Conference call notebook

It appears even a 17-point win following a 36-point loss can do the impossible: Take some of the sunshine out of Rick Neuheisel.

The relentlessly positive coach was given a stern tutorial on bravado after a 48-12 loss to Arizona on a highly publicized ESPN Thursday night game followed a week of discussion about the Pac-12 South race.

Now, with a potentially race-deciding matchup with Pac-12 South leader Arizona State on Saturday at the Rose Bowl, Neuheisel is being a bit demure, sedated, his passion bucket springing a leak.

“We don’t want to talk about that,” Neuheisel said. “We’re going to talk about playing Arizona State and playing our best and seeing if we can’t find a way to get one more point than they can. Our mindset needs to be on what we do rather than what might or might not be. Certainly we learned that lesson the hard way.”

This much is true, though: Saturday’s matchup will likely determine who faces the Pac-12 North champion, likely either No. 4 Stanford or No. 6 Oregon in the first Pac-12 title game.

The Sun Devils head to the Rose Bowl at 4-1 in conference play, their lone conference blemish coming in a 41-27 loss to the Ducks in Week 7, while UCLA, at 3-2, could pull even with Arizona State with a victory. Though the Bruins are tied with USC in the divisional standings, the Trojans are ineligible for postseason play, and no other Pac-12 South opponent has more than one conference win.

Neuheisel celebrated the 31-14 win over the Bears but is measuring his words a bit more this weekend than after the Bruins’ previous win over Washington State. Both beat the Arizona debacle, however.

“This was more fun, I guarantee you,” Neuheisel said. “(But there’s) still lots to do. We can’t sit – we’ve lost four times this year and responded each time. We’ve won three times prior to this one and not done the job. What changes this week is our effort and attitude.”

Plug Uglies
The UCLA offensive line had its best effort in weeks, even with extensive shuffling up front.
With sophomore guard Chris Ward sidelined with an ankle injury and sophomore guard Alberto Cid suspended for the first half against the Bears, the Bruins went with sophomore Greg Capella and redshirt freshman Wade Yandall at the guard spots.
The mixing-and-matching did not matter as UCLA gained 294 rushing yards, with Yandall playing all but one series.
“Wade played really well,” Neuheisel said. “We’ll have great competition between he and Alberto this week, and with Chris Ward getting back, we’ll have him competing with Capella, who also played well.”

Bumps and Bruises
UCLA sophomore safety Dietrich Riley was released from Huntington Hospital on Sunday morning after a horrific collision with Cal running back Isi Sofele in the fourth quarter. Riley was carted off the field and taken to the hospital for precautionary tests, and Neuheisel said he’s unsure of his status for this week.
“He checked out fine,” Neuheisel said. “He was here today, looked great. Said he’s good to go. Doctors want to be careful, see him (today).”
Neuheisel also said that junior quarterback Richard Brehaut was scheduled for x-rays today on his fractured ankle, from which he is recovering quicker than anticipated.

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  • Anonymous

    Yesterday’s win was nice but honestly why even bring up the conference race? The winner of the game this next Saturday will still have three more conference games left. Given UCLA’s inconsistency to date I cant imagine that if they manage to beat ASU this weekend that they will not lose 1 or 2 or all of their remaining games after that. They have been consistently inconsistent so far, why would that change?

  • Blitzed

    It’s absolutely mind boggling that we’re still very much alive in the division. You almost wonder if Fox and the conference is dreading having the first ever Pac 12 title game end up being some slaughterfest. Because I don’t care how you want to spin it, we’re just not in the same class as Oregon or Stanford.

  • Bruin Gold

    Rick finally learned his lesson. He stopped his hyperbole.

    The Bruins had fantastic attitude against Cal. I hope they learned to keep that attitude in the weeks ahead. I hope they learned to keep that attitude for life.

    The BTB T-shirts were GREAT as a reflection of that attitude. Burn the Boats. Do or Die. Warrior Attitude. Let it all hang out. Give it everything you’ve got or die on the field. Banzai!

    That is the attitude I’ve wanted to see for the past several years.

  • Weasel of Westwood

    Big victory against Cal. Next we take down ASU. Start that big contract extension negotiations with that $20M TV money. Who hoo!

  • Anonymous

    May be Neuheisel should “suspend” a buch of other players so the subs can play.

  • http://www.insidesocal.com/ucla/2011/10/conference-call-notebook-1.html#_login Glowbruins

    It’s nice to finally see some fight in this team–both literally and figuratively. Keep it up!
    It’s time to bust out of our season-long pattern of L-W-L-W-L-W-L-W.

  • sandiegobruinfan

    @ Bruin Gold: Agreed…the $1.25 mil question will be whether it carries over through the rest of the season.

    One brings up the conference race because UCLA is very much still in the race. I sure as hell am not going to apologize for the ineptitude of most members of the Pac 12 South. It is what it is and better to have a meaningful game in November than be already planning for 2012.

    The Bruins are good enough to go 3-1 or even 4-0 the rest of the way out…but also inconsistent and insufficiently talented to go 0-4 as well. Anyone who has followed this program over the years would not be terribly surprised if they beat a good ASU team on Saturday and then lay a turd in Utah the following week.

    Oh and if CRN makes a bowl game, DG is not canning him and eating $1.25 mil if he doesn’t absolutely have to do so. Even a trash dumpster bowl game nets 15 extra practices and IMO, 2012 is the once every few years season where UCLA’s depth & experience and a relatively favorable schedule can make for justified huge expectations. One bright day, it would be nice to have such lofty expectations on an every year basis.

    Go Bruins!

  • Keith

    What about Locke?????????

  • FG UW fan

    Wow.

    That’s all I could think as I sat in Husky Stadium saturday night, watching the dawgs struggle with UA, when the UCLA-Cal score floated by on the scoreboard.

    I had not been in front onf a TV all day, so this was the first I had heard of the upset. I nearly crapped my skivvies I was so shocked.

    Anyway, congrats! It sounds like Maynard barfed all over himself a bit which I’m sure was key, but VERY impressive being able to run so well against that strong front 7 of Cal, especially when they know every WR you have is suspended.

    Maybe RN will save the day. Hard for me to understand how they can get killed at UA and then slam Cal.

    Good luck next week.

  • UCLA Dynasty

    Gold wrote: “This much is true, though: Saturday’s matchup will likely determine who faces the Pac-12 North champion, likely either No. 4 Stanford or No. 6 Oregon in the first Pac-12 title game.”

    In other words, learned football insiders can very clearly see, we’re FINALLY gonna STOMP SUC! I can’t wait!! It’s like Stanford handed them that game and those dummies couldn’t take it.

  • GG57

    After that Arizona loss I said I’m not watching anymore games until we have a new coach and defensive staff. So they go and get an impressive win. My brother is a Cal graduate and we argued over whose team is worse. I can’t even win that.

    From all the discussion regarding the team’s problems I think the lack of discipline wins. It seems like the suspensions helped. Maybe RN and crew will learn from the NCAA discipline and take control of those young men. I’ve heard that good coaches make players do what they don’t want to do to become what they want to become. Sit those bad attitudes down or kick them off the team. Yank scholarships. Keep Saturday’s players in until the suspended players can earn those spots back.

    If they learned from the last two games and continue to apply whatever worked then this year will be a turn around year. I hope so.

  • Amillennialist

    @Dynasty,

    I believe their excluding the Trojans is because they are ineligible for the postseason, not because they think we’re going to beat them.

    I hope you’re right, though.

    @GG,
    “I can’t even win that.” That sums up being a Bruin fan lately! Funny!

    @all,
    I fear that the reason the team has lacked the success we’ve hoped for (and saw on Saturday) is that Neu has been playing his personnel not based on merit, but some other criteria.

    Perhaps the team can continue playing as hard and as well as they did against Cal.

    Go BRUINS!

  • cv

    That was a job saving win, Rick will get to a bowl and not get blown out by SC!

  • cvs

    After the upcoming blowout loss to Arizona State on Saturday, nobody will be singing Slick Rick’s praises any more. Does everyone at UCLA major in split personalities, or what?