UCLA Football Fall Scrimmage Roundup: Looking Toward Houston

Last night saw the Bruins take the field at Drake Stadium for their twice-annual public scrimmage. From photos and reports, there seemed to be a solid turnout on campus, and hopefully those of you who made it out (including Tyler and his dad, insomniac) had a good time back in Westwood. As was expected coming into the scrimmage, the focus for the coaching staff was to see how the second-stringers and younger guys fared in a game situation, and as a result many of this season's primary players did not see much time on the field. Complete stats for the scrimmage are available at the official site and ESPNLA.

Of course, having said that the two Quarterbacks battling for the starting spot did see significant playing time tonight. Early reports from readers having attended the scrimmage had Richard Brehaut coming out on top, while the writers on the UCLA beat have so far been stressing the unsettled nature of the position, while acknowledging that at least on Saturday, Brehaut was the more effective offensive leader. Brehaut finished the scrimmage 7-12 with 75 yards passing, and 3 carries for 12 yards. Kevin Prince was 4-11, throwing for 81 yards and running for 11 more on 5 carries.

Coach Neuheisel talked to the media after the scrimmage, sharing his thoughts on the quarterbacks among other things:

"For the most part I thought the quarterbacks played well," Neuheisel said. "I get irritated when they miss assignments that we’ve gone over. They get A's in the classroom and we get out here and it doesn’t translate to the actual testing area and so we’ve got to continue to make sure that there’s not so much that the saturation gets where they can’t remember what to do on the field."

... "Easy things that they have all the right answers to when we’re in there and I’m asking them on the board," he said. "The professor has to take responsibility for that, not necessarily the pupil. I’ve got to make sure they know what they are doing."

Still a bit for them to work on before Houston in 13 days, and at least Neu knows that it is up to him to ensure that these players get it, and not hang them out to dry. Regardless of how the QB's scrimmaged, last night is not playing much of a role in who will win the job.

There's plenty more than just QB news out of the evening, or course.

The Bruin running game seems to have acquitted itself well last night. Including a keeper by Prince, all 3 touchdowns of the session came on the ground:

Running back Derrick Coleman helped produce the first touchdown drive of the day. Coleman's 22-yard burst set the offense up at the two-yard line. Anthony Barr found the end zone a couple of plays later on a one-yard run. Quarterback Kevin Prince used the big pass play of the day, a 44-yard strike to Josh Smith, to help set up a touchdown. Prince took it in on a keeper from five-yards out for the score.

The defense stiffened, forcing a three-and-out by the offense. Brehaut used a 25-yard catch-and-run play by Shaquelle Evans to produce the third touchdown of the afternoon. Malcolm Jones used two runs to cover the remaining 20 yards to the end zone, scoring on a 12-yard dash.

After last year's offensive performances, the running game is one segment of the Bruin gameplan that does not feature extensive changes or needs an overhaul. And that is likely the reason for the focus on the running game last night; giving as little for observers to work with regarding changes that Coaches Johnson and Neuheisel have made to the passing game over the offseason. JetSki only appeared in the opening drive, finishing with a 5-yard run. Derrick Coleman (6-51), Malcolm Jones (5-34-TD) and Jordon James (4-20) took advantage of the added carries, and Anthony Barr also got to run the ball a couple of times and score a touchdown (3-6-TD).

The QB's spread the wealth around in the air, with the official site showing 7 players tied with 2 catches each. A couple of folks that were at the scrimmage liked what they saw from the receivers, while the official site mentioned some of our young receivers, being fed the ball by a couple of walk-ons late in the scrimmage.

Quarterback Christoph Bono led the Bruins on a drive that produced a 47-yard field goal by Smith. Logan Sweet had a 14-yard reception. Quarterback Maxwell Schuh guided the Bruins down inside the 20-yard line on the final drive of the scrimmage, hitting some big passes of 21 yards to Sweet, 17 yards to Raymond Nelson and 10 yards to Devin Lucien. However, no points went on the board as the Bruins missed a field goal attempt.

As was true with much of the offense, the starters on Defense did not play much on Saturday. Unfortunately, that was still too much time for Aaron Hester, who suffered a hamstring injury during the scrimmage. Hester's injury will be evaluated over the next day or two; while he hopes to return to practice tomorrow, Coach Neuheisel wants to be sure that Aaron recovers properly so that he is fit to help the defense in its task to stop Houston's prolific air attack.

... While Hester asserted he will practice Monday, Neuheisel questioned the severity of the injury and how it might impact the Bruins against Houston.

"We’re going to have to really look at it," Neuheisel said. "We’re going to be optimistic and think Aaron can be back, but if he can’t, it’s going to require some head-scratching. It’s a pass-happy (offense), one that you have to be fresh for."

We will have more thoughts on the scrimmage - as well as the recent set of practices - later on today and into the coming week. For those of you that were at the scrimmage, fire away your takeaways from last night in the comments here.

GO BRUINS!

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