Bob Palcic on Nick Ekbatani:
“I told him today that I was thinking of him primarily as a guard, but since he has experience at tackle, that if someone were to get injured, he’d be a possibility. Nick coming back will only make us better. I’m used to having a seven-eight man rotation. You want a backup center, a backup guard, and a swing tackle. If I have eight guys, I usually feel pretty comfortable in that situation.”

Aaron Hester on his recovery from a fractured fibula:
I’m just happy to be walking again without pain. I lost the crutches yesterday; as soon as I got my X-ray results back, they texted me and said there were really good results. I just left my crutches right where they were. Wherever they were, I just left them and started walking.”

Reggie Carter on the bye week practice:
“We don’t have a game to prepare for, so right now it’s more execution, technique. We can slow it down a little bit, work on technique a little bit. Once the season starts, you kind of lose out on that opportunity to work on technique because your game planning.”

Reggie Carter on his performance in the Kansas State game:
“After watching game film, I had an OK game, but there were times where I could have been more physical with offensive linemen, played the ball a little better inside out. I can’t overrun plays; I need to play fast but play the ball inside out. That will be my emphasis this week, working to be crisp with my hands and with my footwork.”

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Line Change

After announcing the starting offensive line earlier this week, it seems UCLA has changed things a bit.
As it stands, Mike Harris is scheduled to start at right tackle, Stanley Hasiak at left guard and Jeff Baca backing both up.
Or, at least, that’s the plan going into the weekend’s meetings.
Offensive line coach Bob Palcic said that he and Rick Neuheisel would review the scrimmage tape and start the two who played best.
“I’m going to make one final meeting with Coach Neuheisel to see which direction we’re going,” Palcic said. “Harris or Baca at tackle and Baca or Hasiak at left guard. We’ll make the decision this weekend. We wanted to give them all an opportunity. That was the purpose of the scrimmage, and it’s whoever played best in the scrimmage. I gave them all work with the ones, and whoever played best in the scrimmage will start next Saturday.”
Palcic loves Baca’s ability to play multiple positions, and he might even use Baca situationally.
“I think I have the luxury of moving a couple people around,” Palcic said. “Baca can play both positions, and I even work with him in the center/QB exchange. I like my guys to have two positions, because that’s what I’m used to in the NFL. ”

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Questions About Chickens and Eggs

You wonder, what came first, the chicken or the egg?
Then you wonder, what came first, the good quarterback or the good offensive line?
Who pushes whom to greatness?
Or, in other words, can Kevin Prince become the quarterback UCLA needs him to be with two freshmen protecting his weak side?
Bob Palcic has his answer, and a few more…

On the whole offense:
“Everybody’s in this together. Kevin can make the line look good by getting the ball off on time. The receivers can help the line by running the routes at the proper depth. The running backs can help by blocking the proper linebackers. It isn’t just the line. Everybody has to work together on this side. Its 11 guys all doing their jobs that will create success.

On the youthful offensive line:
“I like these young kids. They’re going to continue to get better on a daily basis. Obviously, they are very inexperienced but they’re learning every day and giving me a good effort.”

On starting a freshman offensive lineman in the season opener for the first time:
“I’ve never started a freshman in the opener for me . I had a freshman start for me at Ohio State about the fifth game into the season. Even Jonathan Ogden didn’t start here as a freshman his first game. We’re in new territory here. That’s what it is.

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Palcic on the young hogs

Caught up with offensive line coach Bob Palcic real quick, and here’s what he had to say…

On Xavier Su’a-Filo and Stanley Hasiak:
“I think they’re real good, young kids, but let’s remember they’re just incoming freshmen,” Palcic said. “It’s extremely difficult at any level, whether you come in as a rookie in the pros or go from high school to college, it takes time and patience. But I think they have the qualities and abilities that will make them really good players here at one time.”

On the transition from high school to college and the odds of freshmen linemen getting playing time:
“The offensive line and the quarterback are the two toughest places to make the transition in,” Palcic said. “That’s not going to change. If they’re good enough, that’s fine with me. I’ve started freshmen before, and I’m not afraid to do it again.”

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