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Spaulding Roundup: Scrimmage Storylines

<em>Randall Caroll starting today. Photo Credit: E. Corpuz</em>
Randall Caroll starting today. Photo Credit: E. Corpuz

It's scrimmage Saturday. As mentioned in my previous post normally this type of scrimmage is lot more about the festivities leading up to it and after it than the actual plays during the scrimmage. I think it is reasonable to expect that the coaching staff will keep everything fairly basic on both sides of the ball. However, it will be exciting for those who haven't been able to make it down for practices because they will get to see a number of talented kids for the first time in a Bruin uniform.  As captainqtp noted Randall Carroll - Number 1 - is going to get the start on offense as Austin is away for a wedding reception (who scheduled it this weekend?!). It should be fun to watch our two number 1s - ATV and Carroll - going right at each other.

There will be an interesting subplot in today's scrimmage thought. It will be around our RBs. Christian Ramirez, who has been nicked up a little this fall camp (and he also sat out a big part of spring camp) will be in the spotlight. Per the LA Times, CRN is expecting Ramirez to step up today:

"He’s got to play tomorrow," Coach Rick Neuheisel said. "He has to play and play a significant amount." That means "with four backs, if we get 80-90 plays, I hope he can get somewhere around 10 carries." [...]

"Johnathan Franklin has had an unbelievable camp, and Milton Knox has been unbelievable," Neuheisel said. "What’s the pecking order? Everyone deserves a chance to show something."

Ramirez's chance needs to be Saturday.

"We can’t stir around and put a blind eye the way the other kids are running," Neuheisel said. "I think he is eager to get going and hopefully Chris gets rolling tomorrow night."

One of the advantages Ramirez has is coaches know he can provide pass protection. It’s the main area of concern about Franklin and Knox.

"They’re improving, but it is still work in progress," Neuheisel said. "Until they do it without coaches standing right behind them, not against a blocking bag but a thing that is actually moving, we won’t be sure."

Well Christian has been facing a lot of heat on the message boards. Lot of people are anxious to see what Coleman, Frankling and Knox can do on a regular basis without caring too much about the coachs's concerns about their blocking abilities (which they might have improved upon since this past spring). Christian for his part realizes that at this point he does need to prove himself on the field:

"It's one thing to know what you're doing, it's another thing to do it," Ramirez said.

Those are very mature comments on the part of Christian. I am hoping he will be able to step up and validate coach's belief that he was the top RB coming out of spring camp. If not I am sure coaches will end up going with backs who have been productive during practices. More practice related notes after the jump.

Kevin Prince sat out yesterday's practice because of a sore arm. From the Daily News:

Neuheisel shut down redshirt freshman quarterback Kevin Prince's workload in Friday's morning practice, and Prince didn't do much in the afternoon practice because of a sore right arm. Prince is expected to play in today's scrimmage.

"I'm not worried at all," Prince said.

Said Neuheisel: "That's to be expected on Day 13 of camp, and you're throwing as much as he's been throwing, you're arm gets a little dead. We've got to monitor that and keep him on a pitch count."

That makes sense to me. Also, speaking of bumps and bruises, the LAT has an update on the OL shuffle following Kia's injury:

Mike Harris worked at right tackle Friday morning.

"Mike is my third tackle, so he has to know both spots," offensive line coach Bob Palcic said. That was part of the fallout after senior offensive lineman Micah Kia suffered a season-ending knee injury Wednesday.

UCLA's current starting line -- tackle Xavier Su'a-Filo, guard Stanley Hasiak, center Kai Maiava, guard Eddie Williams and tackle Jeff Baca -- is close to being set in stone. Coaches will also explore other options at guard in case Hasiak struggles.

One move available to them is putting Maiava at guard, where he started nine games for Colorado in 2007, and play community college transfer Ryan Taylor at center.

If folks are wondering, whether coaches will bring Sheller or Chandler back to OL, think again. From the OC Register:

"Sheller will stay over with the defense," Palcic said. "They really need some depth over there and I’m comfortable with the guys I have left."

From that comment I am going to assume Chandler will be stay at TE as well. Also, think it's noteworthy how Palcic sounds "comfortable" with the group he has at OL. Don't recall hearing that kind of comment from him last season. I can see why that kind of comment will make many of us hopefuly to the point of delusional. :-)

BTW big ups to Sheller for being a team player (much like Chandler from last season) and accomdating the coach's needs even if it the position shift might be a little bewildering:

Neuheisel attributed Sheller’s demotion to the influx of new players on the offensive line, which includes two true freshmen and a JC transfer. They then seem to beat out Sheller, seeing that Neuheisel approached him at the beginning of this week and asked him to switch to defensive tackle.

"He’s a total team player," Neuheisel said. "From fighting back from the injuries he’s sustained to now being of use on the defense. If need be he’d come back over and have the right attitude."

Sheller, who has not played on defense since 2005, struggled while working with the second string Thursday. He is still very much learning his new position but has welcomed the move thus far.

"I’m pretty excited about it," he said. "I really wasn’t doing much with the offense. Whatever the team needs me to do, I’m here for the team. I’m not disappointed at all."

That kind of story makes us root for kids like Sheller even harder. It will be hell of a story if he ends up contributing from that position this season.

Lastly, before heading out to Drake, note some players will be sitting out due to minor bumps and bruises. Kai Forbath (sore right leg), Jerzy Siewierski (back) and Gavin Ketchum (hamstring) are going to sit out today. I rather have those guys healthy than aggravate minor injuries at a Fall scrimmage.