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Spring Game Night: Roundup & Notes

<em>Photo Credit: <a href="" target="new">gobias83</a></em>
Photo Credit: gobias83

I am assuming many here on BN are getting ready for the finale for Spring football taking in "the Battle at the Rose Bowl" (that's what the folks at Morgan Center are calling it). In case you didn't know, dwdbruin has offered an open invitation to all the BNers to get out there early and tailgate with all his friends:

Get there early!!!

I’m helping to throw a party for CRN called “Then, Now, Forever” for former Bruin footballers, and we’re expecting about 400 of them. (Big names included). It’s in area H, so you might see some of your old favorites hanging around. Please come out if you’re on the fence about it. We’ve been working hard to make it a hit.

Again you can check out the details of all the pre-game festivities leading up to the final scrimmage at the Rose Bowl here. As for the game I think the storylines are fairly simple. LAT leads with note of Prince emerging as the unofficial starter at the end of three weeks of practices:

Kevin Prince is the quarterback. Coach Rick Neuheisel has yet to hold a coronation, but it has to be Prince . . . for a few reasons.

First, UCLA coaches cannot be sure what freshman Richard Brehaut is capable of doing. Brehaut, who enrolled early to participate in spring practice, toured the learning curve (spinning out a few times) but showed impressive raw skills.

Second, UCLA coaches are sure what Kevin Craft is capable of doing. He had a school-record 20 passes intercepted last season, and the Bruins' longest scoring plays in 2007 were interceptions returned for touchdowns.

The job, though, was not won by default. Prince, who redshirted last season, had a solid spring, showing good arm strength and accuracy.

However, given the injury issues at OL (especially at the center) I wouldn't be expecting a pretty/perfect peformance from the offense:

UCLA center Ryan Taylor struggled with fumbled snaps during Thursday’s practice. It might not be fair to fault him for that. It might not be fair to call him a center.

Taylor, who has spent nearly all of spring at guard, switched positions this week after starter Kai Maiava and backup Jake Dean went down with ankle injuries. Dean, who suffered a mild sprain Tuesday, is expected to play in today’s spring game.

“It might not look as pretty as we want it to, given that we’re playing centers without a lot of experience,” Coach Rick Neuheisel said.

More on other personnel notes around tonight's game from the OC Register:

Tight end Morrell Presley (infected cut), who sat out two days of practice this week, returned Thursday and will play. Running back Christian Ramirez, who has been nagged by a hamstring injury for most of camp, is not expected to participate.

With the nagging injuries to our OL and our young QB, I fully expect Price, Carter and co. to have the upper hand. However, the key thing to look out for is whether our offense can move the ball by opening up some running lanes. It's a great opportunity for young backs such as Dean, Knox, and Franklin to bust through and make some lasting impressions heading into summer.

Again it could be difficult with the absence of Maiava and Dean but we will see. As for the QBs, it will be interesting to see how Prince performs in his third scrimmage. As he noted himself while he has been doing all right during practices this spring he needs to do lot better in game situations. Wonder if third time will be a charm tonight at the Rose Bowl.

Again, given the fact how this defense knows the offensive scheme inside and out and the Chow/Neuheisel will likely keep it vanilla, I think it will be an uphill climb for the offense.Still looking forward to hearing the notes and impressions (and seeing pics) from folks who are heading out to the Rose Bowl tonight.