Neuheisel ON: Welcome back…

UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel took his first conference call with reporters today, a few days before the start of spring football.
Did I have to pull over at a Dairy Queen to make sure I got on the call during my drive back from the Bay Area? Yes, yes I did. Did I get a Blizzard? No, no I did not…unfortunately.

Opening Statement:
“Spring is sprung here at UCLA and it’s as always an exciting time. You look forward to kind of building your team, start with the basics in speed development, get to test it out on the field, take all the info gathered from those two things, and then you come and whittle that into shape as you start the season. This is a big piece of the puzzle and one we’re very excited about. It’s not just to learn who you are and what you have. It’s about really testing things out and finding out exactly who’s going to be capable of being a stalwart for you. We’re very, very excited. The intensity needs to go up in comparison to springs before. Hopeful we’ll see progress.”

Are you focusing on any particular position?
“That was asked earlier and no, I don’t think there’s any one position. I don’t want anyone to think of first string, second string. I want them to think of being a player on this team. We’re going to try a lot of combinations – maybe not so much in the offensive line where we’ll play with strings – but everywhere else, we’re going to put players in there. See who can rise to the opportunity. I don’t want quarterbacks to go with certain receivers. I want to see which wide receivers can jump to the front, quarterbacks, running backs, linebackers, whoever gets the chance, and see if they belong at that level.”

How open is the quarterback competition?
“We have a starter in Kevin Prince and he deserves to be named that. Very, very solid freshman season. But I don’t want to water down Richard Brehaut’s hopes of earning a spot in this lineup. There will be plenty reps for them to prove that they’re going to take us to the next step which is the top division of the Pac-10.”

How far behind is Richard Brehaut?
“Richard’s biggest issue is really coming to an understanding of what were trying to do off. He can memorize what’s going on, but if stuff didn’t go as planned, or if something caught his attention, there were too many little things that were being forgotten or misplaced. As he develops, he needs to learn more and more how to play.”

Do you worry about depth at quarterback?
“Sure. We worry about depth not just at quarterback but all over the place. We don’t have the incoming freshmen who can help with that. I’m excited to watch the three quarterbacks play, especially Nick Crissman, to see if his shoulder will hold. I’m also excited to see some of these walk-on guys, Clayton Tunney and Ted Landers, to see if they can play at this level.”

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  • Anonymous

    Why wouldn’t the offensive line be looked at the same way the other positions are looked at?? Wouldn’t you want to see which combinations work the best? I don’t understand how this makes any sense at all. It would be a bit more understandable if we had a dominating OL that had been together for a long period of time. It would seem to me that every OL position should be up for grabs just as it is with other position groups. Why is the OL different considering that your play at OL is often tied to the others you play next to.

  • SigEp111

    In recent years, we (or rather our QB’s) have been plagued by poor offensive line play. This poor play can certainly be attributed to lack of experience. Coach Bullough was forced to coach and insert an OL consisting of young players with little or no experience. This past season has given these same players a year to mature and build continuity with one another. It makes sense that Coach Neu and Coach Bullough have decided to stay with the four returning starting O-Lineman from last year (Xavier Su’a-Filo being the fifth starter, however not playing this season while fulfilling his religious obligation). However, it is only Spring Ball and we have from now until Fall for other “hoggies” show something and move up on the depth chart.

  • East_Bay_Bruin

    Ummm…I guess you meant to say Coach Palcic not Coach B

  • Anonymous

    You might try to at least get your coaches correct. Palcic coaches the OL and Chuck Bullough is the defensive coordinator. Spring ball allows the coaches the flexibility to be creative and try different combinations that may pay dividends in the fall when it is for keeps. Spring is the proving grounds to see if you are capable of being a player in the fall.

  • SigEp111

    *Coach Palcic, thanks EBB