Defense dominates UCLA spring game
Prince and Brehaut struggle in "pistol" though Coleman is productive at running back
PASADENA, Calif. -- The pistol might need to adjust its scope.
The UCLA football team displayed its new offense Saturday night at the annual Spring Game, but quarterback Kevin Prince was off-target with most of his throws from the "pistol" formation.
The redshirt sophomore completed only five of 13 passes for 72 yards out of the semi-shotgun formation, did not throw a touchdown pass and was intercepted once.
Not the type of exhibition hoped for in front of an estimated 12,500 fans at the Rose Bowl.
"We missed some real wide-open throws," said Norm Chow, the offensive coordinator for UCLA.
Prince misfired on eight of his first 10 attempts and failed to get a first down on the first four possessions by the Bruins' first-team offense.
It wasn't until the fifth drive that UCLA's offense finally got into gear behind running back Derrick Coleman, who carried the ball on four consecutive plays for 49 yards and scored on a five-yard touchdown run.
"I felt like I was rushing stuff at times," said Prince, who started 11 games last season, passing for 2,050 yards, eight touchdowns and was intercepted eight times. "I was missing throws I don't normally miss."
Prince was especially disappointed that he didn't put on a better show in front of the fans. The offense had been clicking during recent on-campus scrimmages, but Prince overthrew a number of receivers in his final outing of the spring.
"It would've been nice to go out on a better note," he said.
It wasn't just the passing attack that was missing from the offense. The pistol is designed to open up running opportunities for the quarterback as well, but Prince struggled to generate any offense on the ground.
"It was frustrating," Prince said of his ground game. "You put in all that time in the weight room and you expect to break those tackles."
Coach Rick Neuheisel said he thought the offense may have grown over-confident after its success with the offense this spring.
"This will hopefully light a fire," he said. "I don't know if they were thinking they were going to come in and run the table."
Second-string quarterback Richard Brehaut wasn't much better, completing just three of nine passes for 29 yards. Brehaut, a sophomore from Rancho Cucamonga, started out strong, completing his first three attempts.
On a positive note, redshirt freshman quarterback Ted Landers, a walk-on from Torrance, completed all four attempts, including the only touchdown pass of the night, a 15-yarder to tight end Andrew Yelich on the final play of the 80-minute scrimmage.
Defense can rest assured
The defense recorded eight sacks and intercepted two passes, shining a positive light on the otherwise dismal evening.
"It was a defensive night," Neuheisel said. "I coach that side of the ball too, so it was a win-win."
Datone Jones, a junior out of Compton High School, led the way with two sacks, both coming in the early going against the first-team offense. He also recorded a fumble recovery.
Chuck Bullough, the defensive coordinator for UCLA, said Jones will be counted on to fill the shoes of Brian Price, who was selected in the second round of the NFL draft Friday by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
"Brian Price used to take over games," Bullough said. "Now, it's [Jones'] turn."
It's all downhill for Coleman
Coleman finished with 64 yards in six carries and a touchdown, all coming on draws.
The junior from Troy High in Fullerton said the new offense plays to his strengths.
"I feel like this is the offense for me," he said. "I'm a downhill runner. ... I don't know any other way to run."
Forbath kicking it in gear
Kai Forbath was undoubtedly the biggest offensive star of the night.
The redshirt senior and consensus All-American last season made all four field-goal attempts, clearing the cross bar from 34, 44, 51 and 57 yards.
Some of the spectators along the sidelines drew more attention than the players on the field.
On one side of the field was soccer star David Beckham, New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady, and New England wide receiver Wes Welker.
Brady spent part of the game throwing passes to Beckham's young sons.
On the other side of the field was Hall of Fame receiver Jerry Rice.
The reason for Rice's attendance was more understandable as his son, Jerry Rice Jr., is a redshirt freshman receiver for the Bruins.
Rice caught one pass for six yards, which set up a 52-yard field goal by Forbath.