UCLA fans, breathe deep – the players will

Breathe deep, UCLA football fans, Rick Neuheisel has a plan.

And that plan is to let his players breathe deep.

After stating that he does not plan for a wholesale overhaul of his personnel despite a 31-22 season-opening loss at Kansas State on Saturday, Neuheisel said that he simply might have played his starters too many plays, and will try to work more players into the rotation.

If the second half of the game was any indication, they could use the break.
UCLA allowed 24 points and 272 yards – 180 to running back Daniel Thomas alone – in the final two quarters, watching a 10-7 lead slip away.

“The one thing we may want to do is try to give some guys a little more of a break,” Neuheisel said. “There are some young players that probably need to get a few snaps to keep guys fresh. There’s a reluctance to do that. We’ve got to grow up these kids fast so we can spell guys and keep them as fresh as possible.”

The Bruins might have just been outplayed on the first drive of the second half, when the Wildcats, faced with 1st-and-20 at their 10-yard line, marched 90 yards for a touchdown to regain the lead at 14-10.

But down the stretch, the fatigue set in, and players like Justin Edison – who played more snaps against Kansas State than he did all season last year, Neuheisel pointed out – started to fade.

Neuheisel balked at the idea of playing more situational defenses, simply stating younger players, including defensive tackle Cassius Marsh (Oaks Christian), needed to play more.

“Some games you can just go so many plays and you get a blow, so you can continue to go full-speed,” Neuheisel said. “But not so much the speed of the defense as a whole slowed down, but the concentration of the defense. Fatigue makes cowards of us all. We have to learn how to trust people, and these young players have to really work their tails off this week, so there’s reason to trust them.”

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  • Martin

    Couch Neu’s comments comes as close to an apology that you’ll ever get from a HC. Its clear coach Neu lacks trust in his players. It was his (and the offense) fault that our players were tired. That is just bad coaching. Disappointing. Thanks for showing trust in your team coach. I’m sure they’ll put as much trust in you as you do in them.

    I have supported coach since he came on board but its starting to seem Div I is too big for him and he is more of a recruiter than a top tier coach. If we have anything less than a 6-6 season its time to look elsewhere for a head coach.

  • Hollywood Bruin

    Martin is a USC troll and has no idea what hes talking about.

  • Martin

    Hollywood Bruin-

    I’m not sure why its blasphemy to be critical of one’s team? Furthermore, it isn’t my fault you can’t read between the lines. I am happy that coach Neu fessed up to his mistake. Its written all over the article. He regrets not trusting is team. Don’t know how my comments makes me a troll. Whats worst is that your comment doesn’t add anything to the conversation and instead dumbs it down to the level of pre-school name calling. Instead why don’t you provide your pov. I expect more from a UCLA fan especially if you are an alumni as I am.

  • Anonymous

    The team didn’t tackle. Linebackers were out of position. Receivers couldn’t catch. Penalties. All on the coaches.

    At least the line played well.

  • SoCaliStud21

    The reason why we were having trouble with tackling is because we didn’t have any contact scrimmage in fall camp. Just like SC, the way they were tackling against Hawaii.

  • Coach Thom

    I was a firm supporter of Coach Rick and Coach Norm in 2008 and 2009, but our lack of progress is starting to strain my patience. At the end of the 2007 season, Dwayne Walker coached our team to a close loss to BYU in a post-season bowl game. In 2008, Coach Rick took a more highly rated team to Salt Lake City and got blown away 59-0. We have every right to question the capabilities of our present coaches and demand a change if this year turns out to be 6-6 or worse.

  • NoMasBruin

    I am tired of the excuses. Ucla has had 12 years of football mediocrity. Look at Boise state, Jacksonville State, and VaTech. They had QBs who can play. We are a joke.

  • dlwalker

    Too tired? Give me a break. So were they too tired when Kansas State scored on the first posession of the game and the first posession of the second half? What, the walk from the locker room wore them out?

  • vu

    the O left the D out to dry. in the first half, the D kept UCLA in the game. gave them the ball at the 11 for the TD. held KSU to 100 yards. but 20 minutes to 10 minutes time of possession was killer. so if the O is going to have so many 3 and outs, it’s good to rotate D players all the time.