Two for Two with Norm Chow

On the Craft-to-Harkey touchdown:
“We had to score. There wasn’t anything but a few seconds left. We called an empty formation, and there was a little confusion on their part. We didn’t have anyone open, but we practice a scramble drill, and Harkey realized what was going on.”

On the Stanford win last year:
“Obviously it was a nice win, and I don’t want to demean that. But this is another year, another time. We never look beyond the next game, we never look back to far. This is coach-speak, I know. But it’s the truth. We don’t talk about anything else.”

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Brehaut Not Burned

Long ago, Rick Neuheisel realized he had two good quarterbacks competing for one job, and that one was a redshirt freshman and one was a true freshman.
Long ago, Rick Neuheisel realized he had the luxury of holding one of the two back a year, keeping Richard Brehaut’s redshirt, putting him a year behind Kevin Prince in eligibility.
Long ago, Rick Neuheisel realized he would not.
What seemed like a hasty decision, giving Brehaut reps in Saturday’s 33-14 victory over San Diego State, was actually well-thought out and debated over.
“I made it well before the game,” Neuheisel said. “I made up my mind that he’s too good of a player, and we’re going to keep him coming along. I just believe that good things are in store for him. We’ll try to get him in the game as often as we can.”
Added Norm Chow: “I don’t think we burned any redshirt year. We need him to play, we need him to get experience. You never know when you’re going to need a guy.”
Early last week, Brehaut was told he would be called upon if the time came during the season opener, that he would not simply ride the pine this decision because he could.
“It’s been an ongoing situation,” said Brehaut, Scout.com’s No. 9 recruit out of Los Osos High. “(Neuheisel) never told me straight up I’m not redshirting. You never know with the quarterback situation how things are going to go, if guys are going to get hurt. He’s always told me, ‘Stay ready, if I can get you in the game, I’m going to.’ The opportunity came about, and luckily I was prepared.”
Brehaut entered the game with just less than five minutes to play and connected on both of his passes for 39 yards, including a 30-yard pass to Nelson Rosario.
Brehaut said he was well-prepared, having been informed of his possible playing time early. He went about his business in practice all week, just as he has done throughout camp, with the possibility of a redshirt looming overhead.
“I knew in the middle of the week last week,” Brehaut said. “I don’t think it changed my approach. I’ve always been working out here like I’m the one guy. If something happens and I’m that No. 1 guy, I need to be ready. You never know what can happen. What if KP went down? What if Kevin Craft goes down? Then I’m in there like Craft last year. I have to prepare, no matter where I am on the depth chart.”
The decision is not without its controversy, though.
Brehaut came to Westwood as a highly touted recruit, and after Prince won the starting job, it seemed clear that the newcomer would redshirt. Now, though, the two will compete for playing time throughout their careers at UCLA.
“I have to realize that I always have to put in that work,” Brehaut said. “Kev knows his stuff. He got that redshirt where he knows everything down pat. I just have to work extra hard to make sure we can keep that competition up. If we are both at that high level, it’s only going to be better for the position.”
In the meantime, Brehaut will take any opportunity he can get.
“Right now, no, I don’t think I have to catch up,” Brehaut said. “(Prince is) above the bar a little bit on me. I have a base for all the schemes. But I have to get better at the little details, with every single thing I have to do.”

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Two for Two with Norm Chow

On what UCLA knows about SDSU going into Saturday’s contest:
“We know they’re brand new. We know they have a new scheme. We know Rocky Long is a heck of a football coach. We know to expect the unexpected.”

On Rocky Long’s 3-3-5 defense:
“I think that’s what he knows and what he does best. He has to do it. You wouldn’t coach something you didn’t know best. We’ve been studying it for the last two weeks now.”

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Post-practice update

UCLA got after it on Tuesday morning, with Rick Neuheisel unafraid to get in his players’ faces. There was much 7-on-7 work as the Bruins try to absorb the schemes thrown at them, but there was also plenty of scrimmage.

I spoke with Neuheisel, Kevin Prince, Brian Price, Korey Bosworth and Norm Chow, and I’ll have that in a moment. Stay tuned.

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Four for Four with Norm Chow

On tomorrow’s scrimmage:
“We’ve spent some time on San Diego State, but we’re playing against our own guys. We have to switch gears a little bit, transition into ‘camp’ football. Hopefully we’ll be enthusiastic and sound, manage the game pretty well. It doesn’t matter what you score; these guys know each other and are tired of hitting each other. We want a good clean scrimmage.”

On preparing for early games against SDSU and Tennessee:
“The first two we play are tough because they’re new coaches, new staffs. We end up looking at old film. We get to see one game of Tennessee and none of San Diego State. It’s a crapshoot. But the first time is always a crapshoot.”

On the team’s depth this season:
“I think there’s a huge difference; Rick did a great job with recruiting. We’ve got competition in spots on offense. They’re young and enthusiastic, and they really want to do well.”

On the new players making him feel young again:
(laughing) “Oh, come on. I always feel young.”

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Report Card – RB

Running Backs

Grade: B-
High Marks: After Christian Ramirez was pulled early to protect his hamstrings, Johnathan Franklin took the reins and ran with them. Franklin had a stunning 60-yard touchdown run en route to a six-carry, 99-yard performance. Milton Knox displayed his bouncability – I’m coining that, by the way – and impressed the coaches.
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Low Marks: Derrick Coleman had a rough day behind the starting offensive line and grew frustrated. It seems that Norm Chow only seems comfortable using Ramirez as a receiving threat, as Prince rarely looked into the flats with his other running backs.

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C-Ram doing his MoJo impersonation

Christian Ramirez – are you calling him C-Ram yet? Do you want to start? – said during Media Day on Monday that he expected to be used in a variety of ways this season.
Then he went out during practice and caught passes left and right, working out of backfield on screens, flashing out as a safety blanket, even chipping blitzers and then popping out as an extra option.
Norm Chow echoed C-Ram’s comments, mentioning how good his hands are.
Read about it here, if you’d like:

C-Ram

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Day 2 extras…

Rick Neuheisel, on the offensive line inefficiencies from last season:
“They just were inexperienced and they weren’t physical enough. Given the great work in the offseason to increase our strength numbers and given some competition created by the arrival of newcomers, I think we’re gonna have a chance to be a better front. And we need to be if we’re going to be better on offense.”

Norm Chow, on Christian Ramirez’ chance to be a dual-threat back:
“He’s a good pass catcher, so we have to make sure where we get some matchups where we can magnify his skills. We’ve known all along. He practiced all year long with us and you could just tell he was a good pass catcher. And a coach has the responsibility to try and magnify the skills of the players we have.”

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Christian Ramirez on his role

Ramirez spoke yesterday about his offseason program, and getting up to 220 pounds while trying not to lose his speed. He certainly expects to carry the ball a lot this season, but he also has his creative juices flowing. Well, actually, he’s counting on Norm Chow to have his creative juices flowing.
And they were on Monday, as Ramirez caught passes out of the backfield and seemed eager to just be a factor on offense.

On being a workhorse back for UCLA:
“Being an athlete, period, you always want to have the ball in your hands,” Ramirez said. “You want to be the playmaker. That’s up to coach Chow. If he needs me to carry the ball so many times, I will. I’ll do whatever. It’s just fun to know that I’m going to be used in many different ways.”

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