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Spaulding Roundup: Looking For Answers

We will start the Humpday of this game focusing on Kevin Craft (again). Like it or not Craft is now at the center of the offensive spotlight. Foster in the LAT reports that Chow is taking his time with Craft:

Chow says he still believes that Craft is running the offense at too quick a pace.

"It's like when a little person learns how to speak and they stutter because their mind's going faster than they can think," Chow said.

How to fix that is the question.

"We just have to keep working with him," Chow said.

Craft echoes the same thing.

"I have to be more consistent," Craft said. "I do the classroom work, look at tape, do the homework. If you keep digging you'll be able to fight and claw."

While Craft is chipping away, Prince and Forcier (in that order) are pushing him at practice. However, they have not be able to break though either … yet. Pearson from on CRN and his coaching looking for answers at QB:

Freshmen Kevin Prince and Chris Forcier have been pushing for the starting job, but neither has done enough yet to supplant Craft.

"I've seen sparks of it, but it has not been consistent," Neuheisel said. "You ask yourself what is the next-best thing to do. The other kids are trying to take his job, but I don't think they have done that yet. You just have to keep pushing through and searching until we have the right answer."

I think if we see the same performance from our offense in the first two quarters against Fresno State as what we saw in our last two games, it will not be a huge surprise to see Prince get some action on Saturday. Let’s hope though that Craft gets it together and capture some of that fourth quarter mojo from the Tennessee game.

Craft’s job will get a little more manageable if Bell can return at 100 percent. However, from practice reports it sounds like Bell will not be at 100 percent when he gets back in action on Sat:

UCLA tailback Kahlil Bell had his most active practice since suffering a high ankle sprain in the season opener, but the senior was far from impressive Tuesday.

Bell, the Bruins leading rusher last season, was still limping and even spent part of practice getting his hamstring stretched after a long run.

"He pushed it hard (Tuesday) and was adequate," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "Hopefully, we'll see improvement as the week goes on. He's not all the way back. He's not at 100 percent."

Bell acknowledged his left ankle "was a little sore, but that was to be expected," and said it tightened up during a lull midway through practice because of a special teams drill. As practice wore on, Bell's activity decreased.

He has not played since being injured in the first half against Tennessee, but Neuheisel and Bell are optimistic for a Saturday return against No. 25 Fresno State at the Rose Bowl, and the hope is his presence will give the running game a jolt.

Craft, Bell and rest of the offense will be facing a Fresno State team, which will be without their best DL Jon Monga. Bryant-Jon Anteola from the Fresno Bee reports on the Bulldogs coming into the Rose Bowl without Monga.  Monga suffered a knee during their 55-54 double OT win at Toledo:

With Monga out and defensive tackle Cornell Banks still nursing a sprained ankle that kept him out against Toledo, Fresno State is missing both its starting defensive tackles for an unknown amount of time.

Banks, the Bulldogs' top run stopper, sustained his injury two weeks ago against Wisconsin and has not practiced. He also did not attend Sunday's light workout, though Hill is hopeful Banks will return this week.

Their absence has caused Fresno State to turn to freshmen Logan Harrell and Chase McEntee, and sophomore Mark Roberts. The 6-2, 300-pound Roberts started in Banks' place and took over the role of primary run stopper and gap filler. He had one tackle.

The Bulldogs have yet to decide who will start in Monga's absence.

Bruins shouldn’t be resting easy. Coach Pat Hill has put together a strong program over the years, which is well equipped to deal with this kind if injuries. You can bet that Hill will plug someone in who will be ready to step up. We will have more notes on the Bulldogs later.