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UCLA scrimmage notes: Thigpen steals show

August 22, 2009 | 10:20 pm
The most exciting player at UCLA’s scrimmage was freshman running back Damien Thigpen, one of the fastest players on the team. He returned a punt 70 yards for a touchdown and had a 61-yard kickoff return.

It’s doubtful he’ll get to display those skills this season, as he will likely redshirt.

“You’d like to figure out ways for him to impact the game, but you want them to be a meaningful situation,” Coach Rick Neuheisel said. “You don’t want to waste a year eligibility to do little things.”

The Bruins have an effective kick returner in senior Terrence Austin, who missed the scrimmage to be best man in a wedding.


Christian Ramirez suffered what was called a mild sprained ankle in the first series and did not return. Ramirez, who tops the depth chart at tailback, has been slowed the past week with a sore hamstring.

Ramirez may have to look over his shoulder.......

More after the jump.

Redshirt freshman Johnathan Franklin had 99 yards rushing in six carries. That included a 60-yard touchdown run, though it came against the second team defense.

Asked whether Ramirez can miss anymore time, Neuheisel said, “It is what it is,” adding, “We’re going to have to play any way.”


His line had problems, but quarterback Kevin Prince took responsibility for UCLA’s offensive woes Saturday. Prince, a redshirt freshman who hasn’t played in a game in nearly two years, completed nine of 19 passes for 77 yards and had one pass intercepted.

 “Sometimes I hurried my reads,” Prince said. “I've got to get used to the speed of the game. I’ll watch the film and get ready for Monday.”

Asked whether the offensive line provided protection, Prince said, “Absolutely. I think the line did a great job. They did a good job picking up blitzes.”

Prince was sacked only once.

Neuheisel assessment was that Prince was, “Inconsistent.”

“We’re getting ready to play and we’re going to need some more out of him,” Neuheisel said. “But I said all along that we’re going to deal with some freshman-itis. You don’t put young guys out there who have not done it before and expect it to be like falling off a truck. It’s a difficult job to remember everything and still be smooth enough to make all the throws as accurately as he would like. We have seen on the practice field what he’s capable of; he just has to do it on a consistent basis.”

--Chris Foster