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Spaulding Roundup: Last Practice, Prince's "Protection Plan," & Other UCLA Notes

Before we get to the news and notes let's start with an important programming note. Bruins hold their last practice this afternoon at Spaulding leading up to Saturday's spring game. The practice today will get going earlier - around 2:30 pm PST - instead of the usual 4:00 pm start time. So if you are Westwood today, it's your last chance to check out Bruins practice before this summer.

So let's get to football notes and I want to start with a little NFL. I am not talking about Brian Price and the other Bruins who will be tracking the NFL draft next few days. We can do did a separate post/thread on that topic. Last night while channel surfing stumbled into a very interesting show on tWWL featuring now ESPN analyst John Gruden. Gruden recently held a camp for four NFL QB prospects - Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy, Jimmy Clausen and Tim Tebow - in Tampa, Florida.

The result was a very interesting piece on ESPN (unusual for a network so consumed with flash over substance) which showed Gruden meticulously evaluating these four QBs in person, offering them his candid takes, tearing apart their game tapes (absolutely hilarious what he did to Clausen), while also giving them constructive feedback.

What struck me was his segment featuring Sam Bradford.  I think there is an obvious UCLA angle here. WATCH:

I hope Kevin Prince has already seen the first four minutes of that segment. If he hasn't he needs to watch the part in which Gruden flatly told Bradford:

Take care of your right shoulder and top of your head. Know when to slide and how to slide.

He then went on to chide Bradford for having one of the worst slides in football. They were joking around a bit yet Gruden was serious. Gruden did went on to compliment Bradford's unreal athleticism while watching a play in which Bradford jumped into the end zone Cade McNown style. Yet Gruden's message to Bradford was clear about how he needed to do everything to protect himself.

Gruden meticulously sums up what Kevin Prince needs to have heading into his sophomore season at UCLA.  Simply put Prince needs to have a "protection plan" which entails doing all the basic thinks he need to do to take care of his body. If he doesn't work on his sliding skills and screw around without his mouthpiece, not only will he expose himself to unnecessary danger, he is going to let down the entire team. More notes after the jump.

Speaking of Prince there was a decent Q&A with him on the OC Register (Adam Maya was doing his job for once) in which he made the following observation re. revolver formation in UCLA's offense:

KP: "In the pass game nothing is different. The only thing that's different is I'm not taking five- to seven-step drops. It's all three-step drops and one or two hitches, depending on the play. The timing is the same. It's just a matter of getting used to getting your balance right (coming) out of the shotgun as oppose to a five-step drop. Everything in terms of reading the receivers and defense stays the exact same."

I hope the beat writers pay close attention to that. It's been a little amusing to see few beat writers and national ones like Ted Miller think UCLA is somehow trying out a "new" offense. The fact of the matter is Bruins are not trying out a new offense. Bruins still have the same offense and they are basically emphasizing some new formations and in some cases old ones with new wrinkles.

We have gone over Norm Chow's philosophy in detail in the past (look through our archives). Chow's offense has always been very simple. He often just adds to new formations to it and this is just a continuation of that. The idea behind this is to perhaps loosen up our running game a little more by presenting the QB position as a viable running threat (but not necessarily going Donovan McNabb on every down). From Miller's post:

"It's opening up the passing game a lot and it's really fun to run. I'm liking it so far. It's an efficient way to do things," Prince said. "I might not have to run that much, but the mere fact that they have to have a guy assigned to me, to respect me as a running threat, I think will open up our offense a lot more."

We will see how it all comes together during summer camp. But color me excited and anxious to see the results in September.

Elsewhere, Miller also busted out a little post on the Bruin defense. For the regulars here there is nothing new in Miller's post which essentially trots out the storyline of how Bruins are trying to replace the experience of ATV, Brian Price, and Reggie Carter with new talent. Although I did find CRN's comments on our two corners a little hilarious:

Then there are cornerbacks Sheldon Price and Aaron Hester. Both are over 6-feet. Both are fast. Both have good hips.

"You can't go out and look at two prettier corners," Neuheisel said. "They look like what the NFL looks for. But they've got to play like it."

ROFL. Now let's hope Price and Hester respond to that. Sure don't want Prince to look just "pretty" when he is trying to take on opposing RBs this coming season (better yet perhaps he will not have to if our LBs stay in their spots and get the job done).

Anyway, again don't forget. Last practice starts today around 2:30 pm. Get out there and come back here to share more of your notes/observations getting us ready for Saturday.