Another day of practice down (practice?!), and another day closer to the Bruins' Labor Day weekend debut in Houston. After opening on Monday with the freshmen getting their own morning session, Tuesday saw the entire squad practicing together for the first time. The quarterback battle is going to be the key storyline over the next couple of weeks, but there is little new to report on that front as of yet, with the reports sounding much like those from the day before, a bit of inconsistency - forcing throws at times, etc:
"Just some inconsistency still," Coach Rick Neuheisel said Tuesday. "Some decision making things we got to keep working on. We got to make sure guys are learning why that was a mistake rather than having it happen again.
... Prince continued to lead the first team and Brehaut the second. Prince looks healthy and is running the ball well but threw two interceptions Tuesday, still showing some rust after about a six month layoff.
"He’s not game ready yet," Neuheisel said.
Having been out of practice for the past several months, Prince not yet being back to game readiness is not a surprise, as long as he is able to pick himself back up over the next couple of weeks. Gold also shared his observations on Brehaut and Prince not having shown much of their skills yet:
* Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut haven't done anything to answer any questions yet, especially as they continually look to the check down and haven't really opened things up yet. Neuheisel said after practice that some of that was by design to avoid the pass rush, something that plagued UCLA last season, but even 7-on-7 drills were full of check-downs...
* Brehaut didn't do particularly better, albeit attempting a few more downfield throws, but neither quarterback was particularly sharp.
While the QB'ing was not outstanding on Tuesday, part of the reason for that could be thanks to the efforts of the defensive line. After an early stretch where the offensive line was imposing their will, getting into the backfield frequently Datone Jones made his presence felt after being out of action for a full year.
After a period of semi-uncertainty, reports yesterday were that JC transfer Albert Cid 's admission to the university was imminent, and nothing more than a formality in terms of receiving a favorable decision. The good news came down yesterday, with Albert participating in practice, as well as Vanderbilt transfer Jamie Graham. According to Jon Gold's report on Cid, he does need to work himself into game shape - as well as to learn the offense, particularly the protections and the calls - before he is really ready to compete. With the injuries affecting the depth of the offensive line, he will have the opportunity to earn playing time as the Fall goes on. Jeff Baca is showing him the ropes and helping him learn the playbook so that he can be ready to step in sooner rather than later.
Jones dominated in 11-on-11 drills. On one play, he got to quarterback Kevin Prince nearly as quickly as the snap, though he was not allowed to make contact.
"If that had been a game, it would have been a sack, a fumble and one of my teammates would have been running with the ball … or I would have been," Jones said.
Albert was not the only new participant in practice on Tuesday, with Jamie Graham receiving his Graduate School admittance in time to join yesterday afternoon's session. While Graham's versatility is an asset for the coaching staff, he told Adam Maya after practice that Vanderbilt ran the same defense that Joe Tresey has brought to Westwood, a familiarity that bodes well for the impact of a player entering the program with just one Fall of eligibility.
Jon Gold also noted that Shaq Goodwin was on campus today, stopping by Spaulding to take in a few minutes of practice. While he is one of the nation's top basketball recruits, he plays Tight End for his high school team, and has a strong desire to play Football in college as well. Coach Neuheisel and his staff have been showing interest in Shaq, helping out Coach Howland's efforts to bring Goodwin to UCLA.
Today's practice will again be a no-pads affair, starting at 3pm on Spaulding Field.