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UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince misses some of practice because of sore shoulder

He sits out at the end, having aggravated the shoulder he first hurt last season against USC. He is expected to play in the Pacific 10 Conference opener against Stanford.

September 07, 2010

UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince has aggravated the shoulder he originally injured against USC last season, prompting coaches to keep him on the sideline for the final minutes of practice Tuesday.

His right shoulder has improved somewhat since the weekend but remains sore, according to a source close to the team who wasn't authorized to speak publicly about player health.

Prince participated in much of Tuesday's session before sitting out at the end as backup Richard Brehaut directed the first-string offense through a two-minute drill.

Coach Rick Neuheisel characterized Prince's condition as general aches and pains — declining to be more specific — and said the sophomore is expected to play in the Pacific 10 Conference opener against Stanford at the Rose Bowl on Saturday.

"Kevin's a little sore from the game," Neuheisel said.

Prince suffered a sprain and mild separation of his right shoulder in the cross-town rivalry last November.

Fighting chance

A steady drizzle fell throughout the morning, but all freshman linebacker Jordan Zumwalt could see was a ray of hope.

Zumwalt was one of several young players who got an extra look from coaches, taking reps with a defense that needs more depth after last week's shaky effort against Kansas State.

"The opportunity is right there … knocking on the door," Zumwalt said. "Now I just have to prove myself."

Depending on how they perform this week, newcomers such as Zumwalt, defensive lineman Seali'I Epenesa and defensive backs Dietrich Riley and Anthony Jefferson might earn more playing time this weekend.

There were some mistakes from the freshmen, so Neuheisel and defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough are reserving judgment.

"It's an evaluation process through training camp and through this week," Bullough said. "Are they ready to play?"

Linebacker Akeem Ayers said he and the other starters welcome any help they can get.

"These are guys who can play," Ayers said. "If you can get a few plays off here and there, there's no reason you can't go 100% the whole game."

The Bruins also continued to address tackling issues with a couple of periods of increased contact for the defense Tuesday.

Defensive change

Stanford spent a lot of time in nickel coverage during last weekend's 52-17 victory over Sacramento State, but the Bruins expect something different when the Cardinal comes to the Rose Bowl.

Neuheisel coached with Stanford defensive coordinator Vic Fangio on the Baltimore Ravens' staff several years ago.

"Vic Fangio is a 3-4 guy … he's a disciple of Dom Capers and a lot of what Pittsburgh does on defense," the UCLA coach said. "They have 3-4 principles. So I think we have to prepare for 3-4."

Quick hits

Stanford tight end Levine Toilolo will miss the rest of the season with a torn anterior cruciate ligament. … UCLA offensive lineman Mike Harris is looking forward to playing against Stanford after starting the season with a one-game suspension. "Just watching the game last Saturday felt odd to me and I don't want that to ever happen again," Harris said…. A couple of scuffles broke out Tuesday. Neuheisel said he liked the atmosphere at practice: "Guys came out eager, pads were banging. That's what you want in response to a disappointment."

david.wharton@latimes.com

twitter.com/LATimesWharton

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