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UCLA FYI

UCLA's Kevin Prince puts his head in the game

He says that a big part of the game is to not worry about what people are saying, and that he thinks last week's fourth-quarter effort helps the team's momentum.

November 06, 2009|Chris Foster

Kevin Prince, UCLA's quarterback, has a handle on what is expected of him: the world.

"I'm adjusting to more criticism on a bigger stage, accepting the fact you can't please everybody," Prince said. "A big part of the game is mental, being able to move on and not worry about what people are saying."

What UCLA fans are saying is that they hope Prince's second half last week was an evolution, not a hiccup.

Prince threw for 323 yards in a 26-19 loss to Oregon State, 198 in the fourth quarter as he rallied the Bruins from a 16-point deficit to tie the score. And when the game ended, the Bruins were driving again, having reached the Oregon State 15-yard line.

"The more time you get out there and play, the more relaxed you are and the better you will play," Prince said. "That mattered in the fourth quarter. We were moving the ball, scoring. It builds team morale and confidence."

Prince found his confidence two days before the Oregon State game, after Coach Rick Neuheisel asked him to take more risks during games. Prince got wide receiver Terrence Austin and tight end Ryan Moya and went out to the practice field to throw the ball.

"Coach Neuheisel said something needed to be done," Prince said. "We couldn't be afraid to try to make plays. So I did what I've always done, went out and did some passing. I felt like my old self again."

Prince completed 22 of 34 passes against the Beavers. Now comes the tricky part, duplicating that fourth quarter, expanding on it . . . and winning.

"I thought it has been his best week of practice," Neuheisel said. "I'll be disappointed if he doesn't keep up that momentum."

Taking shots

Prince completed five passes of 20 yards or more against Oregon State and is itching to get more, saying, "We need to be able to take great chances downfield."

That might not be possible against Washington, offensive coordinator Norm Chow said.

"You have to do what the defense allows you to take," Chow said. "Oregon State was pressing corners all afternoon. Washington is not going to do that. Yeah, we'd like to go downfield, but if they aren't going to let us, we can't. So you manufacture it another way."

Injury report

An X-ray on cornerback Aaron Hester's right leg was negative for a fracture, but he has calcium deposits and loose cartilage. Hester, who suffered a broken fibula in the same leg in the season opener, was not in uniform for practice. . . . Receiver Morrell Presley will be out at least one week because of a sprained left shoulder. . . . Randall Carroll, who has a groin injury, is doubtful for Saturday's game.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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