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Spaulding Roundup: QB Uncertainty For UCLA, Owls Practicing In Double Sessions & Other Notes

Looks like Bruins are gradually getting back to regular game week rhythm with usual suspects taking over the reps with first team. Obviously the spot everyone is keeping an eye on is at QB. Kevin Prince increased his reps to further test out his injured shoulder, while Kevin Craft not surprisingly is back in the mix (getting more reps than Brehaut with the first team).

Meanwhile, over in Philadelphia a fired up Temple Owls program continue to prepare for its first bowl game in something like 3 decades and are getting ready to play a game that would suit their style of fundamental and physical football. Of course the weather just might play into this.  Here in DC we are getting ready for a foot of snow this weekend (possibly screwing my plans to fly home to LA), and it will not be a surprise if we continue to get more of the same type of weather when the Bruins get here after X-mas.

So with those toplines out of the way here is the latest on Prince. Apparently he "increased his workout" yesterday taking more reps with the first team. From the LA Times:

"We'll watch, not just to see his velocity, but more the confidence," Neuheisel said. "We'll watch the willingness to let one go, knowing that's on the other side of that throw. Does he grimace?"

Prince has undergone extra treatments to loosen up his shoulder since being injured against USC on Nov. 28. He said he felt comfortable throwing the ball Thursday, except on one play.

"One throw I made today on the run absolutely killed it," Prince said. "But I just have to make every throw, not necessarily pain free, but with manageable pain. I need to do everything -- hand the ball off, going on the run, throwing deep balls, trying to put velocity on the ball without it hurting too much. Once I can do it without too much discomfort, I can play."

Neuheisel sounds "optimistic" in his comments in the Daily News report, which detailed the type of difficulty Prince is having to date:

Holding Prince back is the more difficult throws, those that test the inside of his shoulder.

He feels fine chucking the ball straight down the field, but throwing on the run and throwing across his body is giving him fits.

"He had another good day; it got sore on him when he made a throw across his body," UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel said. "That's to be expected. He's just kind of breaking down some scar tissue now. I'm optimistic after the last two days."

Hmm. I still think after it is all said and done we should go with Kevin Craft. If the weather continues to remain the same here in DC (freezing with mix of snow and rain) in the coming days, I don't think it makes sense to throw Prince out there with a recovering shoulder injury. We know what we will get from Craft at this point. Even though rest of the country (and many of us) have the memories from last year burned into our brains, this year's Craft actually did a serviceable job of managing the game, minimizing mistakes, which included getting two important wins against Kansas State and Washington. More including notes on Temple after the jump.

So speaking of the Owls they didn't get to practice this week. No they were not appearing on TV shows or lounging around the City of Brotherly Love. They were taking finals and Golden is making up for lost time due to finals:

The Temple players, who did not practice earlier this week as they took final exams, will watch film of UCLA for the first time today and then hit the practice field.

"We're calling it a four-day minicamp," Golden said. "We'll have some double sessions in there. We'll break by 1 p.m. Monday, and the kids will get two days off. And we'll leave here on Thursday."

Golden has also quashed all the coaching rumors swirling around him (at least for now) to focus on the game:

"I think there's relief," Golden said about no longer having his name mentioned in the media in connection with other jobs. "But we really don't live in that world.

"There were reports coming out, and my wife was saying there was this report and that report, and 'You better know that this is out there.' My wife has my back. But these reports are breaking, and I'm supposed to be in Cincinnati, and I'm not. I'm out recruiting and in kids' homes. I was in Connecticut. I was in New York City. I was here all [last] weekend, and we had 20 recruits and their families in. But I'm glad that it's over, and we're moving forward."

And here is the style of game Owl are looking to play in DC:

"I think the key for us is just to play our style of game," said senior linebacker John Haley. "We've got to play physical, play fast and show the type of team that we are and have been all season."

Added senior offensive lineman Devin Tyler: "We have to believe we can win."

Well interestingly these guys are coming into this game with a loss (just like the Bruins) which kept them out of the MAC championship game. The Sporting News has a preview on our bowl game which gives the following report on Golden's team:

Temple ran for more than 200 yards (in 17-35 loss against Ohio) for the sixth straight game even though it was without Bernard Pierce, sidelined by a left shoulder injury. The MAC freshman of the year should return for this matchup after leading the conference with 1,308 yards rushing and finishing second with 15 touchdowns.

Matt Brown, another Owls freshman, is second on the team with 455 rushing yards, 328 over his last two games. Temple is ranked 23rd in the nation in rushing, averaging 192.3 yards a contest.

The Owls' defense, meanwhile, is ranked 19th against the run, giving up an average of 108.8 yards.

Sophomore Adrian Robinson, who had 12 sacks and was picked as the conference's defensive player of the year, is one of a school-record eight players named to the all-MAC first team.

It is going to be interesting to see how our defense responds to these guys in their very first series. Honestly, I am not really getting the sense right now that our team is in the right, focused mindset to take on these guys. I really hope I am proven wrong. But the feeling I get is that I sense a team on our side which might not be ready (at least from the outset) to take on the determined ferocity of an underdog team which will be looking to a make huge statement on national TV.

Add to that it sounds like our QB situation is uncertain and our coaches are taking their time to make their decision. Perhaps Neuheisel and his staff are playing a little coy by projecting a relaxed, "fun," Southern California vibe around the program. That is fine as long as we can pull out a win in a well played football game (without sloppiness and silly mistakes indicating a lack of focus and concentration).

For the Bruins to win this game on 29th they will have to make a statement early on by taking control of the trenches on both sides. Otherwise, if they come into this game and get caught flatfooted by a well prepared, drilled, and inspired underdog football team, it is going to be long and bitter cold afternoon at RFK.