UCLA: Darius Bell

A look at the Pac-12's free-agent signings

May, 12, 2014
5/12/14
7:00
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There were 34 Pac-12 players selected during the NFL draft, but there will be more than twice that many rookies in NFL training camps this summer. Shortly after the draft ended, the dominoes started falling and those who went undrafted started signing free-agent contracts.

The following list of undrafted free agent signings, which was compiled from various announcements and media reports, could change in the coming days:

Arizona
Arizona State
California
Note: K Vincenzo D'Amato will reportedly attend Green Bay's rookie minicamp.

Colorado
Oregon
Oregon State
Stanford
Notes: S Devon Carrington (Pittsburgh) and LB Jarek Lancaster (Oakland) will attend rookie minicamps.

UCLA
USC
Utah
Notes: DT LT Tuipulotu will attend Green Bay's rookie minicamp and C Vyncent Jones told the Deseret News he will attend minicamps for Pittsburgh and Kansas City.

Washington
Note: S Sean Parker will reportedly attend Washington Redskins rookie minicamp.

Washington State
Note: K Andrew Furney will attend Seattle Seahawks rookie minicamp.

Noel Mazzone throws changeup against Utah

October, 17, 2012
10/17/12
6:00
PM PT
LOS ANGELES -- Noel Mazzone has a pretty nasty changeup.

UCLA's offensive coordinator doesn't like to use it much, preferring his offense to go fast, faster or fastest, but on days such as last Saturday, he'll change up the pace in a strategic move.

Going into last week's 21-14 victory over Utah, the Bruins had been averaging 82.6 plays per game, or one every 22.64 seconds. Injuries required the Bruins to start seven freshmen on offense against the Utes so Mazzone figured he'd be better off slowing down the pace.

UCLA ran a season-low 68 plays, averaging one every 27.7 seconds.

"We kind of slowed it down on purpose last week because we had so many new guys in there," Mazzone said. "I don't using freshmen, but when you have seven of them running around out there at the same time it worries me."

The slowdown had an impact on UCLA's offensive numbers. The Bruins were averaging 33.5 points and 529 yards in total offense before that game, but scored 21 and had a season-low 354 yards. The play calling went more conservative as well, with 47 runs and a season-low 21 pass attempts.

"I actually called three runs in a row down in the red zone inside the five which is like a first for me, ever," Mazzone said. "Lightning didn't strike me or anything."

Injuries to receivers Darius Bell and Devin Lucien have forced true freshmen Jordan Payton and Kenneth Walker into starting roles without as much practice time. The result was a season-low 183 yards passing for quarterback Brett Hundley, more than 100 yards below his season average before the game.

Mazzone said he doesn't like to get in defensive battles like that, but did what he had to in that game.

"By nature I'm not a conservative guy," he said. "But you're going to have games like that during the course of a season. Everybody does. We just kind of played a little closer to the vest than I usually like to but it's always about the end result anyway. We didn't score as many points or have as many yards but we won."

Ideally, Mazzone said, he’d like to be running a play every 15 or 20 seconds, much like Oregon does. The Bruins have gotten there only once this season, running a play every 19.4 seconds two weeks ago at Colorado.

Whether the Bruins will match that this season depends on the development of the younger players.

"We're always looking to go faster," Mazzone said. "But it doesn't bother me if we have to go slower. The only thing that bothers me is if we don't have more points than them."

Very little live hitting at UCLA camp

August, 14, 2012
8/14/12
7:01
PM PT
SAN BERNARDINO -- UCLA came on to the field in full pads for its training camp session Tuesday at Cal State San Bernardino, but about halfway through coach Jim Mora had everyone shed their shoulder pads and the Bruins practiced that way for the final hour or so.

Temperatures were again soaring during the late-morning practice, but taking off the pads had nothing to do with the heat, Mora said. It was a planned move to give the team a live, goal-line drill early on and then have a lighter practice the rest of the way.

"It’s getting to the point in camp -- this is our 13th day in the heat -- I wanted to give them a chance to recover a little bit," Mora said. "That’s why we came out early and we’ll come out tomorrow and have two."

The live goal-line drill was only the second time Mora has had a fully live session during camp and he said there probably won't be many more. He's hoping to stay as healthy as possible for the Aug. 30 season opener at Rice and will not have any live scrimmaging before then. There is no fall scrimmage planned this year.

It's a major shift from spring football, when the Bruins were going live on a regular basis.

"The design was to have a physical, intense, lot of live in spring and kind of set the tempo that way and then come out here and be physical, but not necessarily take guys to the ground," Mora said. "When you say live to a football player, it’s hard to say live but don’t cut block, don’t tackle low, don’t take a shot on your teammate. Your mindset changes when you say live."

The idea is to avoid injuries, but it comes with the risk of being rusty when the games begin. Mora said the "thud periods" are all about trying to find a balance of proper tackling technique, while staying safe.

"The term 'thud' for us indicates that we’re going to stay on our feet, try to finish with our chest on you, backs know you are going to get hit so get in a position where you can deliver a blow or accept a blow and protect the football, but we’re trying to stay on our feet as much as we can," he said.

"I don’t think you necessarily have to take a guy to the ground to put yourself in position to finish the tackle ... I think that if we do a good job of focusing through the end of the play, necessarily taking a guy to the ground, we’re going to get the best of both worlds right there."

Other notes from Tuesday:

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UCLA preseason preview: Receivers

July, 28, 2012
7/28/12
3:31
PM PT
With UCLA training camp set to begin Aug. 4 at Cal State San Bernardino, we're taking a preseason look at the roster and breaking down the Bruins position by position.

We looked at quarterbacks and the offensive line earlier this week. We stick with the offense and check in a group that must replace its two most productive members over the last three season: Receivers.

DEPTH CHART AT THE END OF SPRING PRACTICE:

X (receiver)
Jerry Johnson (6-3, 211, Sr.) OR
Devin Lucien (6-0, 200, Fr.)
Sam Handler (5-10, 195, Fr.)

Y (receiver)
Joseph Fauria (6-7, 255, Sr.) OR
Darius Bell (5-10, 205, Jr.)
John Young (6-6, 255, Fr.)
Jordan Barrett (6-2, 255, Jr.)
Jackson Reeder (6-3, 194, Fr.)

F (receiver)
Ricky Marvray (5-11, 192, Jr.)
Jordon James (5-8, 193, So.)
Roosevelt Davis (5-6, 155, Fr.)

Z (receiver)
Shaq Evans (6-1, 201,Jr.)
Jerry Rice, Jr. (5-11, 185, Jr.)
Logan Sweet (6-0, 185, Fr.)
Tyler Scott (6-2, 205, Fr.)

PROJECTED OPENING-DAY DEPTH CHART:

X (receiver)
Jerry Johnson (6-3, 211, Sr.)
Devin Lucien (6-0, 200, Fr.)
Javon Williams (6-5, 180, Fr.)
Sam Handler (5-10, 195, Fr.)
Christoph Bono (6-1, 162, Fr.)

Y (receiver)
Joseph Fauria (6-7, 255, Sr.)
Darius Bell (5-10, 205, Jr.)
John Young (6-6, 255, Fr.)
Jordan Barrett (6-2, 255, Jr.)
Jackson Reeder (6-3, 194, Fr.)

F (receiver)
Jordon James (5-8, 193, So.)
Ricky Marvray (5-11, 192, Jr.)
Kenny Walker (5-10, 171, Fr.)
Ahmaad Harris (5-6, 155, Fr.)
Roosevelt Davis (5-6, 155, Fr.)

Z (receiver)
Shaq Evans (6-1, 201, Jr.)
Jordan Payton (6-2, 214, Fr.)
Jerry Rice, Jr. (5-11, 185, Jr.)
Tyler Scott (6-2, 205, Fr.)
Logan Sweet (6-0, 185, Fr.)

KEY LOSSES:
Nelson Rosario, 64 catches, 1,161 yards, 5 TDs. Graduated.
Taylor Embree, 20 catches, 228 yards, 2 TDs. Graduated.
Josh Smith, 11 catches, 243 yards, 1 TD. Graduated.
Cory Harkey, 1 catch, 10 yards. Graduated.
Anthony Barr, 3 catches, 16 yards, 1 TD. Switched to linebacker.

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Five things to watch: UCLA spring scrimmage

May, 4, 2012
5/04/12
2:55
PM PT
Jim MoraPeter Yoon/ESPNLA.com One thing Jim Mora will be watching Saturday is how his players adapt to a different environment.

LOS ANGELES -- UCLA's spring football practice session will end Saturday with the annual spring scrimmage game at the Rose Bowl. The action begins at 5 p.m.

With a new coaching staff and positional battles across the board, there will be plenty of newness on the field, so here are a few pointers on what to look for during the game:

1. THE QUARTERBACKS
They have been the most-watched players since the beginning of spring practice, so why should the spring finale be any different?

Coach Jim Mora and offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone have yet to pick a starter for next season, and you have to figure performance in this scrimmage will be a large portion of each quarterback's grade when it comes to making a call.

Mora would not divulge how the reps would be divided among the quarterbacks, but you have to guess Brett Hundley, Richard Brehaut and Kevin Prince will get the bulk. Prince has been hampered by a sore shoulder over the last two weeks, so he could be limited.

The keys to determining who plays best go beyond who is able to complete passes. The coaches are looking for command of the offense and good decision making as well as play-making ability.

"There are a lot of decisions that need to be made by the quarterback in this offense," Mazzone said. "Before the snap, at the snap, after the snap. You’re looking for how guys make those decisions under fire. And you are looking for a guy who can make those decisions then make the throws that need to be made. And you want a guy who can create plays when there’s no plays there to be made."

2. THE TEMPO
The high-paced offense has been one of the hot topics all spring and the Bruins will put it on full display Saturday. They are running a no-huddle offense with the plays coming in from the sideline and the quarterbacks calling them from behind center.

After each play the offense scrambles to the line and resets to do it all over. This is a far cry from the methodical, clock grinding Pistol offense UCLA ran the last two seasons, so it will be a change for the players to play at this accelerated pace for the first time in game-like conditions.

Also worth noting is whether or not the defense can keep pace. The Bruis struggled mightily last season against high-paced teams such as Houston, Arizona and Oregon. The Bruins defense seemed lost early in the spring,but has come on strong over the last couple of weeks so it will be interesting to see which unit deals best with the high pace.

(Read full post)

Video: Jim Mora, spring practice No. 13

May, 1, 2012
5/01/12
7:39
PM PT
LOS ANGELES--Coach Jim Mora met with reporters after Tuesday's practice session, the final spring practice in full pads before the spring game, and discussed an ankle injury to Devin Lucien that forced the freshman receiver to leave the field on crutches and with his ankle heavily wrapped in ice.

He also shared some details of the spring game and touched on the return to practice of injured players such as Darius Bell, Joseph Fauria and Aaron Wallace.

LOS ANGELES -- Spring is the time of change for football programs around the country, and there will be plenty of quite noticeable change Tuesday when UCLA opens camp.

A new coaching staff led by Jim Mora will bring a new no-nonsense, tough-nosed approach to the proceedings. Some key players are gone because they have no eligibility left. At least one key player--offensive lineman Xavier Su'a-Filo, will be back in uniform after a two-year Mormon mission.

Many players, some established veterans, will be playing new positions and even switching sides of the ball. Mora and his staff will be installing completely new schemes on both sides of the ball and just about every position is up for grabs under the guidance of the new staff.

What it all adds up to is a camp designed to help remove UCLA from the jaws of mediocrity that have had a strong grip on the program for the better part of the last decade.

"We're excited to get going," said Mora, the former NFL coach who took over at UCLA in December. "We're excited to see what we have here and to get started on building this program into what we think it should be."

The most important order of business is to find a quarterback, though that is far from all the Bruins will be doing this spring. With an entirely new coaching staff led by new offensive coordinator Noel Mazzone and new defensive coordinator Lou Spanos, there will be new plays, new formations and new terminology. The team will be hitting the playbooks as hard as they hit their school books over the next few weeks.

Mora has softened that blow a bit by extending the 15-practice spring session over five weeks in order to help all the newness marinate in minds of the players. Spring football ends with the spring game on May 5 at the Rose Bowl.

"This being our first year, I didn’t want us to feel rushed with our installation," Mora said. "I wanted the players to have time to digest what they just practiced, look at it on film, get a good install in and go back on the field. As we go through the years, that’ll change. We’ll modify the schedule, but this first year that’s what made the most sense."

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Practice report: Thursday quick hits

October, 13, 2011
10/13/11
9:48
PM PT
UCLA finished it's bye week practice slate with another day in full pads that was capped with a live scrimmage between the scout teams.

Coach Rick Neuheisel said he was satisfied with what the team accomplished during the off week and got a good vibe from the team after sitting on last week's comeback victory over Washington State.

"I thought it was a really good week in terms of fundamentally, in terms of getting guys healthy and getting guys to look toward the future of the second half with the right mindset with respect to what is going to be required for us to compete the way we need to and be successful," Neuheisel said.

A few tidbits:
  • Brett Hundley ran the two-minute drill at the end of practice and completed seven of nine passes, including a touchdown to Corey Harkey on the final play. He appeared calm for someone running the drill for the first time and his passes were on the money for the most part. His two incomplete passes were a drop by Josh Smith and a spike to kill the clock. "What I know about Brett Hundley is that it’s not too big for him," Neuheisel said. "I don’t think the stage will--he’ll get out there and there will be some butterflies and there will be some plays that won’t go exactly as planned but I think he’ll respond and he’ll play really well if called upon."
  • Receiver Randall Carroll was getting some work with the defensive backs during seven-on-seven drills, going so far as to change jerseys into a the defensive blue rather than the offense's white. Carroll, who played defensive back in high school and was recruited as a defensive back to USC, said he's getting ready in case of an emergency because the Bruins have some injury issues in the defensive backfield. "I always wanted to try and play both, " Carroll said. "There is a chance I could play in the dime package. So I’m just getting more work as the days go on and then next year hopefully it’ll expand to more playing full time on both sides."
  • With some injury concerns on the offensive line, Wade Yandall got many of the reps first team reps and at strong side guard this week. Yandall, a redshirt freshman, has yet to play in a game, but could be called upon soon. "Hopefully this week has made an impression on the coaches and I can just be consistent and doing what I’m asked to do and hopefully I get to play next week," Yandall said. "A lot of times, I’ll show flashes of doing good things, but at the same time I’m not consistent with it. I've got to step up to that." Yandall had some opportunities during training camp, but that lack of consistency kept him from cracking the lineup. Neuheisel said he's getting closer. "It’s amazing when you give guys a chance to get up there with the first team again, how they respond after being away," Neuheisel said.
  • Kicker Tyler Gonzalez wasn't needed in the two-minute drill because the offense scored a touchdown, but he looked very good during warmups and the kicking drills at the start of practice. He made four of four attempts, including one from 50 yards.
  • Offensive lineman Albert Cid did not dress for practice for the second consecutive day. Cid left the field Tuesday complaining of a shortness of breath and is being held out for precautionary reasons.
  • Cornerback Sheldon Price, out the last two weeks with a sprained knee, was still wearing a brace and was in shorts and shoulder pads, but was more active in his work on the side. He was running forward and backward and also making some cuts.
  • Receiver Nelson Rosario (sprained foot) did not dress for practice but did some light running on the side. Receiver Shaquelle Evans (concussion), safeties Tony Dye (neck) and Alex Mascarenas (concussion) also did not dress for practice.
  • The defense dominated the live scout team scrimmage, with linebacker Aaron Wallace particularly impressive. Wallace had a couple of virtual sacks and at least two other tackles for a loss. Defensive end Sam Tai also had a few nice plays and defensive tackle Brandon Willis was a run-stuffing machine in the middle. Safety Anthony Thompson had an interception. The offense completed two long passes: One from Christoph Bono to Logan Sweet for a touchdown and another from Darius Bell to Jery Rice, Jr. Still, the defense dominated most of the scrimmage. "Looked like defense had their way today," Neuheisel said. "We didn’t do a very good job of pass blocking so I’d give the nod to the defense."

UCLA depth chart review: Quarterback

August, 2, 2011
8/02/11
5:39
PM PT
With UCLA preparing to open fall camp on August 8, we will break down the depth charts at each position in order to look at how the Bruins stack up heading into this season. We begin with the quarterback, which figures to be the most closely watched position battle during camp.

Current depth chart:

1. Kevin Prince (6-2, 223, Jr.) OR
2. Richard Brehaut (6-2, 226, Jr.)
3. Brett Hundley (6-3, 210, Fr.)
4. Nick Crissman (6-3, 221, Jr.)
5. Darius Bell (5-11, 226, Jr.)

It's no secret that lackluster quarterback play has plagued the Rick Neuheisel coaching era at UCLA. Since Neuheisel took over in 2008, Bruins quarterbacks have thrown 28 touchdowns and 47 interceptions. Receiver Dominique Johnson, who completed a touchdown pass in his only attempt, is the only UCLA player under Neuheisel with more touchdowns than interceptions.

"The position has to get better," said Neuheisel, who is taking over as quarterbacks coach. "It’s been woeful."

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The door is wide open.

One quarterback hasn't completely healed and will be limited to non-contact participation during spring practice. Another signal caller has spent some of his offseason behind the plate, calling fastballs and sliders at UCLA's Jackie Robinson Stadium. Two other candidates underwent shoulder surgery -- one will be limited, one will miss the four-week period entirely.

With that being said, it's safe to assume that true freshman Brett Hundley will get his share of opportunities when the Bruins open spring practice on March 29.

Only one other quarterback, rising junior Richard Brehaut, will be a full-go at Spaulding Field. Brehaut has endured a busy schedule the last few months, alternating between football cleats and baseball spikes, pigskin and cowhide. How his body responds to the rigors of both sports remains to be seen.

At the very least, Hundley will have a chance to impress new offensive coordinator Mike Johnson. It'd be a different scenario if Norm Chow was still on campus -- Chow would know the capabilities of each quarterback, injured or not. Johnson's mind is a clean canvas. Hundley, who just completed his first batch of courses, will have an array of colors and brushes to choose from.

The others will be restricted to monochrome.

Two-year starter Kevin Prince, who is still recovering from right knee surgery, is expected to participate in individual drills only. Johnson won't be able to fully gauge his ability until fall camp. The same goes for the oft-injured Nick Crissman (right shoulder surgery), who has two pass attempts in three years. Darius Bell (left shoulder surgery) will be out entirely but is expected to be ready for fall camp.

There's hype and hope with Hundley. Fans and students see him as "the savior" of the reeling program. He's a fresh start.

On the field, Hundley is more than just a scrambler -- he won the passing competition at the Under Armour All-American Skills Challenge. He was pegged as the No. 6 quarterback in the 2011 class and is the first UCLA quarterback recruit to earn a five-star ranking.

Hundley will have the opportunity to open eyes and raise eyebrows this spring. Regardless of Hundley's production, coach Rick Neuheisel will probably hold off on naming his starter until Prince is fully functional.

But for now, the door is wide open.

Note: This is the first of five questions leading up to the March 29 opener.

Monday rewind: Consistently inconsistent

November, 22, 2010
11/22/10
3:47
PM PT

Mike Nelson/US Presswire
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel says his players need to become introspective about solving the team's ongoing problems.

Games like this were supposed to be a thing of the past for UCLA.

At least that’s what the Bruins made you believe after a respectable showing against Arizona and then a victory over Oregon State.

But Thursday’s 24-7 loss at Washington last Thursday showed once and for all that the only thing consistent about UCLA’s football team is its wild inconsistency.

The Bruins continued their Jekyll-and-Hyde ways, looking like an efficient offensive machine during their 92-yard scoring drive in the first quarter, but showed an anemic attack in gaining only 71 total yards the rest of the game.

It’s an all too familiar theme for UCLA, which at times this season has shown signs of great potential and at others has looked as if it would struggle to get out of a paper bag.

And the biggest problem is trying to find the formula for becoming a consistent team.

“We’ve got to look at all facets of what we do to become that,” coach Rick Neuheisel said. “There are a number of things we can do and everybody has got to be introspective about that.”

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UCLA practice report: Tuesday quick hits

September, 28, 2010
9/28/10
8:21
PM PT
UCLA returned to practice for the first time since their 34-12 upset over Texas on Saturday. Coach Rick Neuheisel said he liked the energy of the team, saying that guys showed they had put the big victory behind them and were focused on the next game against Washington State.

A few tidbits from practice:
  • Quarterback Kevin Prince sat out because of an injury to his right knee. He said there is pain and swelling but an MRI exam revealed no structural damage. He is day to day.
  • Backup quarterback Richard Breahut ran most of the first-team drills. He looked a bit rusty in the passing game with a few low throws but also threw some very nice medium-range balls. Darius Bell also got in significant work. He would be the backup if Prince can't go.
  • Center Ryan Taylor, named the Pac-10 offensive player of the week, said he was honored to be recognized, but said he accepted the award on behalf of the entire offensive line. "It obviously means a lot, but I feel like it’s a group award," Taylor said. "They should have given it to the entire line. It’s not just me. All five of us have to play together for us to be successful."
  • Linebacker Akeem Ayers, who bruised his shoulder against Texas, participated fully in practice. There wasn't a lot of hitting, but Ayers didn't seemed slowed by the injury.
  • Owamagbe Odighizuwa got a lot of reps with the first- and second-team defense. The freshman defensive end, a highly-rated recruit out of high school, has played sparingly this season and has one tackle.
  • Linebacker Sean Westgate was named the Pac-10 defensive player of the week after registering 11 tackles and a forced fumble against Texas. not bad for a 5-foot-11, 217 pound junior who said he has been told he was too small to play since "before day one." "If you let it get to you, you’re going to be too small," he said. "You give that up and you’re done. You can’t listen to what people say. I let it fuel me and say, watch, I’ll get it done."

Pre-camp questions answered (sort of)

September, 2, 2010
9/02/10
8:34
AM PT
We posed five questions before the start of fall camp last month, with the understanding that most -- if not all -- would be answered. Or at least become clearer.

Well, it wouldn't be UCLA if most pre-camp questions remained fuzzy. And it wouldn't be UCLA if more questions popped up.

Let's revisit the grey areas and determine whether or not they were resolved in time for Saturday's opener at Kansas State.

1. Who will return punts and kickoffs?

Prior to camp we pointed out that redshirt junior Josh Smith was the clear-cut favorite to succeed Terrence Austin. Four weeks later, UCLA's depth chart tells us No. 3 will be the guy.

Smith, a transfer from Colorado, has looked quick and elusive. If he can stay healthy -- and that's been a BIG if during his time in Westwood -- Smith has a chance to be an all-conference performer.

2. Will this team settle on a No. 1 running back before the start of the season?

This is where you laugh.

How could we be so naive? For the second straight year, UCLA did not settle on one feature back. It may be a good problem to have, but at what point does uncertainty become an issue?

Derrick Coleman OR Johnathan Franklin are listed atop the depth chart -- a decision that may be strategic or downright truthful. Maybe there is a starter. Someone will have to be out there to start Saturday at Kansas State. Maybe coach Rick Neuheisel is making the Wildcats worry about both.

This much we do know: Coleman is the bruiser who UCLA coaches love for his consistency, Franklin is the speedster with big-play potential who coaches can't seem to figure out. True freshman Malcolm Jones is not far behind and will get his carries this year.

Stay tuned.

3. Who will be stuck in the middle: Steve Sloan or Patrick Larimore?

This is another well-documented position battle that remains confusing. One day it's Sloan playing with the first unit, another day it's Larimore. Back to Sloan for a few days, then to Larimore.

Like tailback, the starting middle linebacker spot has the "or" designation. And like we mentioned before camp, whoever starts Saturday figures to be an upgrade over Reggie Carter, whose play suffered last season as he struggled with lower-body injuries.

4. Which freshman will separate himself from the others?

Anthony Barr did on offense. Diertrich Riley did on defense.

Barr might start at F-back Saturday, as he's listed as an "or" on the depth chart. Riley came up short for strong safety Tony Dye's starting role, but he doesn't walk away empty-handed. He will see the field plenty this fall.

5. To what extent will newcomer Darius Bell be utilized?

Probably not much, if at all. Neuheisel is pleased with Bell's progress in the "revolver," but Bell has been iffy when throwing the ball.

Still, don't be surprised if Bell trots in to spell Kevin Prince or Richard Brehaut from time to time.

A good start to Week 2 for Darius Bell

August, 16, 2010
8/16/10
11:05
PM PT
Transfer quarterback Darius Bell experienced his share of ups and downs during his first week at UCLA. But Monday was a definite up, with Bell getting a majority of the first-unit reps and showing the coaching staff what he's absorbed through a week of fall camp.

If there's a positive to starter Kevin Prince's weeklong absence, it's that Bell and Richard Brehaut have seen an increase in snaps. As a result, their battle for the No. 2 spot has heated up.

"I'd say Richard is ahead right now, but Darius had a great morning," coach Rick Neuheisel said. "It's great to have that kind of competition. We'll see where that leads to on Saturday night."

Prince, who continues to nurse an oblique strain, likes what he's seen so far.

"It's nice to see a guy come in and pick it up so quickly," Prince said. "Bell knows what we're doing, for the most part. Obviously he's going to make mistakes here and there, but he's making a lot of good checks at the line. He seems to have a knack for making plays."

More from Neuheisel and Bell:

Kevin Prince not all the way back

August, 16, 2010
8/16/10
7:49
PM PT
Kevin Prince finally did some throwing Monday, but did so on the sideline while Darius Bell took a majority of the first-unit reps.

Prince has been out with a strained oblique since last Tuesday and was expected to return to action Monday. Instead, he's playing it safe.

"It seems like I can throw on the run to the right side without much pain," Prince said. "Shorter throws are OK right now. It's when the throws get longer and I put more velocity when it starts hurting."

The plan is for Prince to get treatment Monday night and go through warmups in Tuesday's practice. He'll see where he is and go from there. For now, the risk of returning too soon is higher than the reward.

"It's laborious and definitely not as fun to sit back there and watch," Prince said. "It's helpful to an extent, but after a while I think you overdo it."

Coach Rick Neuheisel did not sound particularly sure about Prince's status.

"Ask the trainers," Neuheisel said following the morning session. "(Prince) said he was sore again, but we went through some handoff stuff. We'll see."

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