Well, I wish we could end this weekday with some good news on the QB soap opera front. It is getting a little tiring to blog about Kevin Prince's health issues. Yeah, I know, I just blogged about "patience." Seriously though the situation is beyond frustrating and more that I think about it, I think it wouldn't be too prudent to blame anyone over the frustrating mess. Prince sat out part of practice yesterday - again - because of his "stiff and swollen" knee (which was operated on during his high school career. From ESPNLA:
"It's kind of a muddy picture," he said. "So they're not 100% sure on why it is, but the facts are that it is and we're just trying to manage the symptoms."
Prince said that drop-back passing does not aggravate the injury, but that running has caused him problems.
"When you don't have full extension in your knee, it's tough to run, especially getting to top speed," he said. "So running and explosive type movements-cutting and things of that nature-are more difficult than usual."
From the reports it doesn't sound like there is anything physicians can do. They have already done an MRI yet they don't seem to know what is causing the discomfort. From Gold in the Daily News:
"There's not much else to do," Prince said. "We`re just looking to maintain and make progress; Get the swelling out of there and get the full range of what a knee is supposed to do."
So there you have it. Now before everyone gets up in arms and start clamoring for Richard Brehaut, note that he has been having less than mediocre week at Spaulding according to multiple reports from practice this week. So it's not like the coaches are purposefully keeping him away from the starting positions. By all accounts it appears Brehaut - at least for now - has been unable to step up and vow anyone with his performance to justify a starting spot. More after the jump.
Coach Rick Neuheisel made the media after practice yesterday to talk about QB issues, adjusted schedule due to a Thursday night start and other general updates on the team:
As Neuheisel mentioned they "rested" Prince and hopes to "get him back to as close to full speed as he can be." He also said that from what he saw Prince was "feeling good" during the Cal game week and that any injury effect seemed to be from general "wear and tear."
I think if Price is feeling all right by this Sunday and can take every rep next week, the UCLA coaches should stick with him for at least one more game. I still don't think it makes any sense to start Richard Brehaut on national TV against possibly the number 1 ranked team in the country. Brehaut doesn't seem to have step up to earn the job yet. Moreover, it is not going to be helpful to his long term confidence if he starts and then goes on to get absolutely crushed by the Ducks.
It seems like coaches should stick with Prince for at least one more game. Give him the start (provided that he is close to healthy). If he is ineffective in the first few series, then they should put in Brehaut (not wait till the game gets out of hand) and then go from there.
Of course the QB issue in Oregon is going to be moot, if the Bruins cannot handle the Ducks pass rush. Oregon has a solid pass rushing team which averages 2.67 sacks per game (number 24 in the country). BTW interesting UCLA's pass rush (3 sacks per game) ranks number 15. Anyway, the UCLA OL's pass protection imploded against Cal (giving up 5 sacks just in that game). Coach Bob Palcic acknowledged the issue:
"There are breakdowns in protection for a lot of reasons," Palcic said. "But the line was not as sturdy as we should have been. We were faulty in some of our techniques and that was my fault."
Palcic has been shuffling his line a bit this week as by rotating Sean Sheller, Mike Harris and Micah Kia have at tackles. Kia has been chipping in at both left and right side. Also Chris Ward has been getting looks as Eddie Williams went to Hawaii to attend a funeral. These guys will have a lot of pressure on them next Thursday night in a crazy atmosphere at Autzen Stadium. Should be interesting to see how they respond.
- Andrew Abbott and Courtney Viney continued to get most of the first-team reps at cornerback with Aaron Hester subbing in. Safeties Tony Dye and Rahim Moore mostly played their regular positions but also worked in some at cornerback, as they have all week.
- Cornerback Sheldon Price was still on crutches and in a knee brace, but said he hoped to be ready by next week's game. F-back Anthony Barr sat out because of a left calf strain. Receiver Nelson Rosario is off crutches but is still in a protective ankle boot as he tries to return from an ankle sprain.
Hope they all feel healthy soon and can get back in action this Sunday.