Kevin Prince was cleared to play and will start at quarterback for UCLA against Oregon. That was made clear in practice Wednesday.
Prince's fractured jaw was pronounced healed enough for him to play at the Rose Bowl on Saturday. He then spent the entire practice working with the first team.
Bruins Coach Rick Neuheisel tossed out traditional coach-speak, "I just want to make sure Kevin has his timing and confidence." But those familiar with the program, who are not authorized to speak about the situation, said there was little chance that Prince would be sitting Saturday.
Even Prince seemed sure, saying, "I'm preparing like I'm the starter. I'm taking all the reps with the first team. If the coaches don't go that way, that's their decision."
Prince struggled through practice, missing on more than a handful of throws. Yet, he also displayed arm strength and was on target enough to be in line to start.
"I didn't make as much progress as I would like," Prince said. "You don't want to miss wide-open receivers. I know where to go with the ball and I don't feel my decision making is leading me astray. It's just accuracy and timing on throws. If I'm not done tomorrow, then I'm going to have to do some extra work Friday to make sure it's right for Saturday."
Freshman Richard Brehaut will be Prince's backup.
Stanford Coach Jim Harbaugh let a big cat out of the bag this week, saying that his coaches studied the substitute pattern used for UCLA defensive tackle Brian Price. The Cardinal waited until Price was off the field before calling a flea flicker, which went for 46 yards and set up a touchdown.
"We didn't want to run the flea flicker when Price was in there," Harbaugh told Bay Area reporters. "By studying the film, we could see he would play three plays, then after three plays he would go to the sidelines. We just kind of waited for that three plays to be up and saw him on the sideline and called the flea flicker."
And why was it important to have Price out of the game before running the play?
"That's a guy who is going to make a lot of money playing football," Harbaugh said. "[I was] scared to death of trying to run the flea flicker with him splitting the gap. That would have been a disaster."
UCLA defensive coaches are expected to alter substitute patterns, though defensive line coach Todd Howard said, "He can say what he wants, but Brian is not going to play the entire game. I'm going to make sure everyone on the field is 100%."
It's becoming clear that the Bruins will face Nate Costa at quarterback when they play the 13th-ranked Ducks. Jeremiah Masoli, the Ducks' starter, suited up Wednesday but did very little during practice, according to media reports in Oregon.
Masoli, who rushed for 170 yards against the Bruins last season, injured his knee against Washington State on Saturday.
Costa, a junior, presents less of a running threat. He has had two knee operations since coming to Oregon in 2006, when he was the heir apparent to former Ducks quarterback Dennis Dixon.
Free safety Rahim Moore (concussion) was cleared to play Saturday, Neuheisel said. . . . Starting cornerback Alterraun Verner (flu) was back at practice after being out Tuesday.