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Spaulding Roundup: Two Kevins, OL Tinkering & Pass Rushers

Once again we will start our Spaulding roundup with a look at our quarterbacks. Today the story is about our two Kevins.  We had a little surprise yesterday as Kevin Prince got reps as the backup QB over Forcier. Dohn reports:

UCLA's starting quarterback is settled, but the competition for the backup role took an unexpected turn Friday when freshman Kevin Prince took a majority of snaps with the second team offense.

Afterward, Bruins offensive coordinator Norm Chow said the development of Prince taking reps ahead of Chris Forcier wasn't just happenstance.

"We're still looking for the No. 2 guy there," Chow said. "It's not a set position. I thought Prince did some nice things out there."

Prince, a true freshman from Crespi High of Encino, said he was told prior to practice he would get some work with the second team. UCLA's staff has voiced concern over Forcier's understanding of the offense.

"Coach Chow told me before practice he wanted to throw me in there a little bit, but I didn't know how much," Prince said. "I wasn't surprised (about it), but I was surprised he kept me in there for as long as he did." […]

He delivers the ball on time and his passes were sharp, which earned him praise from Chow.

Interesting stuff to say the least.  I don’t think anyone here should dismiss Forcier’s potential just based on Dohn’s report re.  coaches’ impressions. It’s not news that Neuheisel and co. thinks Forcier needs to get a better grasp of the offensive scheme. That’s a matter of being patient and more focus on the part of Forcier. To me this development is kind of exciting because Prince is one of those unknowns where we have no one but Chow and Neuehisel’s assessments to go by. And if they are seeing something in him (don’t forget how quickly they moved in recruiting this kid away from Washington when they got to UCLA), that makes him intriguing (in an exciting way).

As Kevin P was having a good day (presumably against the second team defense), Kevin Craft had a tough day against our tenacious first team D:

"This was not a good day for Kevin," Neuheisel said. "I don't know what it was, whether something confused him today. We're going to need him to be more consistent than he was today."

Yet, Neuheisel was not overly concerned.

"It's like a starting pitcher with a clunker," he said. "I hope that it is just an aberration."

The solution now is to move on, offensive coordinator Norm Chow said.

"He started out rough," Chow said. "The key we've been preaching all the time is go on to the next play. I think it was a nice lesson to learn because he let it bother him today."

Per the LA Times report,  Craft threw three consecutive picks during no pads practice. Again, I am not really overtly worried. We are entering at a stage in training camp where both defense and offense are familiar with each other’s schemes and patterns. It seems like in these kinds of scenarios talented defense usually has an upper hand against the offense. I am not saying we have no reasons to be concerned. We have always been concerned about our QBs and OL, but I think there is no need to upgrade our level of anxiety given what we have already known about the issues around our offense.

Speaking of our offense, as expected even though the depth chart is out for the Tennessee game, coaches will continue to tinker with the lineups particularly at OL:

Still, the line's depth chart would "never be totally set," offensive line coach Bob Palcic said. "If those guys play well and we feel good about the progress, we'll keep them in there the next week. If someone falters or someone behind them plays a little better or practices harder, that guy will deserve an opportunity."

Savage has come full circle in that area. Penciled in as a starter in the spring, he lost ground, then lost weight and moved back into the forefront.

"Darius lost 30 pounds, which he needed to do," Palcic said. "He was too heavy and lost some of his mobility."

Good to hear about Savage getting leaner and a little faster. Another kid who is going through similar evolution is DL David Cater. Pearson from reports how the other Carter in UCLA’s D expects to get lot more action this year:

Last season, Carter, a redshirt sophomore from Fontana Kaiser High, was unable to break into the rotation at defensive tackle despite a rash of injuries at the position, a clear sign that he was overmatched.

Carter played in three games last season and had a sack against Arizona, finishing the season with three tackles. At 6-foot-5, Carter played last season at 285 pounds but is now a lean 265 pounds thanks to a change in his diet and workout regimen.

A former All-San Bernardino County selection, Carter said his speed, strength and footwork have improved.

He has been working with the first and second teams throughout camp and should see some significant playing time, as UCLA likes to rotate its defensive linemen throughout games to keep them fresh.

"He's the prototypical size of a defensive end," defensive line coach Todd Howard said. "He's what you want, size-wise. He has to be consistent with his techniques. He has the ability to make plays, he has a high motor, he is going to run to the ball."

A kid like Carter is going to be key against the Tennessee offense next Monday night. As we will discuss this upcoming week, the Volunteer offense under their new OC will present a test for Walker, as it will feature some elements of the spread offense. So there will be premium on performances of faster and leaner ends like David Carter who will have to match the speed and agility of backs/TEs catching balls down low and wrecking havoc in open spaces. That is why in addition to Carter, we are hearing (via the LAT report) how a freshman like Datone Jones are getting a hard look from Walker and the defensive coaches.  The matchup between Dave Clawson (Tennessee’s OC and Walker) will be an exciting chess match. I will write more on that later this week.