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UCLA FOOTBALL FYI

Bruins hoping for consistency

Coach Rick Neuheisel says the team needs better play at quarterback and he is expecting more now that starter Kevin Prince has returned.

October 13, 2009|Chris Foster

UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel was asked to itemize the Bruins' must-do list coming off a 24-10 loss to Oregon.

"It would be a long list," he said.

But what rolled off his tongue immediately was, "We need to get consistent play from our quarterback. Obviously, with Kevin now being back in and having some more game experience underneath his belt, we'll get more from Kevin Prince."

Quarterback play will probably be the topic of the week leading up to Saturday's game against California at the Rose Bowl.

Prince was sluggish coming off a three-week absence because of a fractured jaw. He completed 13 of 25 passes for 81 yards and had one pass intercepted. The redshirt freshman called Oregon the "worst game" of his life. But he came away with an understanding about what went wrong.

"Once we got in a hole, Oregon started doing different stuff," Prince said. "They were rushing three guys and dropping five deep. We weren't necessarily prepared for that."

It was a lesson for Prince, who said he has to do a better job of studying the film.

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Point, counterpoint

Neuheisel held his own debate when asked whether UCLA receivers contributed to the poor passing attack.

"We have guys open who are running precise routes; we have to hit those passes," Neuheisel said.

But he immediately added, "Guys do need better urgency in route running."

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Bowling anyone?

A UCLA victory over California would go a long way to putting the Bruins on the path to a bowl game.

A loss? That would likely put the Bruins in a situation where a 6-6 record wouldn't be good enough.

Finishing 6-6 after a loss to California would leave the Bruins at 3-6 in Pacific 10 Conference play, which almost certainly would mean they would finish too low in the standings to snag one of the conference's bowl slots.

"I haven't thought that far ahead," Neuheisel said. "I don't look at it that way. I look at it as a chance to get better. After being 3-0 and taking it on the chin a couple weeks, the only way I know to think about it is, 'Let's go play this game, play our best, and see if we can get our fourth win.' "

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Price check

Cornerback Sheldon Price, a first-year freshman, may have trouble holding onto his starting spot. He and sophomore Courtney Viney are both listed No. 1 on the depth chart.

Price had a few rough moments in the Oregon loss, most noticeably on a third-quarter scoring pass. Oregon's Jeff Maehl caught a slant and then easily brushed aside the 160-pound Price on his way to a 20-yard touchdown.

"Sheldon did some really good things," Neuheisel said. "I know he wishes he could have gotten the guy down. He was certainly in position to get him down. But he's getting better."

Whether it's Price or Viney on Saturday, Aaron Hester will reclaim that starting spot when he comes back from a fractured fibula. His return could come against Arizona on Oct. 24.

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Injury report

An MRI exam revealed that linebacker Reggie Carter suffered a "mild" sprain to his left knee, Neuheisel said. Carter's status will be known later in the week. . . . Defensive end Korey Bosworth (bruised ribs) and tailback Johnathan Franklin (ankle) are day to day.

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chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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Up next

UCLA (3-2, 0-2) VS. CALIFORNIA (3-2, 0-2)

Saturday at the Rose Bowl, 12:30 p.m., Channel 7

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