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Monday, August 16, 2010

Quarterback Darius Bell impresses during UCLA practices

The guy on the move Monday was UCLA quarterback Darius Bell. He was out of the pocket, creating plays, and he was inching up the depth chart.

Bell, a sophomore who transferred from City College of San Francisco in July, worked with the first-team offense during the afternoon practice after creating offense in the morning session.

"Yesterday and this morning, he really stepped it up," offensive coordinator Norm Chow said.Richard Brehaut, who had been running the first team with Kevin Prince injured, was with the second team in the afternoon.

Coach Rick Neuheisel said, "Norm wanted to give [Bell] a few more shots today."

Chow said that Brehaut and Bell were "about even."

Bell put some spark into the offense Monday morning, improvising and rolling out of the pocket to complete passes.

"When stuff breaks down, I can use my abilities, get out of the pocket and open up some passing lanes," said Bell, who is listed at 6 feet and 218 pounds. "Maybe I can provide a big-play opportunity, put some pressure on the defense."

Bell has been speed-reading to absorb the offense. He didn't commit to UCLA until late July and has been playing catch-up since.

Fortunately for Bell, he ran an offense similar to the Bruins' "Pistol" at San Francisco — "The terminology is different, that's all," he said — but he is still on the learning curve.

"Last week, I was over-thinking a lot," Bell said. "When a quarterback over-thinks, mistakes happen."

Bell's arm strength isn't on a par with Prince or Brehaut, but Chow said arm strength was "a little overrated. If you're on time and know where the ball is going to go, that's enough."

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