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UCLA FYI

UCLA's offense still working out the kinks

The unit is not 'game-ready' yet, Coach Rick Neuheisel says.

August 29, 2009|Chris Foster

The offense took the field. In a game, a delay of game penalty would have followed.

The offense lined up. Guard Eddie Williams jumped before the snap.

UCLA's first team had not even run a play during Friday's scrimmage and it was already 10 yards in the hole.

By the end of Friday's scrimmage, things had smoothed out a little.

There were improvements. "We scored a touchdown, that's an improvement," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said.

But there were enough problems to prompt Coach Rick Neuheisel to say that the offense is on schedule, but, "I think guys realize we are not game-ready yet. I think that's a call to arms over the weekend while they get a little rest."

The first-team offense had a respectable 45 yards rushing in 11 carries, with tailback Johnathan Franklin getting 34 yards. But it came against UCLA's second-team defense, which had three converted offensive linemen and a walk-on freshman as a front four.

Quarterback Kevin Prince had a wobbly day. He completed nine of 13 passes for 73 yards but was hardly sharp. He also had a screen pass intercepted.

"I thought he was better [than in last week's scrimmage], but there were still a couple balls he should have let go," Neuheisel said.

Prince directed a 50-yard scoring drive, completing all three of his passes for 48 yards. Milton Knox scored on a two-yard run.

Chow said he would have to watch video before commenting on play, but there were obvious red flags -- and the yellow ones. The Bruins had three false-start penalties, and were called for an illegal formation.

"You try to preach and preach that we need to get the snap count right," Prince said. "They have a lot to think about, so I have emphasized that before in the huddle. That's kind of my job, and I felt like I have to do a little better than that."

Communication was sporadic elsewhere, particularly on the offensive line, which will have two freshmen plus a community college transfer.

"We still need to work on our communications skills," center Kai Maiava said. "The communication is lacking. I think when we pick up the pace for a live scrimmage, people get kind of rattled, try to do extra, and end up messing it up."

The Bruins have a week to work out the kinks before facing San Diego State in the season opener.

"We have to learn that you don't get the feel-out process in games. That's too important a portion of the game," Neuheisel said.

"They have to get their motor running and be ready to go on first down."

Bruins' offense could be tight

The Bruins may use fewer fullback formations in order to get more tight ends on the field. UCLA has a strong group in Logan Paulsen, Corey Harkey, Nate Chandler and Ryan Moya.

"I think we owe it to the guys to put our best guys on the field," Chow said. "We can take advantage of a couple matchup problems. It's a position where we're strong."

The Bruins expect freshman Jayson Allmond to develop into a strong fullback but are using Chane Moline as the starter this season. The extra tight ends can strengthen the fullback spot, which lacks quality depth.

Quick hits

Freshman Morrell Presley had a 15-yard touchdown reception and another catch for 21 yards to the one-yard line. He is expected to pick up playing time with wide receiver Gavin Kethcum unlikely to play in the opener because of a pulled right hamstring. . . . Kicker Kai Forbath, out the last week because of a sore right leg, had field goals of 25 and 47 yards.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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