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.”
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.
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.
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:
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.”
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.”