Nothing official, but Kevin Prince closes in on starter’s job
UCLA still doesn’t have a starting quarterback . . . officially, anyway.
Kevin Prince continues to work almost exclusively with the first team, but Coach Rick Neuheisel will be holding onto the decision a while longer, though the post-scrimmage stance at the Rose Bowl on Saturday could change things.
But for now, Neuheisel said, “I think the best answer I can give is there is no reason to make that decision right now.”
Neuheisel said he would meet with offensive coordinator Norm Chow today and, “we’ll make a decision about what we want to do at the end of spring ball.”
Prince has been the clear leader in the competition, judging by the time he has spent with the first team. He has shown a strong arm and accuracy.
But the nearest Neuheisel came to a coronation was his assessment that, “I still see enough in him to think he has a chance to be very successful.”
Richard Brehaut, an incoming freshman, has handled much of the second team chores, with Kevin Craft, last season’s starter being mixed in.
Asked what else Prince needs to show him, Chow said, “Not much. He’s done a real nice job. He’s had a real nice spring, as has Richard and Kevin.”
Prince, for his part, said about spring practice, “I felt it went well. I only wish I had been more consistent. I felt I made the plays I needed to make. But I need to them on a more consistent basis.”
The Bruins will run about 70 plays in Saturday’s scrimmage, which begins at 7 p.m. at the Rose Bowl. The parking lot will open at 3 p.m. and the gates open at 6 p.m.
The number of plays will be limited because of injuries at center.
Kai Maiava and Jake Dean both suffered sprained left ankles in the last week. That left Ryan Taylor, a guard from Tyler (Texas) College, and Jeff Baca, the team’s starting left tackle, as centers Thursday.
“It might not look as we want it to, playing with down the line centers,” Neuheisel said. “Ryan Taylor is going to be very good center, but he has work to do before getting down.”
Taylor played exclusively at guard, “except for a couple games my freshman year [at Tyler].” He has not been a full-time center since his junior year at Denison (Texas) High.
The adjustment is tough, Taylor said, because “you have to know what everybody does. I still don’t know all that stuff yet. But I feel more comfortable at center.”
Dean may get some time in, as well, on Saturday.
“The trainers want to see how the ankle feels on Saturday,” Dean said. “In my head, I’m playing.”
Special teams coach Frank Gansz Jr. missed practice to go to Dallas to be with his critically ill father. Frank Gansz Sr. is a long-time NFL assistant who came out of retirement to be an assistant at SMU. “We send Frank our prayers and wish him the very best,” Neuheisel said.