With just over a week to go before their season opener, the UCLA Bruins have lost a host of key offensive personnel to injuries.
UCLA is a program with a bizarre recent history of non-contact injuries, particularly at quarterback. But while it may not be surprising that Kevin Prince is struggling to return to form following an oblique injury two weeks ago, this delay could not possibly come at a worse time for the Bruins offense. Prince will apparently be held out of Friday's game-simulation scrimmage, and Bruins Nation's outlook is not a rosy one:
So heading into game week Prince probably has had a total of two (to be charitable) days of live practice with the first team and no reps whatsoever during any of the scrimmages. It is hard to see how he is going to be ready for Kansas State, unless he dramatically improves by Monday.
His replacement would be Richard Brehaut, a sophomore who attempted only 17 passes last year but who's been praised by his coaches for his performance in practice.
Prince's absence won't be the only loss this offense is nursing -- two-year starter Jeff Baca, himself already battling a foot injury, is in academic hot water and with one NCAA appeal already denied may be lost for the season. Rick Neuheisel paints a picture for us of a guy who's not dumb by any means, but just tried to do too much in an academically rigorous program:
Unfortunately, he got a little over his skis in terms of what he took in his spring quarter and it blew up on him. He's trying to be a (physical) science major - and that's a very difficult major - and he took two upper division classes and he got over his skis.
Compounding all this (still with me here?) is the fall of Kai Maiava, who broke his ankle three plays into last Saturday's scrimmage, and who was first predicted to miss the entire season but will certainly be gone until late October at least. Bruins Nation breaks down the remaining personnel on the line:
With loss of Kai, it appears that we will essentially go into KSU with our second team OL from last season without Jeff Baca (who is out with stress reaction to his foot and academic issues), XSF (mission), and Mike Harris (one game suspension). Eddie Williams should come back from his concussion this week. When Eddie returns, Ryan Taylor will step up at C, Darius Savage will move over to LG.
Click through for more charts and the like. It's not the end of the world in Westwood, but after the season opener at Kansas State, the Bruins will find themselves staring down a murderers' row of a September slate that includes Stanford, Houston, and Texas. Whatever combination of guys ends up taking the field is going to have to gel quickly.