The Bruins were back on the practice field for a rare Monday practice - with the practice held in the early evening rather than the typical mid to late afternoon slot due to the Monday afternoon classes scheduled by many members of the team to accommodate the normal practice schedule. Kevin Prince had a rough evening, throwing a few interceptions in drills. In the larger picture with Kevin, Mike Johnson has said that he is not going to change his playcalling or the way that he utilizes his Quarterback in light of Brehaut's absence and the brittleness of the new starter and lack of experienced depth behind him. Kevin also added that he will not change the way he approaches the game.
"We’re going to call our plays," Johnson said. "When he runs the ball he has to make smart decisions, like any quarterback. If you’re a quarterback, then you have to learn how to get down and get out, not take the big hits when you can avoid them. Our offense is going to put him in situations where he’s going to get hit."
Prince, who suffered a concussion and sprained shoulder following a run against Texas a month ago, said he’s "not going to play differently."
"I’m not going to shy away from running it," Prince said. "I’m definitely going to protect myself. I’m not going to try to take on big hits. I’m going to get out bounds, slide, do whatever I got to do. But I don’t want that making me change the way I play."
Also from practice, Peter Yoon noted that Johnathan Franklin looks to have regained an extra burst of acceleration that he has been missing as of late, likely an effect of a bruised hip that he had been playing through the last couple of games. Albert Cid and Chris Ward are continuing their early-season battle for a starting Guard spot, with Neuheisel taking note of the drive and effort they are showing in practice.
The start of the week also saw Joseph Fauria added to the John Mackey Award midseason watch list. The Mackey Award is presented to the nation's most outstanding tight end, and it should not be a surprise that Fauria was at least placed in that conversation. Well, maybe it does come as a surprise to the folks calling the plays for the UCLA Offense. In less positive news, the NY Times College Football blog presented its midseason reset of its ranking of all 120 teams in the Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS, formerly known as D-1A). UCLA (or U.C.L.A, as the grey lady prints it) comes in at #64 overall, behind such teams as Tulsa and Western Michigan, as well as 1 spot behind Jim Mastro's old team at Nevada.
That #64 ranking places the Bruins 7th in the Pac-12. Hey, at least we are 2 spots above Cal, and 3 above Washington State, right... The positive to take from the midseason reranking is that we were ranked #81 in the preseason. Peter Yoon put his midseason report card for the Bruins up on the ESPNLA Blog. I hope that UCLA Football isn't aiming to go to Medical School or a top-tier Law School after it graduates, because this GPA is not much better than those coming from our eye test.
Before practice, Coach Neuheisel held his normal Monday presser - video available here. He talked about the upcoming game against Arizona, the task of facing Nick Foles, and how a win on Thursday night would set up the Bruins for a run in the second half of the conference schedule.
In less encouraging news from the presser, Tony Dye's neck injury is not getting better as fast or as well as hoped. Neuheisel told the media that it is a wait-and-see matter with Tony, but that a medical redshirt is a possibility.
"The big question is Tony Dye; Tony is in a situation where he's got stingers a neck issue, and obviously no one wants him to be hurt any more than he currently is. (It is) where he hits something, he gets partially numb. Obviously that's dangerous, and we have to make sure that folks that know, do what's right for Tony."
As Gold noted in this morning's notebook, he will be eligible to apply for a medical redshirt if he does not appear in a game over the remainder of the season. Jamie Graham will continue to sit out with a knee injury, as will Alex Mascarenas. Maybe there is something to Randall Carroll's recent practices with the Defense, after all. At least Sheldon Price is expected to play this week. The Bruins will return to practice this afternoon.