clock menu more-arrow no yes

Couple of quick pigskin notes to pass on during this Bye Saturday. Brian Dohn Jill Painter noted something we have already referenced here on BN. CRN and Chow will have some options at QB this spring:

There's plenty of options, including Kevin Craft - who's struggled under center for the Bruins this season - backup Chris Forcier, redshirt freshman Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut, a recruit from Los Osos of Rancho Cucamonga High who has committed and is scheduled to enroll in the spring.

Prince has done well running the scout team during the bye week.

"Absolutely, (Prince) will be in the mix," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said in previewing the spring competition. "Everybody will have their hat in there. It's who knows the most about our offense and can engineer it and make the throw. It's not a complicated thing how you decide who your quarterback is. It's based on who can know what happens before it happens so you're not always in a reactionary mode.

"I think Prince knows the stuff, but he's in redshirt mode.We're going to get through the rest of this season, hopefully as productively as we can, and see where we go from there."

Neuheisel has repeatedly said this season that Forcier doesn't have a complete grasp of the offense. Forcier said he believes he's getting better each week.

"I'm just trying to stay within (what) the coaches tell me to do, and don't try to do anything outside of what I've been taught," Forcier said. "Stay relaxed and positive and just have fun."

As mentioned before, unless coaches see some kind of dramatic improvement from Forcier during practices, I am not sure how he can break in this spring. He couldn’t beat out Rasshan last season. This year despite having more than a year of head start in the UCLA football environment (in terms of familiarity with team-mates) he couldn’t beat out Craft. Perhaps the proverbial light bulb will go on for Foricer, but I think if I were to bet, it will be Prince who will have the best shot at dislodging Craft as the starter next spring (unless Craft locks into it with tangible improvements during the remaining games this season). As for Brehaut, hopefully he can come in a learning mode and with the mindset of soaking everything in while being patient. Don’t forget about Crissman who could make it interesting, if he fully recovers from his shoulder injury by spring.

Speaking of options, Milton Knox is excited about playing for CRN:

Freshman running back Milton Knox received praise from his coach after a pair of long runs Wednesday, and he was given another chance Thursday to "go live" as Neuheisel allowed the scout team contact in this week before the Nov. 28 game at Arizona State.

"It's the first time I've been hit since camp, and it felt good," Knox said. "I feel I can play. Now, it's just about knowing my playbook. I'd like to start [next year] but even if I'm number two, three or four, I just want to play."

His cause would be helped by a strong recruiting class, something Knox thinks is possible because of Neuheisel.

"He's one of the friendliest people I've ever met, he practices with us, he builds a relationship," Knox said. "It's why I came here: He makes you feel like family, telling us we're all brothers and we'll get this done together. He's charming, and honestly wants to change how we've been doing here, and he has the ability to make those things happen."

Can’t wait to see him, Franklin, Dean, Bell and others going full speed next year with a year under their belt.There were stories earlier this year about Dean adjusting to college level in which he wasn't the main show. Per Dohn 's Painter's report today Dean has "found a way to be happy" and looking forward to the competition:

"It happens. You've just got to be patient," he said. "It's been a humbling experience. I think I needed it. I think I needed to go through it. It'll just make me better and stronger for the future. I'm happy the way it happened."

Kahlil Bell is in his final season at UCLA, but freshman Derrick Coleman will return, along with Dean, Raymond Carter (who had knee surgery last year), Chane Moline and redshirt freshmen Jonathan Franklin and Milton Knox. Franklin and Knox have earned high praise with their work on the scout team.

There's no guarantee for any of the running backs next year. Dean has just five carries for 10 yards this season.

"That's great competition," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "Guys are going to have to understand if they want to play they'll have to do all they need to do to prove they're the guy that belongs with the ball. That's fun for a coach because you know it will make everyone better. As you all know, you need more than two (running backs)."

Dean isn't worried about that and is committed to remaining with the Bruins. For now, he's trying to have a good time and not worry about the future.

"The bye week has been real fun," he said. "I'm just trying to break loose out here and have fun out there. Come out, play good football and have fun."

Don't forget about Christian Ramirez who will be returning from an academic suspension (assuming he is back in good standing after this year). So, that’s another position where Chow and co will have no shortage of options next season. The options will lead to intense competition, which should make the whole team better.

Again … no games today. We will put up an open game thread later this afternoon for those watching the big game this Saturday.

GO BRUINS.