UCLA linebacker Reggie Carter spoke about the defense not calling the offense out after the latest offensive meltdown.
“We still have to play for each other, regardless of what the offense has done,” Carter said. “We’re not impressive all the time. We make mistakes, too. When we get out on the field, it’s all about us, 11 guys fighting. We can’t worry about what they’ve done, or what they’re going to do after we get off the field. We just have to focus on getting off the field.”
Here is the football notebook from today’s paper, in which Bruins coach Rick Neuheisel talks about the play of quarterback Kevin Craft.
And here is one other thing Neuheisel said about a talk he had with Craft after the game.
“I admire how much he works and prepares, but we have to stop throwing it to the other team,” Neuheisel said. “It’s as simple as that. But, as I said, there are some that are on other people.”
Got defense? Then you’ve got playing time in Ben Howland’s system. But, bigs James Keefe and Alfred Aboya can’t play the entire game. Howland wants some of the freshmen to step up on the interior defense.
Here’s some thoughts from Howland:
“There’s a major dropoff inside defensively after James and Alfred come out,” Howland said. “We need Nik to become better on defense and the two big freshmen (J’Mison Morgan and Drew Gordon) to get better defensively.”
“J’mison Morgan his size is a problem for people to match up with; we’ve got to get him to be more reliable defensively so when he goes in the game it’s not a minus. That’s something I talked to him about after the game. That’s going to determine playing time – guys who go in the game and do a good job defensively and don’t hurt your team defense by being in the game.
“I was disappointed in Nikola (Dragovic’s) defense. We need Nikola’s offense but he’s got to be a better defender for us. Last year, he played the 3. He never played the 4 because we had Luc (Richard Mbah a Moute) there. Now, he has to play minutes at the 4 spot, and he’s got to continue to improve there because we need him on the other end of the floor.”
UCLA’s defense, which held Florida International to three field goals in the first half and just 13 points, was much improved Saturday.
“I thought we did better job staying in front of the ball,” Ben Howland said. “Again, we’re still in November, and we have a lot of young kids. Jerime Anderson, for example, is getting better when he had his minutes out there staying in front basketball. He only got beat twice tonight … Mike (Roll) is playing well for us, not only on offense but on defense.”
UCLA lost to Texas 63-61 last year at Pauley Pavilion and travels to Austin to play the Longhorns on Thursday. Saturday’s win was a big confidence booster for the Bruins, especially on the defensive end, with such a big game on tap.
“We have a tough task coming up when we play at a top-five team in Texas,” Ben Howland said. “We have to continue to get better defensively. We need to have everyone get better defensively because we are going to need all of their contributions.”
Darren Collison said people were panicked after the Michigan loss, thought it’s not clear if he meant insiders or outsiders. Jrue Holiday cleared that up.
“I don’t think we really panicked,” Holiday said. “It was kind of like a stage, at first we were depressed. But then we were motivated to become stronger. We have to play a nonranked team and every team like it’s our last game.”
Just got off a phone call with football coach Rick Neuheisel, who said he had no plans of changing quarterbacks for the USC game, but wouldn’t definitively say that was going to be the case.
Also, he said starting right guard Nick Ekbatani will have an MRI on an injured knee, but Neuheisel said he expected Ekbatani to be ready for USC on Dec. 6.
Jrue Holiday sat on the bench most of the second half since the game was well in control. He made all eight of his shots and scored 20 points. He also had four rebounds and two assists. More later. No. 13 UCLA improves to 4-1 and next plays No. 6 Texas Thursday in Austin. Walkon Spencer Soo scored a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and his Bruins teammates went crazy.
The game isn’t over, officially anyway, but Jrue Holiday already has a career-high 20 points and has made all eight of his shots. UCLA leads 58-15 with 14:55 left. Holiday’s previous career high was 13 against Michigan.