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UCLA FOOTBALL FYI

UCLA's defense has some cracks

Rick Neuheisel says Bruins have to improve in that area when they play California on Saturday.

October 03, 2010|By Chris Foster

Seeing UCLA play defense on tape Sunday didn't look any better than it did in person, apparently.

Washington State quarterback Jeff Tuel threw for 311 yards as the 1-4 Cougars gave the Bruins all they could handle before losing, 42-28. It was "surprising" Coach Rick Neuheisel said, as UCLA's pass defense "was something we felt was our strength, but it wasn't Saturday."

The Bruins face California this week, and the Golden Bears coaches are certain to pore over the game tape. Cal's Kevin Riley ranks a respectable 34th in the nation in passing efficiency at 144.5.

UCLA had trouble finding receivers at times and was outfought for balls other times. Toss in two pass interference penalties, and the Bruins were left with a woeful afternoon.

"They were playing pitch and catch," Neuheisel said. "Their quarterback had a big day, but frankly, we should have been better. We have to shore that up quickly."

Prince watch

Neuheisel said Kevin Prince goes back in as the Bruins' starting quarterback if he is healthy.

"Kevin says he feels good today, but we'll wait to see what he looks like Tuesday," Neuheisel said.

Prince sat out Saturday's game because of a knee injury. Richard Brehaut played in his place and managed the offense well enough, though he completed only seven of 17 passes for 80 yards after the Bruins' first drive.

Bears in cross hairs

This will be Cal's second experience against the "pistol" offense this season. The first one wasn't very pleasant to those in Berkeley, as Nevada rolled up 316 yards rushing in a 52-31 victory.

Neuheisel was spinning that as a Cal advantage.

"One of the advantages of having a novelty offense is teams don't get time to prepare for it," Neuheisel said. "They have the advantage of having seen it and having two weeks to prepare."

Get Carter?

While others on the Bruins' defense had lots to pick over during game-tape sessions, defensive tackle David Carter can bring a bucket of popcorn and enjoy the show.

Carter was generally a pain to the Washington State offensive line, finishing with three sacks.

"Besides the three sacks, he had two more hits on the quarterback," defensive line coach Todd Howard said. "If he plays like that the rest of the year, he can go in the first three rounds in the NFL draft. The pros are going to love his size."

Carter, after the game, was not looking so far ahead. The game at Cal was on his mind.

"We almost got caught this week," Carter said. "We got to punch Cal in the mouth right away."

Injury update

Wide receiver Nelson Rosario had a second X-ray on his left ankle Sunday, which Neuheisel said was negative. Free safety Dalton Hilliard (sprained right shoulder) is expected to practice Tuesday, Neuheisel said.

chris.foster@latimes.com

twitter.com/cfosterlatimes

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