UCLA sticking to its guns

Sink or swim, UCLA is going into night’s spring game at the Rose Bowl at 7 p.m. with a new offense.

After passing the fail-safe point two weeks ago, the Bruins decided to stick with the Revolver formation that they focused on so early, rather than pitch it for the base offense.

“Anytime you experiment, you’re risking the fact that if you don’t use it, you’ve wasted that time,” Neuheisel said. “After we saw where we were after the two-week mark, we saw enough in this that it will be a part of our offense.”

The question now becomes, to what extent will UCLA utilize the Revolver next season?
The answer won’t be known until the fall, and certainly not by the spring game, but making some sort of schematic change to the offense was never in doubt, particularly to benefit the running game. The Bruins have finished 116th and 97th in the country in rushing yards in head coach Rick Neuheisel’s two years, and marked improvement will be demanded.

Even the chance for the Revolver to boost the ground game validates the experiment, offensive coordinator Norm Chow contends.

“I think we know how to run the runs that we have,” Chow said. “Now are we good enough at it? Probably not. But we needed to find out. We really needed to do something. We haven’t run the ball well, and we need to do something. We can’t just keep going the way we’re going.”

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Quotables: Norm Chow

If you end up not using the Revolver extensively, was this Spring a waste?
“No, not at all. I think we know how to run the runs that we have. Now are we good enough at it? Probably not. But we needed to find out. We really needed to do something. We haven’t run the ball well, and we need to do something. We can’t just keep going the way we’re going.”

Would you call it a gimmick?
“No. Gosh no. Gosh no – all it is is the Single-wing. It’s not a gimmick. You watch teams that run it well, and it ain’t no gimmick. It’s 11-on-11 football. It’s about what the Oregons have done to the USCs. Up until this point in time, it’s 11 against 10. Defenses know to get that extra guy in the box, and everything is spun onto him and he makes all the tackle. It doesn’t exist any more. That’s why the teams are having so much success running this stuff. The negative is you’ve got to run your quarterback in it to make it an 11-on-11 game. Very few teams can have a quarterback survive the whole season. That’s the quandary.”

And you think Prince can run it?
“He’s done it before. He said he did it before in high school. And we have to do it. If he can’t do it, we have to find somebody who can. What did we finish the last two years in rushing offense? Not very good.”

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Mathews reportedly to be hired as new assistant coach

While a UCLA department official said nothing was certain, it is being reported that former Nebraska assistant coach Phil Mathews is going to be hired to replace Donnie Daniels.

Mathews was a popular figure at Ventura College before moving to the University of San Francisco from 1995-2004. After his run with the Dons, Mathews returned to the JC level to coach at San Bernadino, before getting hired by the Cornhuskers.

Mathews name has been rumored for a few weeks to replace Daniels, who left to become Mark Few’s top assistant at Gonzaga, and with his close Southern California recruiting ties – and his son, Jordan, a solid recruit – this is a good hire.

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Neuheisel ON:

On using the Revolver:
“Anytime you experiment, you’re risking the fact that if you don’t use it, you’ve wasted that time. After we saw where we were after the two-week mark, we saw enough in this that it will be a part of our offense.”

On Kevin Prince:
“He’s got good command, he understands what we’re doing. I still think he can improve in accuracy – there are some balls that he’ll be able to hit here soon that he doesn’t hit yet. I see enough good things to think that he’s got a huge upside.”
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Post-Practice Updates

* Not a particularly inspirational practice, as the coaching staff emphasized assignments and play execution over contact.
* Seniors were in shorts, T-shirts and bucket hats today as they assumed coaching duties, and they weren’t afraid to use their whistles.
* Andrew Abbott had a beautiful interception, and Rahim Moore cart-wheeled with joy.
* Nothing new injury-wise, but Damien Holmes moved to offense for the day to work as a back-up tight end,
* “It was important that we get this day in and get some work done. I’m anxious for Saturday night, and I know our kids are too. Hopefully we’ll get through that with great intensity, and no injuries, and we’ll be excited about the spring we had.”

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Burton commits to Nevada

Compton Centennial point guard Deonte Burton committed to Nevada last night while still waiting on an offer from UCLA:

Burton’s Profile: Burton

The Bruins are still in the hunt for recruits, including Jon Loyd of Bishop Gorman (Nev.) or Matt Carlino, a 2011 recruit who might graduate from Bloomington South (Indiana) early.

In other basketball recruiting news, Hoover (San Diego) junior center Angelo Chol, the No. 5 center for the class of 2011, has eliminated UCLA from his top five.

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Pauley Pavilion Groundbreaking

From UCLA:

UCLA CHANCELLOR GENE BLOCK AND
DIRECTOR OF ATHLETICS DAN GUERRERO
INVITE YOU TO JOIN
MEMBERS OF THE BRUIN COMMUNITY FOR A
GROUNDBREAKING CELEBRATION
TO SIGNIFY THE LAUNCH OF THE
PAULEY PAVILION TRANSFORMATION

TUESDAY, MAY 11, 2010

12:30 p.m.

Pre-Ceremony Festivities
UCLA Bruin Marching Band and UCLA Spirit Squad

1:00 p.m.

Groundbreaking Ceremony
Scheduled Speakers:
Chancellor Gene Block
Dan Guerrero, Director of Athletics
Janina Montero, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs
Matt Pauley, Vice Chairman of the Campaign of Champions
Anna Li, UCLA Women’s Gymnastics Team

PAULEY PAVILION
East Exterior Concourse

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