drained for a second time.

* As a result, the offense struggled mightily, and I saw at least three or four drops, and a few balls that just went sailing. For all the criticisms of Prince, he is still the most effective quarterback UCLA has, though I think Brehaut could catch up quickly again if given the reps. He had a couple really, really nice throws, but just not the consistency.

Norm Chow (per ESPNLA's Peter Yoon) sounded confident in Brehaut but indicated that Darius Bell might get some action in case Prince can't go on Saturday:

Offensive coordinator Norm Chow said he had full confidence in Brehaut's ability to take over at quarterback because Brehaut ran the first team for most of fall camp while Prince was out because of an oblique strain. But because of the Bruins new-found emphasis on the running game, Chow would not rule out Bell getting significant time because Bell is a running quarterback who ran a Pistol offense last season at City College of San Francisco. "If Kevin doesn't go, I suppose Darius would get some time, but who knows how the game unfolds," Chow said.

Whoever plays on Saturday, the Bruins will need the same kind of focus and intensity like they displayed going into the Texas game. It appears (according to reports) the Cougars have turned it up another notch this game week. From the Daily Evergreen (emphasis added):

During Tuesday's practice, the team took live drills to a whole new level, with bodies flying and shoulder pads cracking one another with consistency.

It was the first time since the end of fall camp that the Cougars have gone 100 percent full contact, and starting linebacker Myron Beck said it's absolutely necessary this week to make sure it shows up game days.

"We have to get used to it," Beck said. "In practice we're usually at a fast speed but it's kind of keeping guys up but today (Tuesday) we let the bullets fly and we had a great practice."

According to Coach Paul Wulff in the same report the Cougars "look fresh" and have stayed "relatively healthy" though their first few games. They don't sound like a bunch who are despondent. They sound "angry" and the guys at CougCenter.com are noticing a difference in this year's team":

Now, it's almost like a switched flipped inside the 2010 Cougar locker room. The players and coaches believe they can match up with anyone in the Pac-10, including USC. They expect to perform and are disappointed when they don't execute.

"It's not them being better than us. Them being bigger and faster, it's just us executing our game-plan." Long said after the loss, "We did that at times and we looked good, but we need to be more consistent with that. Once we do that, you'll see a good defense out there."

The players still may not be world-beaters, but they are much more talented than anything we've seen in Pullman over the last two years. Most importantly, they believe they belong on the field. It may seem stupid, it may seem like a small thing, but it matters.

The staff has preached that this team needs to learn how to win and deal with the losses along the way. Part of that process is believing they can compete and evaluating their performance when the results don't go their way. Being disappointed after a loss is a sign that they may be coming around in that regard.

This is why I have to laugh at some of the comments here on BN and in other places saying how this game will give a great opportunity for the Bruins to get in the young guys and cruise to a victory. I sure hope our players are not thinking like that. We have seen this game enough over the years to know how anyone can come into Rose Bowl and pull off an upset. In fact as 03rdn9 laid out the recent history yesterday showing how Bruins have stumbled in recent years after big wins. So it'd be nice if people don't sound like too cocky, ignorant and disrespectful of the other team (because it's never fun to haplessly eat crow like this).

Sure hope the offense gets it together and comes back with a solid practice today. If the Bruins aren't locked in on Saturday (no matter who is at QB) it is going to be a long weekend ... again.

GO BRUINS.

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