Good Sports: Elemental Football
Published Jul 1, 2010 10:00 AM
On the Bruin football team, Kevin Prince is UCLA's starting quarterback. Tight end Joseph Fauria transferred to UCLA from Notre Dame and is now competing for playing time after a mandatory redshirt season. The former studies psychology, the latter communications. But chemistry is what this gridiron pair already knows best.
That's because the duo forged their chemical bond over time as Southern California prep standouts, beginning with their freshman year at Crespi Carmelite High School in Encino.
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The Bruins, who've been to seven straight College Cups, seek to make it eight in 2010. The UCLA squad gets an early test when the Irish — also 2009 World College Cup participants — journey to Westwood.
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"We just know how each other likes to play," explains Prince. Fauria says of his once and current field general, "he knew that wherever he threw the ball — and I say wherever he threw the ball — I was going to catch it."
The best friends actually started off as rivals. "Kevin and I came in as freshmen at Crespi and we both competed at quarterback; he obviously beat me out," Fauria says, tongue firmly in cheek. "I'm still a little sour about that."
"He loves to tell that story," Prince adds with mock pity, recalling a then-gangly 6'4" competitor who the Crespi coaches shifted to tight end.
Their reunion in Westwood took a circuitous route. Prince originally committed to Washington before signing as a Bruin. Fauria saw playing time as a freshman for the Fighting Irish. When he decided to transfer, Prince was one of his first phone calls. The Bruin quarterback even spoke to the UCLA coaches about his high school teammate.
"Usually guys who transfer go from D1 to D1-AA," Fauria says. "I had the good fortune not to step down and probably took a step up from program to program."
The duo is excited about the new "pistol" offense installed by Coach Rick Neuheisel '84 and Offensive Coordinator Norm Chow. Fauria says the squad picked it up quickly.
"We are in the shotgun almost 100 percent of the time and I feel like it will be very effective for us," Prince predicts. "The running game is opening up and the passing game is working better as a result."
For Fauria and Prince, the experiment is working so far. But we won't know how far this chemistry will take the team until the fall — and hopefully beyond.