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Kevin Prince, Johnathan Franklin and the Bruins hope to keep building against Arizona

UCLA offense showed improvement against Cal but seeks more touchdowns, fewer field goals. Norm Chow sees 'huge upside' in Prince.

October 24, 2009|Chris Foster

UCLA showed some signs of life on offense last week against California.

The Bruins rolled up 418 total yards. Quarterback Kevin Prince passed for 311 yards. Tailback Johnathan Franklin had a 74-yard touchdown run on a bum left ankle.

That's the glass-half-full spin.

There's also the glass-is-cracked-and-leaking-all-over-the-counter view of things.

The Bruins had to settle for field goals three of the four times they advanced close to the end zone. Prince had a pass intercepted and returned for a touchdown. He also fumbled while being sacked, leading to another touchdown in a 45-26 loss.

Tidying up the situation today against Arizona largely falls on Prince, who will be making his third start since returning from a fractured jaw. He completed 21 of 41 passes against Cal, and put 26 points on the board.

"This guy has a huge upside if he gets better every week," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said.

Prince felt he took a step forward in some areas.

"I was happy with a lot of the split-second decision-making I did," Prince said. "I obviously didn't make the right decision every time, and I made some bad throws. But I felt good with my ability not to really think, but to react."

He should have an opportunity to shine against the Wildcats, who were carved up by Stanford quarterback Andrew Luck.

Luck, who, like Prince, is a redshirt freshman, passed for 423 yards and three touchdowns last week. Oregon State's Sean Canfield had 303 yards passing and two touchdowns against Arizona.

Even so, the Wildcats won both games.

"They're a good zone-coverage team," Prince said. "There is always a window of opportunity, but it closes quickly. We have to run good routes and my throws have to be on time."

Prince did that for the most part against Cal, but he said, "We can't get too far ahead of ourselves. I turned the ball over twice."

As for the Bruins' red-zone woes, Prince said, "It's usually 10 guys doing the right things and one guy messing up. That breaks everything down, whether it's me missing Taylor [Embree] on a route or something else."

Injury report

Both teams have key players banged up on defense.

UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter practiced little for the second consecutive week while resting an injured left knee. Carter has to wear a knee brace to get on the field.

Coach Rick Neuheisel said that Carter would play, though he was not basing this on medical information.

"I just know who Reggie Carter is," Neuheisel said.

The news appeared to be better about Arizona defensive end Brooks Reed, the 2008 team leader with eight sacks.

Arizona Coach Mike Stoops said Reed was still suffering from a high ankle sprain, but was hoping he would "get out there a higher percentage of time." Reed played sparingly against Stanford after sitting out two games.

Chicken or the egg?

Wildcats tailback Nic Grigsby is still bothered by a sore shoulder, though he had a 57-yard run for the winning touchdown against Stanford.

UCLA has faced five running backs who rank among the top 25 rushers in the nation -- Stanford's Toby Gerhart (No. 5), Tennessee's Montario Hardesty (No. 12), California's Jahvid Best (No. 20), Oregon's LaMichael James (No. 23) and Kansas State's Daniel Thomas (No. 25).

It raises the question: Are these guys that good or have the Bruins given them a leg up?

Grigsby, who ran for 124 yards against the Bruins in a 2007 game, checks in this week at No. 41 at 84.8 yards a game.

Up next week: Oregon State's Jacquizz Rodgers, the nation's ninth-leading rusher before today's games.


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