* On a frigid day out in Westwood, reporters shivering during group interviews, the offense went ice cold when installing red-zone and goal-line packages. There were drops and miscommunication and poor throws, and really, it all looked a bit…off. While there were a handful of simply great plays – Richard Brehaut to both Nelson Rosario and Josh Smith on two pretty deep passes over the middle for touchdowns – most of the time the offense was out of sync.
* Rick Neuheisel: “I was pleased with the day, it just was not where it needs to be. You can’t say any one thing; I just think it’s a normal growing pain when you just install stuff.”
* Kevin Prince was cleared to play in 7-on-7 drills, and did a decent amount of throwing, but Neuheisel quite frankly forgot to play him during the 7-on-7s.
* To clarify on Richard Brehaut and baseball: He is not involved with the baseball team during spring ball because of the 20-hour per week NCAA practice limit. He is doing individual work, bullpen sessions, batting cage, but not “with” the team right now. He will rejoin the squad after the completion of spring ball.
* Neuheisel: “Richard is a good quarterback and I know he wants to be better than good. To do that you have to submerge yourself in it. There’s just too much to know at that position. There are other positions that you might be able to master and still have some free time but not the quarterback position. Its always changing, always evolving, especially with new coaches, new schemes. Its just one of those things I think he saw that hopefully will be the right one for him. I know we’re excited about it.”
* The drops, again, were not by any one player or position, but it also seemed like every target had at least one. Johnathan Franklin and Damien Thigpen dropped consecutive passes out of the backfield shortly after the Brehaut-to-Smith touchdown, and Derrick Coleman had an egregious drop, too.
* That being said, the offensive line looked pretty good, despite the loss of Kai Maiava to a minor ankle injury. Neuheisel expects him to return on Saturday, but Greg Capella looked much improved with the ones this season than when he was pressed into spot duty last season.
* Dietrich Riley had a beautiful interception on an awfully thrown ball by Brehaut, jumping the route at the perfect time. He was beat on a play a few plays later, though, and looked really irritated with himself.
* Looks like Cassius Marsh is back in the good graces, participating with the first team defense. His attitude looks pretty good out there the last couple days, and I’ll be watching him intently during Saturday’s scrimmage and practice.
* Some other one-offs:
*Stan McKay had a nice practice with a couple of interceptions, but he was also out of place a few times and the coaches got on him for it.
* Ryan Hofmeister stood out to me today for the first time, and I actually did a triple-take after he blew up his man in a LB/RB drill.
* Joseph Fauria had a block on Damien Holmes that, well, he wouldn’t have had last year. Since blocking is his biggest need for improvement, I was surprised by both the strength he displayed and the nastiness, as he really got into Holmes quickly. One thing that gets overlooked is just how quickly a guy tries to engage the guy he’s blocking, and Fauria was off the snap incredibly quickly.
* First Inside UCLA video with Brett Hundley will be posted tomorrow. Engaging kid. Incredibly engaging.
Practice resumes Saturday at 1 p.m. at Spaulding Field.