Neuheisel Conference Call Pt. 2

On not switching to a 3-4 defense:
“I had said that we needed some more answers. Chuck obviously built everything out of a four-man front. But when we lost some players, we didn’t have the ability to transition and create some new looks that might have given us a chance against some of our opponent offenses. We’re going to be still based out of four-man, but we will have the ability to go back and forth between odd-even configurations.”

On the Pistol offense:
“The pistol is a formation and it was certainly successful in the run game. What we need now is to develop the throw game that compliments and goes along with that and uses other formations. we can’t just be so one-dimensional that we can be stopped when it comes to throwing the football. We’re working to make sure the run game and the throw game compliment each other.”

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Neuheisel Conference Call Pt. 1

Opening Statement:
“It’s an important time for us, given all the changes we’ve made staff-wise. For the coaching staff to get to learn how to play off each other and make it the new schemes that we’d like to incorporate on both sides of the ball involved, are huge deals.”

On Frank Gansz and Kip Smith:
“With Frank moving along as special teams coach it will be important to get some measure of consitency going again with the special teams. Although we wont focus as much on special teams as we will be during the fall. It will be a very important time for Kip Smith, kicker in waiting, to get a measure of consistency. With all the new faces, this is going to be exciting.”

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UCLA Howland Tidbits

Here’s some stuff from the UCLA press conference today:

* Junior guard Malcolm Lee had surgery on his left knee on Tuesday – to repair the cartilage tear, remove loose cartilage and also fix a small meniscus cartilage tear – and Howland said he expects Lee to miss 4-to-8 weeks.

* I asked Howland about the log jam at power forward next season, and he said David Wear might play some at the three, and that Travis Wear has experience at multiple positions.

* Asked whether Brendan Lane might redshirt next year, and he said he hasn’t discussed that with Lane.

* Howland said he’ll begin his discussions with Tyler Honeycutt, Malcolm Lee and Reeves Nelson in the next 10 days about their future plans. He would not really speculate on any of the decisions, but he is quite certain there will be an NBA lockout, and that will play a factor in his discussions with the players.
“This is going to be a serious lockout. I have a lot of friends in the NBA, and they’re all preparing for it. They will not be playing in next December or January. Nothing in the summer time; July 1 it starts. There’s a real commitment by owner and ownership to get things right.”

* Howland said he does not have a target weight for Joshua Smith, but he wants his body-fat percentage to be somewhere around 12 percent. He also said Smith will be on a regular regimen with the rest of the players, rather than a conditioning-only plan like last year.

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No Sweet 16 for UCLA women either

Neither UCLA team advances to Sweet 16, but the women had much tougher draw with Gonzaga in a home game in Spokane. The Zags lost 1 home game all season and upset UCLA, 89-75. Nikki Caldwell had said last week that the potential matchup with Gonzaga in Spokane was ”the most interesting” thing the selection committee did. UCLA was disappointed with a No. 3 seed, but seeding didn’t matter. The Zags will play in a Spokane regional, too, paving what could be the easiest path to the Final Four on the women’s side.

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Gansz gone, McClure moves to ST coach

From UCLA:

UCLA head football coach Rick Neuheisel announced today that special teams coach Frank Gansz Jr. has left the staff for personal reasons and that Angus McClure, the Director of On-Campus Recruiting for Football who possesses over a decade of on-field collegiate coaching experience, is UCLA’s new special teams coach.

“Frank has done a great job for us during our three years together and I certainly wish him all the best,” said Neuheisel. “He feels that it’s in his best interest to make this move and I certainly understand and respect his decision.”

McClure has been a member of the Bruin staff since 2007. That season, he served as tight ends coach under Karl Dorrell. He has spent the last three years as Director of On-Campus Recruiting for Football and has handled recruiting administration and organization; managing all official and unofficial visits; tracking all recruiting paperwork, including transcripts, serving as liaison to college All-Star game representatives; liaison with pro scouts; and other assignments from the head coach.

McClure came to UCLA after serving as the offensive line/run game coordinator on Turner Gill’s staff at the University of Buffalo during the 2006 season. Buffalo scored more points (201) in conference games than any other member of the Mid-American Conference East Division.

McClure spent the two previous seasons (2004-2005) as an assistant on Bill Callahan’s staff at the University of Nebraska. McClure assisted with the offensive line, coaching the offensive tackles, as well as serving in several special teams roles.

Prior to his stint at Nebraska, McClure played a major role in record-breaking offenses at Sacramento State University, where he served as assistant head coach and offensive line coach from 1997-2003. During his tenure at Sacramento State, the Hornets set 52 NCAA Division I-AA, Big Sky Conference or school records. He coached 20 All-Big Sky conference honorees and had six of his players sign NFL contracts. In 1996, McClure coached tight ends at the University of Nevada in Reno.

“Angus has a lot of experience both in on-field coaching and administration and organization,” Neuheisel said. “He has been a valuable member of the staff and I know he was anxious to return to coaching. This will be a smooth transition and I expect our special teams to flourish under his guidance.”

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Weekly Q&A

Fire away with questions for this week’s Q&A. Please don’t post new questions on the answers section, because I don’t always check the comments. Save them for next week.

Also, I’m taking the rest of the day off, coming back with a season-in-review-slash-look-forward tomorrow after our press conference with Ben Howland, then likely taking the rest of the week off until Spring Football begins on the 29th.


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Keeping Up with the Jones’

UCLA junior point guard Lazeric Jones said he did not need off-season surgery for either his ailing left wrist or right middle finger, despite struggling greatly toward the end of the season.

Before suffering the sprained left wrist, which required a bulky cast, Jones had made 80-of-194 shots, 41.2 percent.

After the injury, he made just 22-of-70 shots, for 31 percent, including just 2-for-10 in two NCAA Tournament games.

“No surgery; I just have to do rehab and get it back right,” Jones said. “I need to get it back to normal. I’ve been playing a little awkward lately. Now it’s time to get in the gym and get myself together. I have to come back better next year.”

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Nerves of Steal

UCLA head coach Ben Howland would not second-guess Lee’s decision to go for the steal on the game’s decisive play, an inbound pass to Walker that left Lee on the ground after slipping and Walker at the 3-point line, nailing a three that put the Gators up four with 1:14 left.

“You can go for it, but you can’t put yourself out of the play,” Howland said. “It’s hard; he’s playing the game, playing as hard as he can as he always does. You miss out on the steal, and it is one thing. Unfortunately, he took himself out of the play.”

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