LOS ANGELES - Quarterback Kevin Prince is confident that he will be ready to play against Temple in the EagleBank Bowl on Dec. 29.
UCLA coach Rick Neuheisel is sticking with his wait-and-see approach.
Neuheisel said Thursday he erred in judgment by allowing Prince to reenter the Nov. 28 game against USC, shortly after Prince injured his right shoulder. Prince said he felt fine before he went back into the game and threw an interception.
Prince was later diagnosed with a mild (right) shoulder separation and still is feeling the effects of the injury. His ability to play in the bowl game will be determined by what Neuheisel sees on the practice field over the next week.
"I'll watch him practice," Neuheisel said. "I'm not going to make that herculean decision on game day anymore."
So what will Neuheisel be looking for?
Velocity. Confidence. Ability.
"Not so much that he cut it loose because he had to," Neuheisel said. "He saw something and he took it. And the ball flies like you want it to. And he doesn't grimace after that fact. That's what we're looking for."
Prince is getting close. He began throwing at practice Wednesday and did more of the same Thursday.
Though he did have to stop because of pain caused by one across-the-body throw, the redshirt freshman said he was improving.
"We're just trying to work through it and trying to make it so I'll be comfortable," Prince said.
"I'm just getting back to where I was prior to the 'SC game, in terms of being able to do everything without the discomfort. I know it's not going to happen tomorrow. It's not going to happen by the end of the week but, hopefully, by game time it will.
"I feel like there has been steady improvement. I could tell you it feels better than it did three days ago, and I feel that in another three days I can say the same thing."
Icy reception. Comedian Bill Cosby, Temple's most famous alumnus, chatted with reporters on a conference call Thursday to lay out his pregame plans for UCLA in Washington.
Cosby pointed out the distractions that seem to affect Big Ten teams when they go to Pasadena to play in the Rose Bowl and said that a similar distraction should be used against the Bruins.
"I have watched the Pac-10, UCLA included, play in the Rose Bowl and what happens is that those poor kids from Minnesota, Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, the Big Ten, they come to Southern California and they load them up with steak and then they take them to Hollywood and Vine. They show them the stars on the street and the kids get all excited and it breaks their concentration.
"Then they take them to Disneyland. They meet Mickey Mouse and Snow White and Pluto and Dopey and they lose."
Cosby, who does nothing to hide his allegiance to Temple, is hoping the cold weather will take its toll on the sun-drenched Bruins. If that doesn't work, he has a trip to Disneyland - East Coast style - in mind.
"Even though the Potomac is not the correct river, we're going to reenact George Washington crossing the Delaware," Cosby said. "We're going to put the whole UCLA team in an open boat, with somebody dressed like George Washington. That will take the place of the Disneyland visit. By the time they're finished, they'll just have enough time to go over to RFK and run around a little bit and we start the game and we will win.
"[At] RFK Stadium, it's going to be 16 degrees. These California kids are not used to this."
Honorable mention for Pierce. Temple running back Bernard Pierce from Ardmore has been named a 2009 CollegeFootballNews.com Honorable Mention all-American.
Pierce set the freshman records for yards (1,308), touchdowns (15), and 100-yard rushing games (6). He needs just one touchdown to set Temple's single-season records for TDs and points scored.