Told you I had a lot from the Receptionist:
On the team expecting this success:
“We’ve expected that since the beginning. We knew we had the capabilities to do big things. For it to come true, it’s kind of a reality to us. Were trying to build off of that it as a team and not rest on anything.”
On the hype surrounding the Stanford matchup”
“We take every game basically the same. We know every game is big, especially from here on out. The Pac-10 is very unpredictable – any team can beat another at any given time. But we put weight in the fact that you have to bring you’re A-game every week. With us being 3-0 and them 2-0 in Pac 10, of course it’s a big game. But we’re not putting extra weight on it.”
On the hype affecting younger players:
“It might cross their minds because they are young. With veterans like me, Reggie, Brian, even veterans like Logan, Ryan Moya, we’ll squash that in the locker room. Especially us being UCLA, we’ve gotta always have that chip and play hard. We’ll let them know to treat this like any other game.”
On the benefits of the bye week:
“It definitely allowed us to be able to go over some technical things. We’ve shown a lot of excellence, but we also have a lot of room for improvement. We have to iron that out, the penalties, the lack of concentration in a lot of areas.”
Just got through the Monday press conference, and got some great stuff from Rick Neuheisel and Alterraun Verner. I’m trying to line up some big things for later this week, too!
I’ll toss up a poll or two, too, and look out for some cool extras.
On what it’s like for a senior starting school again with a bye week:
“This is just routine now; it’s the start of school, lot of excitement, lot of people fresh off of summer, and things are relatively easy going in. The freshmen have to learn from this week that time management. School is going to take a big portion on top of football. For me, it’s no big thing. I’m already kind of mentally ready for this bye.”
On how the start of school changes things:
With us not having school, we can be out doing things, having a lot of activities. In school, you have to be here, we can go and get some extra film, you’re already here on campus. It can refocus, but at the same time, it can take away focus – with the parties and everything. It kind of depends on the person you are.”
On why this week is important:
“Some people might need this week a lot more; me, I can always focus in on technique. Make sure I can refine it – that’s how you make plays, through technique. I try and work on those little edges.”
UCLA defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski pummeled the SDSU interior field goal unit, leapt and blocked a field goal, which was scooped up and returned 70 yards for a touchdown by Alterraun Verner.
Chiming in real quick from Hawaii, but it looks like UCLA has landed three players on the Bednarik Award watch list.
With Brian Price, Reggie Carter and Alterraun Verner on the list, the Bruins tie Penn State for tops in the country.
The Bednarik Award is essentially the top defensive honor in college football, and three Nittany Lions have won the award a total of four times – Paul Posluszny (twice), Dan Connor and Lavar Arrington.
USC’s Rey Maualuga won last season.
On Day 1 of practice:
“You can see the playmaking and athleticism already; you can see the potential,” Verner said. “But that’s the one thing, the true testament will be Friday, when we actually get pads on. Hopefully, these younger guys can get it by then. It’s probably good that we started out like this, so they can get used to everything. When the pads come on, it shouldn’t be a huge shock.”
On his own expectations, after being named to the Jim Thorpe Award preseason watch list:
“I expect a lot more out of myself than probably anyone else can,” Verner said. “I just expect myself to help get this team back to where it should be, which is on top of the Pac-10, if not the country. That’s what I expect. If we can do that, I’ll be satisified, no matter what the stats say about me.”
Practice is wrapping up, but I’ll be bringing you some player comments shortly.
Things were pretty breezy out there, but a couple players raised some eyebrows, including a freshman whom I spoke with. Players mentioned that the practice definitely took on a serious tone as the day wore on, with coach Rick Neuheisel staying on top of guys.
Stay tuned for one-on-one quotes, including Logan Paulsen, Alterraun Verner and Kevin Prince.
Rick Neuheisel on UCLA’s team leaders:
“Reggie Carter and Alterraun Verner on defense, Logan Paulsen on offense – those are all big time leaders. They’ve been around here. They’ve been here through good times and lean times. Those guys all understand what it takes. They watched a senior class last year do the best they could and fall short. I know they’re eager to maybe even take it a notch up.”