Neuheisel ON

Sat down with Rick Neuheisel for a long interview the other day, and here are some of his quotes…

ON Josh Shirley, Paul Richardson and Shaq Richardson:“The three freshmen thing…while disappointing from a standpoint of the incident and the lesson learned, was a good thing for our program. Only from a standpoint of setting in place an expectation of behavior, not only for our team, but for everybody looking from outside in as to what kind of guy goes to UCLA. We’re not mistake-free, kids are still going to make mistakes and we’re going to correct them, but there is going to be a spotlight on character. We’re going to ask guys to make good decisions and understand that’s part of the responsibility of team membership.”

ON good character leading to better play on the field:“Certainly you have to have the requisite amount of skill to be competitive. But assuming you have the requisite amount of skill, good character definitely will help you, especially when adversity strikes. And it inevitably will; we’ve tasted a little adversity over the summer, with respect to academic ineligibility, injury and some of the things that have happened to guys we’d have thought to be really key performers as we’ve entered the season. Yeah, that’s been a tough pill to swallow, but again we go back to character. The guys understand this is just part of it and you don’t feel sorry for yourself, you pick up and you go. We’re a ship that’s got to get to shore, and we don’t get to sit and think about what other ships have. This is our ship, let’s make it work.”

ON competing for championships:“I think we are physically at a point where – and I said this prior to these injuries, but if we’re fortunate with injuries from here on out – that we can start to compete for a championship again. I think you always start the season believing that’s the case, but I really believe we’re close to that level of work combined with talent. That gives you the seeds to grow a championship team. That’s where we are, and as we get better and deeper, expectations will continue to rise.”

On comparing the talent level now to in Karl Dorrell’s last season:“It’s not necessary for me to do that. It’s for some other people to do that. My job is to go and get the very best and brightest to come to UCLA, and if I showcase this university as it can be showcased – with effort and with the ability to take them on the tour myself – if I do that, I know it’s a tough thing to turn down. The proof is in the pudding. We’ve done a nice job with the guys we’ve gotten to campus, in terms of our percentages. Our batting average is always going to be high, because this is as beautiful a campus as there is in the country and an unbelievable environment for which to go to school. It’s got great historical roots and it’s still a romantic place to call home.”

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  • Bruinswin!

    Naturally Rick’s not going to take the bait on that Dorrell question..but nice try Jon ;)

    That’s his friend and former teammate.

    Sucks to say it over and over because it’s getting old but 2011 is the year for UCLA. We’ve known this for a while now but these injuries and academic problems have only served to help further load up next year’s team.

    Still expecting some exciting things this year as the offense finally gets going and the young stars get experience but even the most highly rated freshmen with still play like freshmen at least some of the time. The schedule is brutal and our guys will really need to come together to pull off a bowl season.

  • Malibu Grad Student

    Wow, Rick sure knows how to play to the media. Those were great responses – confident, proud, but not cocky. Really paints a positive picture of the overall UCLA experience – no wonder recruits come away with such a positive impression.

    Agree that next year is key, and if certain guys stay (Ayers – but unlikely, Moore) and others return (Sua Filo), with even more top-notch recruits, 2012 should be looking at something very special, beyond a Pac-10 championship.

    GO BRUINS!!

  • http://yahoo.com Ray

    The issue regarding Dorrell is valid, but respect him a little. Some of the core players, including our 3 All-Americans, are his recruits. CRN saved a class that he recruited. Many of his problems can be rooted to PC across town and only speculation as to how poorly the 2008-2009 season, and thereafter, could have been with him. Could have been pretty bad. We were just getting farther behind each year. Anyhow, I was disappointed, but how long do you kick the dog. JG, are you going to ask Tiger the first time you see him if he still loves his wife. Let’s move on.

  • GmanC

    With all due respect to CKD, our 3 potential AAs are the result of a guy named Eric Scott but yes they were brought in under CKD’s watch.

  • UW Fan

    “Agree that next year is key, and if certain guys stay (Ayers – but unlikely, Moore) and others return (Sua Filo)…”

    Isn’t XSF on a 2 year mission, not back until 2012?