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Spaulding Roundup: Brehaut Steps Up, F-Back Chatter, Jet Ski Fired Up & Other UCLA Notes

Bruins finished their 4th day of pre-season camp without Kevin Prince at QB. For second day in a row Prince sat out because of a back issued termed as "pulled oblique muscle." However, there is no need to freak out. As Blair Angulo blogged on ESPNLA, Prince himself didn't seem all that concerned about it as he put priority on signing autographs for kids at Spaulding over getting treatment from the trainers.

Prince will probably sit out for another day or two as mentioned by Coach Rick Neuheisel in his comments YouTubed below. His resting means more reps for our backup QBs, who have been doing their best to take advantage of the opportunity. Nick Crissman got the reps with first team on Wednesday. It was Richard Brehaut's turn yesterday. So on that note, let's start with CRN's comments after 4th day of practice:

As you can see one of the reporter (presumably Chris Foster from the Trojan Times) was still obsessed over his dumb story on the turf. Bruins had already planned to practice on the grass turf yesterday, which prompted him to pose another conspiracy laden question. As  CRN explained to him as he would probably explain to that annoying kid in fifth grade, "there is no study that would tell you that more injuries happen on turf than grass."

Apparently it is difficult for some of these morans (mostly in the LA Times) to understand that natural turf gets torn up too much during practices and that is why schools often have two different turfs in practice field. It's ridiculous and hilarious to see these guys to see all worked up over it.  Gotta give CRN credit to keep his composure while talking to these reporters day after day. Anyway, enough about that BS there are lot of good stuff to get to including Brehaut's improved play in his second season at UCLA.

As CRN said above, it appears now that Brehaut "knows what he is doing, at least most of the time." Gold wrote about the "rejuvenated player" in his writeup for today's paper:

"Last year I had this opportunity, and I don't think, as a true freshman, I was ready for it. That's what I've really focused on and I've realized, that I wasn't ready for that. I could've done some things differently, could've watched more film.

"I'm going into this season knowing that if an opportunity does arise, that I will be ready for it, and I will be ready to execute what I need to execute." [...]

"I've learned a lot in a year's time about the preparation it takes," Brehaut said. "Coming out here last year, I thought I was prepared, but I learned being in there that there's a lot more that I need to know and take care of. Coming out of high school, I thought I was ready, but that's what a year will do for you."

Brehaut talked about more focused commitment to off-season workouts this summer:

"When I came in the spring after I graduated, I had two months off from when I was on the regimen, and I don't think I was in the best shape I could've been in," Brehaut said. "But (strength coach Mike Linn) has got me right now, and I think I'm doing all the right stuff. I've tried to get faster, and I can feel myself having a better step than I've had in the past."

Brehaut's attitude seems just about right. It is great to see him embracing a positive outlook in which he is doing everything he can to keep himself ready while also keeping the big picture in mind, which potentially has a great future in the form of Prince's successor at UCLA. He also had some interesting comments about the potential of getting big plays out of revolver packages at UCLA:

"We're getting more big plays out of it," said Brehaut, who took most of the snaps with the first team Thursday while starter Kevin Prince rested a sore oblique muscle. "We're getting a lot more opportunities downfield."

Brehaut said that's because the play-action is much more effective when the run game is the main focus.

There was plenty of evidence of that Thursday, when Brehaut connected with receiver Nelson Rosario twice on long scoring plays. On one, Rosario made a nice one handed catch. On the other, he was wide open.

"There was no one within 15 yards of him and that comes from the play action fake," Brehaut said. "We're seeing a lot more of plays like that than we did last year, so that's kind of exciting."

Can't wait to see it how it all develops during game day situations starting next month. Speaking of revolver packages, even Chris Foster's cynicism couldn't hide the potential of F-Back position in this offense. It appears that freshman Anthony Barr, Christian Ramirez and Morrell Presley have "carved out spots" at that position at least for now:

"I think he [Barr] has a chance to impact the game in a variety of ways where he is playing," Neuheisel said.

Added Chow "He is smarter than I expected. When he gets the ball, he does something with it. All of them have been good."

Ramirez has been moved between tailback and safety since he came to UCLA. He was a safety when Neuheisel and Chow asked him to move back to offense as an F-back.

"After I sat down with Coach Chow, and he explained it to me, I was like, 'This looks like it's going to be fun,' " Ramirez said. "You get to do a little of everything."

Presley played the H-back spot as a freshman last season. "You get to run routes all over the field" as an F-back, he said. "There are more plays and different kind of plays. You get handoffs and pitches."  

Love Chow philosophy wrt these three:

"I tell these kids that it doesn't matter how you get the ball, whether we throw it to you or hand it to you, you're going to get the ball," Chow said.

Hope they take advantage of the opportunities coming their way this season. It's a bit mouth watering picturing what these guys can do if coaches do get them loose out in open spaces.

While we get excited about the F-Back position, don't forget our running backs. Jon Gold caught up with the JetSki after practice yesterday:

Note how JetSki just laughed off the concern trolling over the turf and Adidas. Anyway, it appears that he is relishing the competition this Fall:

"That's how it's supposed to be," he said. "Every running back should be saying that. I'd be surprised if they didn't say that and I want them to say that. That's what UCLA needs is running backs that are hungry, running backs that want to turn this program around, running backs that want to be the starter rather than just get a few carries so that's great."

I am rooting for this kid. As excited as I am about the freshmen, DC, I would really love this kid to flash the potential he did during first half of last season before getting hurt in the Cal game. I love his passion for the game and the attitude he has in terms of his sheer devotion to the team concept. He makes it very easy to get even more emotionally tied into this program.

For more notes on practice check out Gold's post on "Inside UCLA." In addition the official blog also posted the following notes after day 4:

On defense, Dietrich Riley continued to make big plays particularly during 1 on 1. Linebacker Todd Golper made a great break on the ball for an interception. Aaron Hester continues to impress and coupled with the rest of the talent in the secondary, our defensive backfield should prove to be one of the most stringent in college football.

Offensively, Nelson Rosario made a gorgeous catch during 1 on 1s. Nelson will be a big time asset for us down the field this year. Johnathan Franklin also had a productive day with great vision for open holes and nice cuts to space. The new pistol offense is certainly showing its benefits in both the run game, with increased production and the pass game.

It gets even more fun today as the team will come out in full pads. Today's practice will be at 4pm. So if you around West LA today, get out there and see the Bruins get after it, and then come back here and let us know how it all went. Sounds like everyone is having a great time out in Spaulding.