The most effective target in UCLA’s passing game the last two weeks has been Joseph Fauria, the 6-foot-8 tight end.
Quarterback Kevin Prince has 27 completions in those games, with nine going to Fauria.
The combination hooked up twice for touchdowns against Colorado last Saturday — the first touchdown passes Prince has thrown to Fauria since they were teammates at Encino Crespi High.
“We figured it out the other day, it was our junior year,” said Fauria, whose six touchdown receptions are the most by a UCLA player since Marcedes Lewis in 2005. “That’s amazing.”
Prince remembered it well: "[La Canada] St. Francis, November.”
Prince missed his senior football season in high school because of a knee injury, then he came to UCLA. Fauria played at Notre Dame and transferred to UCLA after one season.
“I room with the guy, so it has been miserable when I wasn’t throwing him touchdowns,” Prince said.
Prince and Fauria have been close ever since meeting as eighth-graders.
“We were at the movies. He was in the row behind me with friends and I was sitting with some girls,” Fauria recalled. “I was showing off, saying stuff at the screen, and Kevin told me to be quiet. I said, ‘No.’ ”
Prince: “I don’t think I used the words ‘be quiet.’ It was something stronger.”
Fauria: “Yeah, when I met my best friend it started with us arguing.”
There’s a catch
The Bruins will have their hands full Saturday matching up with USC receivers Robert Woods and Marqise Lee, but cornerback Aaron Hester said the manpower is there to do it.
“We’ve got three great cornerbacks — me, Sheldon Prince and Andrew Abbott,” Hester said. “We’ve just got to match their intensity. We can’t let them get their mojo going early. It’s a big challenge. They are proven guys.”
A flu bug is going around the UCLA team. Running back Johnathan Franklin, cornerback Randall Carroll and guard Albert Cid missed practice.
Linebackers Sean Westgate and Isaiah Bowens, who both suffered concussions against Colorado last Saturday, also did not practice.
Graffiti was scrawled all over the box that protects UCLA’s bear statue Tuesday. USC students were not to blame.
Occupy UCLA set up camp at the statue with 20 tents as of Tuesday afternoon. A banner, “Occupy UCLA: Public Or Private” was attached to the box, which was covered with handwritten protest statements.
UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel planned to show some solidarity Tuesday.
“I’m sending pizzas out to them,” Neuheisel said.
UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero announced on his blog that UCLA would “be unveiling a uniform that we have been working on with the Adidas design team for several months.” The Bruins will wear all-white uniforms with a white helmet against USC. … Offensive lineman Sean Sheller, who suffered a broken arm in the second week against San Jose State, will not be able to play in the Bruins’ bowl game as he had hoped.