Neuheisel Comments; Spring Game Review

The Spring Game was pretty much as you might expect, with the offense struggling, and the defense looking dominant. Quarterback Kevin Prince looked more comfortable as the night progressed, particularly in the spread offense...

While you might be able to say it was pretty much as expected.

It's probably fair to say that it was a bit worse offensively than expected.

The offense struggled, to put it mildly. The first-string offense couldn't get a pass off against the #1 defense, and didn't do well against even the #2 defense. It did start to move the ball a bit against a mix of second-string and third-string defensive players.

It was Kevin Prince's first time under center in a spring game at the Rose Bowl, and it showed. He looked out of rhythm for most of his series, but then looked more comfortable late in the scrimmage.

Prince was 11 for 24 for 134 yards, while throwing one touchdown, and one interception, in the first series, to Alterraun Verner. His biggest gainer from scrimmage was on a roll, finding Terrence Austin down the field on a deep out for a gain of 30 yards.

Richard Brehaut, working with the 2s against the 2s and 3s, had a few good moments, and, for his first time in a situation like this, looked fairly good. He wasn't as effective overall as Prince, but better than you might expect from a true freshman quarterback who is just a few weeks removed from first stepping on a UCLA practice field.

Brehaut was 7 for 14 for 47 yards and also threw 1 touchdown.

Kevin Craft was 0 for 5. In his first series with the 2s, he scrambled and tried to improvise a shovel pass that fell incomplete, and he was pulled out of the game.

The receivers had a disappointing night, seemingly unable to get separation and with many dropped balls. Austin had three catches for 40 yards, and Antwon Moutra and Jerry Johnson also had three catches.

The running backs looked okay, with starter Christian Ramirez mot participating, the coaching staff still wanting to be safe with his strained hamstring. The starter was Derrick Coleman, who ran for 14 yards on 7 carries, and didn't look like he had much explosion or ability to break tackles. Milton Knox led all rushers with 44 yards on 8 carries, and showed some shiftiness, even though he was going against the #2 and #3 defense most of the time. Aundre Dean had 33 yards on five carries, and popped a nice run for 15 yards. Raymond Carter had 33 yards on 9 carries, and the biggest run of the night when he exploded through the middle for a gain of 18 before he was cut down by E.J. Woods. Johnathan Franklin, who got the #2 reps, had 11 yards on five carries and a four-yard touchdown run.

As we cited going into the scrimmage, the key would be pass protection, and it truly was. Against the #1 defense, the pass protection was poor.

Perhaps something to take away from the scrimmage was a bit of an extended experiment in the spread. With the pro-style scheme sputtering, I was wondering when offensive coordinator Norm Chow might utilize a spread more. A spread is far easier to plug into than a pro-style offense – less reads, more reaction. Without, say, superior talent, it can make an offense more effective in a shorter time by spreading out the offense and trying to get its more effective players in space and isolated. The last few series Saturday night were done mostly from a spread, predominantly utilizing a three-wide, double-tight, shot-gun formation, and Prince looked very comfortable, being able to quickly find receivers. He got his best protection of the night and was able to get rid of the ball well before any pressure got to him.

Besides Franklin's touchdown, Brehaut connected with Jerry Johnson for a ten-yard score, and Prince threw a nice comebacker to fullback Toby Umodu for a 16-yard touchdown.

If you want to look on the bright side, UCLA's defense looked dominating. Even taking into consideration that UCLA's offense might not be great, the defense, though, clearly has a chance to be very good. Brian Price was uncontainable; Reggie Carter was a force everywhere on the field, and the Bosworths were very active. The #1 defense was so good they sat out the second half of the scrimmage, with Price and Jerzy Sierwierski playing catch on the sideline, looking pretty fresh.

Brian Price was credited with two sacks, and Sean Westgate with one. Price had a total of 4 tackles for loss.

There were an estimated 8,000 fans in attendance.

We'll have more coverage of the scrimmage on Sunday, with interviews, video interviews, photo galleries, feature stories and more...

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Neuheisel After Saturday's Spring Game:

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