Checking in

Hey guys,

Just got through the Monday press conference, and got some great stuff from Rick Neuheisel and Alterraun Verner. I’m trying to line up some big things for later this week, too!

I’ll toss up a poll or two, too, and look out for some cool extras.


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Neuheisel On: Stanford

On Stanford running back Toby Gerhart:
“They’re running back is maybe as good as there is in the country. He’s a different kind of running back. He’s not going to try to make you miss as many times as some as some of the elusive guys do. He’s as powerful and tough to bring down as any back I’ve seen in college football for some time. And they know what they had in him, and they feed him. He gets hits chances. There are a number of players who are very hard to defense, but they don’t get the ball thirty times a game.”

On trying to defend a big running back:
“Our defense is off to a good start, but this will be an interesting test. We’ll put Jayson Allmond at tailback some. He’s a big youngster, and we’ll see if we can’t create an environment that’s similar.”

On Stanford wideout/returner Chris Owusu:
“You’ve got to have great coverage. Good hang-time or you have to decide you have to do some other things with the kick. You kind of pick your approach and you go play. But it’s a great challenge for a coverage unit.”

On Stanford linebacker Bo McNally:
“He reminds me of a throwback, he’d play without a facemask I bet. They’ve got a crew of guys who are very assignment conscious who look like they play their heart out. These guys are very, very sound, good players. They’re not going to beat themselves.”

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Two for Two with Wayne Moses, UCLA RB coach

On the improvement in the running game:
“In this particular case, the numbers don’t lie – we weren’t very good last year. It’s on everybody. It takes a whole team to run the ball – the line blocking, receivers blocking. It’s not one individual group; it’s been a collective team effort. We’re better this time around because, collectively, we’re blocking better.”

On having five running backs carrying the ball:
“We kind of take it day by day, and it’s a good problem to have. I think we have some pretty good players in this group. How it sorts out, we’ll have to see. We have a starter, we have a second guy, and right now, we have a whole host who was playing. If they can contribute and help us win on Saturday, then we’ll have to try to find a way to make it all happen.”

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Three for Three with Johnathan Franklin

On the competition at running back:
“As far as the competition, as far as the tempo of practice, as far as being a family, this is no BS. We’re all in this to push each other and make each other better. We’re a lot better overall. A lot better.”

On where the running game is, despite marked improvement:
“We have a long, long, long, long way to go. We’re really young – we all still have a lot to learn about football and getting better. I have a long way to go, on my game. We’re not satisfied yet.”

On why the running game has been so important:
“It’s really important – we’re taking pressure off the quarterback, making us a better team. But man, last year is last year. Last year’s game won’t win us this game.”

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Four for Four with Gavin Ketchum

On getting back into the rotation:
“It’s about taking reps now, just hearing everything. A big part of playing on Saturday’s, after you’ve been in the huddle a million times, just being in the huddle, around the ball. Our practice tempo is fast enough, it gets you in shape. So it’s more about taking these reps.”

On what it’s like to be back:
I think the bye week really helped. The first couple days, you’re technically full go, but you’re still in the swing of things, it’s like the first day of camp out there. But once you get in a drive, a two-minute deal, where its fire, fire, fire, when you get through that, you know you’re back. You know you can do everything.

On what he brings to the table:
“I add experience. The playing time I’ve had over five years of being here will help. I know the offense; coming back for the second year, I really have a good understanding, so I can help guys. I’m pretty familiar with all the positions, so I can help in the huddle. A big part of being a senior in the huddle is calming everybody down.”

On not losing his instincts:
“I never really lost them, but a big part of not losing them is when you’re injured you stay in there mentally. You listen to all the snaps, you put yourself in position. You may not have run the same route as the receiver did, but you need to see where he made his adjustments.

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One and Dohn

Like I have said before and will say again, filling the shoes of Brian Dohn is a lofty task. He commanded quite the following on Inside UCLA, and many of you have expressed interest in his next endeavor.

Well, not wanting to say too much before he started rolling, I held back a little on his new project.

But…here it is:

Where in the world is Brian Dohn?

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Palmdale’s Josh Shaw at practice

Hey all,

Practice started a few minutes late as Rick Neuheisel finished escorting Palmdale High cornerback Josh Shaw on a tour of the facilities as Shaw took an unofficial visit.

Here’s Shaw:

Josh Shaw

Things are off to a lively start and I’ll be checking in after practice with a few players and coaches.


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UCLA falls in rankings?

UCLA, without playing anything but NCAA Football 2010 this weekend, went from 62 votes in the AP Top 25 poll to 42, and from 38 in the USA Today Coaches’ Poll to 27.
Cal fell from No. 6 to No. 24.

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