Think/Know: Week 7

*I knowUCLA’s issues run a lot deeper than a 48-12 loss at a 1-5 team
Forget the ugliness that happened when the clock was running on Thursday night at Arizona, and instead focus on the brawl that occurred at the end of the first half. Yes, Rick Neuheisel is right, without the streaker, there probably is no brawl, and UCLA probably doesn’t have six player suspended for at least a half-game. But there was.
Now what?
Six guys getting in a petty little shoving match at midfield is one thing. Players pouring out onto the field like a skunk roamed the sidelines is another, and it is a reflection of the complete lack of discipline that UCLA is encountering. As I said in the Two Fat Guys video, false starts are one thing. Dropped passes are one thing. Missed assignments or fumbles or attrocious tackling. Those are all field-of-play issues, and while they too show a lack of discipline, nothing shows utter chaos than a bench-clearing brawl.
All of it boils down to the fact that there seems to be little repercussions aside from a few yelling coaches. Is that enough to shake some sense into a kid? Not to me. Where are the up-downs until a guy pukes? Where are the 50 laps around Spaulding Field. Where it the accountability?
I know this isn’t high school football, where you make a mistake and you’re punished for it. But this isn’t the NFL either, and there has to be SOME kind of punishment for mistakes, much less fighting. I doubt we’ll see any.

* I know Sheldon Price wasn’t ready to play on Thursday
After one series, it was evident that Price’s sprained knee wasn’t up to snuff, and Nick Foles sniffed it out pretty quickly. Foles went at the UCLA junior cornerback early, including on a 4-yard touchdown pass to Juron Criner in which Criner simply juked Price to the turf.
That Andrew Abbott played so well in his time, including his interception, only exacerbates the use of Price to such an extent. We saw Neuheisel shy away from using Courtney Viney despite his advanced coverage skills, perptuating the notion that he favors big, tall players over guys who can get the job done. Price couldn’t against Arizona, and it proved costly.

I think it’s surprising UCLA switched to the 3-4
Oh, they didn’t? It must just seem that way, given the utter lack of pressure from the UCLA front four. I made the questionable decision to rewatch most of the game on Friday, and before my eyes filled up with blood, I saw UCLA defensive linemen get pushed off the line of scrimmage like they weighed a collective 12 pounds. They weren’t just pushed off the line, they were absolutely smashed. Smashed.
It’s not as if it’s one player, either. It’s all of them. The pad level is absolutely brutal, and that is something UCLA struggled mightily with last season. The thought was the short, compact Inoke Brecketfield would be able to help with some of the leverage issues. He has not.

I know UCLA isn’t getting the production it expected out of the safeties
The loss of Rahim Moore to the NFL was thought to be softened by the return of Tony Dye and the emergence of Dietrich Riley. Only Dye has been sidelined much of the year, hobbled the rest of it, and is once more listed as out for Cal. And Riley, meanwhile, hasn’t lived up to the potential he flashed last season. Riley, Dalton Hilliard and Tevin McDonald struggled greatly against the Wildcats, and they need to grow up fast if UCLA is to turn it around. On one big Arizona play – ignited by a Grand Canyon-sized hole in the UCLA front four – Keola Antolin cut right and comically juked Riley and McDonald before running over Hilliard for a huge gain. Ouch.

* I think the wide receiver suspensions could be a blessing in disguise
Whatever it takes to get Devin Lucien on the field I consider a good thing. Granted, I don’t think Lucien is a refined blocker, and he is an emotional kid and perhaps not ready for primetime…but UCLA’s other receivers are? The Bruins best wideout drops passes left and right and has the fortitude of the tin man. One senior wideout couldn’t break away from a sloth and the other runs imprecise routes – on the Kevin Prince “overthrow” on the first drive, Josh Smith just stopped running – and the junior speedster is inconsistent.
I wasn’t the only one championing Lucien for a long time, and the other UCLA beat writers have often grumbled about his redshirting.
Now is the time to correct it. I don’t care if it’s only for five games.
Brett Hundley on the other hand…that’s a redshirt you save.

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Breaking in the Sports Arena

UCLA’s basketball team willl have its Thursday and Friday practices at the Sports Arena, where the Bruins will play most of their games this season while Pauley Pavilion is rennovated.
UCLA first opens the season Nov. 11 against LMU at the Sports Arena.

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Football presser update

Rick Neuheisel said Jerry Rice Jr., Jerry Johnson have an opportunity to see time at reciever this Saturday. Jordan James should see time outside Saturday against Cal.

“(Rice) has been chomping at the bit to play,” Neuheisel said. “We’ve got other ways we can play 11-man football. We’ll use all of them.”

Neuheisel said he wasn’t sure if QB Brett Hundley would play against the Bears, but he said he wasn’t 100 percent ready to play at Arizona. That doesn’t preclude that he couldn’t be ready for Cal this weekend.

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Two suffer concussions in basketball practices

De’End Parker and Anthony Stover both suffered concussions during UCLA’s hoops practices in the last week. Parker sustained his concussion on Saturday. He ran into the elbow of David Wear while he was driving the lane.
Stover suffered his concussion during a drill in practice last Monday, one week ago. He is expected to return to practice on Wednesday.

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Neuheisel on the depleted WR corps

Despite a wide receiver corps depleted by suspension, UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel said he was unsure if he would use freshman Devin Lucien against Cal at 4 p.m. Saturday at the Rose Bowl.

With senior Taylor Embree, junior Randall Carroll and sophomores Ricky Marvray and Shaq Evans suspended for their roles in starting and escalating a mid-field brawl at the end of the first half in the Bruins’ 48-12 loss at Arizona on Thursday, the Bruins are down to just seniors Nelson Rosario and Josh Smith, junior Jerry Rice Jr. and Lucien, who has maintained his redshirt.

Neuheisel added that junior wide receiver Jerry Johnson could be available after returning from a fractured ankle suffered last year and that F-back Jordon James can play oustside, as well.

“It’s a precarious situation, that’s true,” Neuheisel said, “but we feel like with our athletes and some of the stuff we can do in the running game we can neutralize the effect of it.”
Neuheisel said that the decision to use Lucien, who starred at Crespi and looked ready for the game during fall camp, will be a group discussion.

“No, he’s not off the table, but it’s important that that be a family decision,” Neuheisel said. “Devin has sat for the entire year, we thought for a redshirt. These guys are going to be back after one game so I want to make sure we are doing something prudent for Devin. And making sure that he understands what the situation exactly is. We’ll certainly talk about that and talk about it with Devin.”

Neuheisel also said he was “not going to second-guess” the league on the suspensions, which also included a two-game suspension for sophomore defensive tackle Cassius Marsh and a half-game penalty for sophomore offensive guard Alberto Cid. Four Arizona players were suspended for their roles in the brawl as well, which broke out after a streak disrupted the game with four seconds left in the first half and the Bruins trailing 42-7.

“I’m disappointed it took place,” Neuheisel said. “Circumstances were nothing short of bizarre.”

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Offensive defensive stats

A year after ranking 94th nationally out of 120 teams in total defense and 86th in scoring defense – a performance that resulted in the firing of both defensive coordinator Chuck Bullough and defensive line coach Todd Howard – the Bruins have falled even farther.
After affording Arizona 573 total yards – including 254 on the ground, despite the Wildcats being ranked 119th in rushing yards oer game – UCLA currently ranks 106th in total defense (436.1 yards per game) and 108th in scoring defense (34.43).
“The other night we got pushed off the line of scrimmage,” Neuheisel said. “We have to make sure we get our pads down and get off the ball.”
Neuheisel also added that poor tackling by the safeties and coverage by the cornerbacks allowed the Wildcats to gain 6.4 yards per play and score on their first six possessions.

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Rick Neuheisel on Brett Hundley

UCLA head coach Rick Neuheisel was asked why he didn’t play Brett Hundley against Arizona on the weekly conference call:

“I thought about (using him), but in that kind of game, I didn’t think it was the right thing to do. If you decide to go to Brett hundley, you do it the rest of the time, or at least a package. I want to make sure he’s ready for that. I want it to be a worthwhile venture. I’m not thinking about me, I’m thinking about him.”

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