Prince on His Mindset

Quarterback Kevin Prince talked about being back with the 1s, the Texas game, getting back on the field against WSU and more...

Kevin Prince talked to us after practice Wednesday.

Q: So how's practice going? Is it nice being back with the 1's?

A: It's fun to get back and get the reps. When I wasn't practicing with the first string I was taking about ten reps per week. It was fun to go out there and throw the ball around.

Q: A couple of the throws against Washington State, especially on a couple of seam routes, it looked like you were a little off. Was that rust or something in the defense?

A: No, just rust. Just me not really having practiced in a couple of weeks and haven't been working those throws and not trusting myself to make those throws. As the game wore on I started to trust myself and get in more of a groove and I think you saw that in the fourth quarter. But yeah, in the second and third quarters I was missing some balls that usually I wouldn't miss.

Q: In those first couple of days after the Texas game, what was going through your head and how did you stay positive?

A: Coach Neuheisel talked to me and told me that he had gone through the same thing in his career and told me that he didn't know when, how or why, but that I'd get another chance and I had to be ready. They'd need me to help win some games. Lo and behold, his prophecy was right and I'm back in there. Obviously you don't like the circumstances, but I just stayed mentally into it and paid attention in meetings. That first week against Oregon State I was kind of not expecting to play, but against Stanford and obviously against Washington State I was really focused and really ready to play.

Q: That first run on the third and four, was that nice to get back into the groove of playing?

A: Yeah, it was just nice to get a first down. I didn't care if it was handing the ball off on an inside zone run or if it was passing a five yard pass, but just getting a first down was good to know that I could do it.

Q: Is it in the back of your head when you take off on a run that you might get hurt?

A: No, I'm not thinking about getting hurt. I'm thinking about protecting myself for sure, but I'm not afraid of taking hits or anything like that. On that run that we just talked about I took a hit and it didn't faze me or anything. Later on you saw me try to go out of bounds on a couple of runs, so I'm just trying to be smarter in that aspect, but it's not in my head that I might get injured.

Q: Is it different not having Brehaut, or any other guy breathing down your neck?

A: It's different for sure. Obviously as you guys know, for a while there we had that whole competition thing going for quite some time. So you always kind of felt like you had to be perfect and couldn't make mistakes and if you did (they might) throw in Richard. It's a little different obviously, but we've still got a capable quarterback in Brett Hundley. He's just not quite as polished as Richard is. It's definitely a different situations. It's helpful to be able to just kind of relax, and if you make a mistake, to move onto the next play.

Q: Talk about how this bye week helps you with all the injuries to the team.

A: We have some injuries and obviously that's going to help us. I think it helps personally for me because I'v enot been able to practice much and so it's nice to be able to get a week of practice getting fundamentals, throwing the ball, and just getting back into a rhythm with the offense.

Q: If you guys didn't pull that game out last week, have you thought about how important that would have been for this season?

A: It was huge. 3-3 and 2-4 is a big difference, a big big difference. Especially in the conference way we want to be in. We're tied for second now with USC in the southern part of the conference and so that was a big win for us. If we didn't get that one, we'd obviously be having a very different conversation right now.

Q: Obviously to be bowl eligible eventually too.

A: Yeah, obviously that's the ultimate goal, to make a bowl. We want to be able to compete for this Pac-12 championship.

Q: Can you talk about your relationship with Brett Hundley?

A: I'm just trying to help him out. He's just the young buck now. I was once in his shoes and I know how the quarterbacks before me helped me out, whether that be Kevin Craft or Ben Olson or Pat Cowan. Those were all guys who kind of mentored me and showed me the way. When I wasn't playing these last few weeks, we kind of just sat behind and watched Richard and kind of went through what we would do in those situations. The last three weeks we just talked and it was kind of fun to have that back and forth with him and I think he's continually improving and it's starting to show through on the practice field which is good for us.

Q: Can you play scout for us on Hundley?

A: Obviously, it's no secret for me to tell you that he's fast. I like to think that I can keep up with him, but I don't think I can. He's got a really strong arm, he's just got to tune some things up in terms of accuracy and footwork, but that'll obviously come with more work and an off season in the program. He's going to be a good quarterback.

Q: You probably wake up in the middle of the night saying "I'm almost that fast. You should see me in my fantasies."

A: I wake up from dreams and call up Brett and tell him I'm faster than him. He's a good kid and it's fun to be around him.

Q: When's the last time you were this healthy?

A: I hate that questions, because it seems like every time I answer it I get another injury.

Q: Do you think you have to be extra careful to not sustain another injury?

A: Yeah, we'd be in a pretty bad spot, not that Brett can't do it. He just doesn't have the experience and we want to have guys out there that are experienced and especially being 3-3 in the conference race, we want to have experienced guys out there. Obviously, we have confidence that Brett can do certain things well, but I definitely need to make sure that I'm protecting myself and stay in the game as much as I can.

Q: Will there be adjustments to the play calling, will you hand the ball more on read plays?

A: I'm not going to sit here and talk about game plan stuff, not that we've made a definitive game plan yet. We'll just have to wait and see.

Q: What do you see on film from them?

A: Haven't gotten to watch too much of it. We watched a little bit today in meetings. They're an aggressive bunch. They've got a couple of guys in their secondary who are very aggressive. They'll sit up and jam receivers and get very physical. Against, Oregon, we saw them load the box up a lot, so they're obviously willing and capable of doing that. We've got to be ready to take advantage of that when the time presents itself. They're going to be coming out firing. They're going to want the win bad, especially in a nationally televised game. It's a big stage for them. It's a big stage for us too, so we've just got to be ready to battle them.

Q: Would I make a bad quarterback if in the red zone I just threw it up to No. 8?

A: You wouldn't be a bad quarterback, no. Whether you throw it high to 8, or 83, or 82, you've got a pretty good chance of completing the pass. We've got some good red zone weapons for sure, and it's very helpful as a quarterback to be able to go back there and have those guys there for you.

Q: But especially No. 8, right? The guy is Frankenstein out there almost.

A: Yeah, he's kind of goofy looking. It's good to have him down there as a red zone threat. I played high school ball with him and we scored some touchdowns back in the day so it's fun to have him back out there with me and to just throw it up to him. He makes you look pretty good.

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