The Bruins returned to practice for the first time since their lopsided loss at California on Saturday only to deal with the distraction of the suspensions of Josh Smith and Morrell Presley, who will not play when UCLA faces Oregon on Oct. 21 because they violated team rules.
"We’ve had a conversation as a football team about what we think is appropriate behavior and it’s up to each individual to adhere to the behavior and when you cross the line, there are sanctions," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "It’s a teachable moment and we’re going to take advantage of the teachable moment."
A few tidbits from practice:
The open competition at quarterback officially began with Kevin Prince and Richard Brehaut splitting most of the reps with the first and second teams. Brehaut appeared to take the early lead after Prince had two poorly thrown passes intercepted. Neuheisel said he hoped to have a decision by early next week. "I want consistency," Neuheisel said. "I want leadership. I want management and I want consistency. I don’t think any coach in the country wants anything other than that. Big plays are wonderful, but we need to hit balls that we should hit."
Offensive coordinator Norm Chow didn't sound too thrilled about the idea of having an open competition, saying he would rather pick one and stick with him. Prince would be his choice, he said. "Right now if we had to play, I’m sure it would be Kevin Prince," Chow said. "That’s my opinion."
Prince said the competition is just part of the job, especially with an offense that has struggled to move the ball through the air. "It’s football. It’s a competitive sport and just that we’re going to have an open competition. That’s fine. Me and Rich have both been there before in competitive spots and that’s what football is all about."
Courtney Viney and Andrew Abbott were working with the first team at cornerback, replacing Sheldon Price, who is injured, and Aaron Hester, who played with the second team on Tuesday. "Aaron has had some troubles, but I believe in Aaron Hester and I believe that competition is good for everybody and I think Aaron Hester still has a lot of football ahead of him," Neuheisel said.
Price had an MRI exam that revealed a sprained knee. He was on crutches and in a knee brace, but Neuheisel said he wasn't ruled out for the Oregon game. Defensive lineman Owamagbe Odighizuwa had an MRI exam on his shoulder and it showed no damage. Odighizuwa practiced with the first team Tuesday.
Receiver Nelson Rosario was still in a walking boot to protect his sprained ankle but wasn't on crutches as he had been last week. Rosario missed the game against California, but said he hopes to have the boot off by the end of this week. Neuheisel said Rosario is "working hard" to be ready for the Oregon game.