Prince makes progress toward starting in EagleBank Bowl

BY foxsports • December 22, 2009

By Chris Foster, Los Angeles Times

UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince continues to progress toward starting against Temple in the EagleBank Bowl on Tuesday at Washington, D.C.

Prince, who injured his right shoulder in the game against USC, was cleared by team trainers Tuesday morning after treatments and tests. He then took the majority of the reps with the first team in practice.

One concern Coach Rick Neuheisel has is how Prince's shoulder will be affected by the cold weather in Washington. Highs are expected to be about 40 degrees during the game, according to forecasts.

"When we get there spinning around in the cold weather, you never know what it will do," said Neuheisel, who added that Prince wasn't "100% sharp" in practice Tuesday.

Still, barring unforeseen complications, Prince is set to start for the Bruins, though backup Kevin Craft could see playing time as well.

While saying the decision wasn't his to make, Prince said he was ready to play.

"I think the only thing holding me back is from a physical standpoint," Prince said. "There are still a couple throws that really bother me. I played hurt before and I have never had an issue getting over injuries."

Carter sits

Linebacker Reggie Carter sat out practice after a disagreement with defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough over a drill.

"It was over a tackling drill," Neuheisel said. "Reggie is trying to get over a sore knee. Chuck thought he could do the drill. They had a disagreement, so Chuck excused him."

Bullough and Carter talked after practice.

Line dancing

UCLA has been reduced to more or less its offensive line from last season after injuries and academic woes. The Bruins will face a Temple team that ranks 20th nationally against the run, allowing only 108 yards per game.

"The strength of Temple is its defensive front," offensive line coach Bob Palcic said. "We just want to make sure we go into that game 100% confident in our assignments. We eliminate the mistakes and penalties and we'll be fine."

The job got tougher Monday when UCLA center Kai Maiava was ruled academically ineligible. The Bruins' offensive line already had has injury problems, having lost guards Eddie Williams (ankle) and Ryan Taylor (foot).

Jake Dean will start at center and Nick Ekbatani at right guard.

Dean, a fourth-year junior with a year of eligibility left, has said that this will be his last game. After Maiava's academic problems and guard Stanley Hasiak being dismissed from the team, Neuheisel is expected to meet him to see whether Dean would change his mind.

Dean reiterated Tuesday that this would be his last game.

Price check

The ongoing education of freshman cornerback Sheldon Price will extend into the off-season, as he will begin focusing more on physical conditioning.

Price, who is 6 feet 2, 171 pounds, has started 10 games this season after Aaron Hester suffered a fractured fibula. He became the target of offensive coordinators and labored through some difficult moments.

"Knowledge and experience are the key things I've learned," Price said. "You can't learn how to play in a game unless you play in a game."

Price's on-the-job training included seven solo tackles against USC. But the Trojans also picked on Price repeatedly on the touchdown drive that gave them a 21-7 fourth quarter lead.

"I have to work on my eyes," Price said. "The SC game, my eyes were in the backfield too much. They got me on some play action."

Part of the learning curve will be to bulk up, Price said. "I just have to eat as much as I can to get my weight up. It's a work in progress."

Price and Hester, a redshirt freshman, appear to be front runners to earn the starting jobs in spring, but both will be pushed by freshmen Marlon Pollard and Brandon Sermons.

Quick hits

Pollard has a broken orbital bone, the result of the team-day trip to the high dive at UCLA's pool. Pollard did a double flip off and landed in the water on his face. . . . UCLA fans can provide gifts of tickets for armed service personnel for the game. A $25 donation can be made at (310) UCLAWIN. Each donation provides one ticket.

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