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UCLA football: Quarterback Kevin Prince sidelined for spring practice

March 23, 2011 | 12:13 pm

Kevin_600 Quarterback Kevin Prince, who UCLA Coach Rick Neuheisel hoped would be available on a limited basis during spring practice, is unlikely to participate.

Prince injured his right knee last season and underwent arthroscopic surgery and had a microfracture procedure. He will continue to rehabilitate the knee.

“Kevin will not do much except isolated throwing,” Neuheisel said Wednesday. “I had hoped that he could do seven-on-seven drills, but I’m told he won’t be able to.”

The Bruins will be short on quarterbacks during the spring practice, which begins Tuesday.

Darius Bell is out after shoulder surgery. Nick Crissman will be on a “pitch count,” Neuheisel said, after having a second shoulder surgery. Richard Brehaut, who started seven games, will be available but has been playing on the baseball team this winter.

That may leave more time for incoming freshman Brett Hundley.

“We’ll see how fast he grows and matures in the offense,” Neuheisel said. “If he shows he can handle all he needs to handle to be effective, it will enhance his chances of playing.”

Neuheisel said he would still incorporate much of the “pistol” offense, but other formations will also be used in an effort to improve the passing game. That will include the quarterback being under center at times and the use of two-back formations.

“I don’t want to be a part of us being under 60% in the throwing game again,” Neuheisel said.

The Bruins completed 51% of their passes in 2010 during a 4-8 season in which they finished ninth in the Pacific 10 Conference.

UCLA will be without nine players for spring practice. Prince, Bell, linebacker Patrick Larimore, kicker Jeff Locke, wide receiver Jerry Johnson, safety Dalton Hilliard, cornerback Anthony Jefferson, defensive end Keenan Graham, offensive lineman Casey Griffiths are still recovering from injuries.

Crissman, wide receiver Shaquelle Evans and linebacker Jared Koster will be held out of contact drills.

Willis situation

Neuheisel said that he was still awaiting word on whether freshman defensive tackle Brandon Willis would transfer to North Carolina. Willis, who sat out as a redshirt last season, wants to be closer to his grandmother, who has had health issues. He has applied for a waiver to make him immediately eligible to play rather than miss a second year. Neuheisel has said that if Willis does not receive the waiver he will return to UCLA.

“We have signed the release and want him to explore his options, and make sure he is meeting his family obligations,” Neuheisel said. “As of yet he has not enrolled at North Carolina.”

Willis completed winter quarter at UCLA.


USC addressing key questions as spring football practice begins

USC's first spring practice is a real yawner as Coach Lane Kiffin starts early

-- Chris Foster

Photo: UCLA quarterback Kevin Prince. Credit: Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times.