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Spaulding Roundup: Buzz Around Bell, Update On Prince & Other UCLA Notes

Let's get to practice notes from yesterday. As Kevin Prince sat out another day (more on his day-to-day situation below the fold), other QBs have stepped up in absence. It sounds like after a rough start Darius Bell is starting to come on his own a bit. 

Coach Rick Neuheisel mentioned that Richard Brehaut is a little "ahead" of Bell at this point of training camp. Yet Bell has certainly gotten coaches' attention with his mobility and ability to improvise through the revolver formation (not a surprise). Bell had a solid practice in the morning and he was asked to run the 1s during the second session. Here is CRN giving his overall impression following the second session which he described as a "crisp" practice:

Hopefully Bell's efforts will fire up Brehaut (and Crissman) even more. I am sure coaches are loving this because it will help them create a sense of urgency among other QBs, including Kevin Prince. More on Bell and Prince's health after the jump.

Blair Angulo from ESPNLA put together a pretty good video splicing together Bell's comments with some of CRN's (posted above):

Coach Chow had an interesting comment about him in the LA Times:

Bell's arm strength isn't on a par with Prince or Brehaut, but Chow said arm strength was "a little overrated. If you're on time and know where the ball is going to go, that's enough."

It wasn't a surprise at all when Bell struggled early on given he hasn't played any football since December. The question around him is whether he can stay consistent and what kind of shape he is in, given he wasn't around the program most of the off-season. Hope he keeps up it up.

As for Kevin Prince he is still day to day. Jon Gold caught up with him after yesterday's practice:

It sounds like Prince is going to try to go through warm-ups tomorrow and see how he feels. I imagine given how Bell is starting to perform, he is even more anxious to come back. lol I think if he gets back in by Wed or Thursday of this week, we are going to be in good shape.

Jon Gold was prodding Kevin about Ricky Marvray and asked him about his competitive spirit. He was trying to get Prince's impression on the Bruin receiver so that he could put together his toplines around UCLA receiver who is working hard to become a mainstay in our WR rotation:

"I'm on my Pokemon status right now: I've got to catch 'em all," Marvray said. "That's what I'm trying to do. I want to be known as the most consistent guy. I don't want to be known as, 'He's a go-route guy. He's a slant guy.' I just want to be known as the guy who catches the ball. You throw it to me, it's going to get caught.

As for practice, here are the notes from the official site:

On offense, Anthony Barr continued to impress, not only in his big playmaking abilities but in his versatility. Over the last few weeks he's proven that he can not only make plays downfield through his precise route running but also carrying the ball and blocking. In addition to Barr, Christian Ramirez has similarly proven his reliability in multiple facets of the game, and has even helped in Barr's development by offering tips and demonstrating assignments. Ricky Marvray had another productive day at the receiver position, demonstrating his sure hands and athleticism by nearly jumping over defenders to snag passes. The receiving corps has found reliable targets in Nelson Rosario and Taylor Embree who have built upon their successes from previous seasons and continue to grow as players.

Defensively, the line applied pressure to the quarterbacks all day, often forcing QBs to dump the ball off for a small gain or securing the incompletion. Their job was certainly aided by an impressive group of linebackers in Akeem Ayers, who had multiple interceptions today and Sean Westgate who was imposing in coverage and coming up to play the run.

Well per uclaluv Ramirez was having a difficult time during morning session yesterday. Hopefully he cleaned that up during afternoon practices.  Few other notes from Gold that are worth keeping in mind:

* Working with the first-team offense because of injuries, Kevin McDermott was very sound. Had a couple of very nice blocks, and to tell you the truth, I'm surprised he's a walk-on. He might not be by the end of the year.

* Randall Carroll continues to look really good in receiver drills and team work, but he muffed a couple of punts and had to do pushups immediately after. He'll need to improve to see work in the return game. [...]

* A quick note: I saw Datone Jones on the side of the field doing dips on his crutches, and it's clear he's willing to stay in shape during his recovery. Shows a lot of commitment to the craft, and Neuheisel was very pleased.

Love Datone's dedication. You can read his full note here.

No major injuries except for nicks and bruises you have been reading about.  Coaches have been shuffling around a little moving guys like Morrell Pressley/Jason Allmond around to adjust to nagging injuries. I wouldn't get too worked up over those switches. I am guessing they will settle into regular rotation once they start getting guys like Cory Harkey, Joe Fauria and Josh Smith back in practices.

Bruins get back to practice at 3 pm PST today. Get out there and take in another day of pre-season camp before it all gets closed following the huge scrimmage this afternoon. Today should be fun because the coaches are planning to hold another mini scrimmage towards end of practice. Should be interesting to hear how the team respond to Saturday's results.