Rick Neuheisel watches Jerry Neuheisel lead UCLA past Texas

It was almost too perfect.

Three decades after his father led UCLA to the Rose Bowl, Jerry Neuheisel’s dreams came true. In three-plus quarters of injury relief for Brett Hundley, the redshirt sophomore completed 23 of his 30 passes for 178 yards — guiding the Bruins to a 20-17 win over Texas at AT&T Stadium.

And of course, the coup de grâce: his 33-yard pass to Jordan Payton for the game-winning touchdown.

Back at the Pac-12 Networks in San Francisco, Rick Neuheisel watched the whole thing.

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Who was the last to play both ways the way Myles Jack did?

My story in today’s Los Angeles Daily News tries to figure out comparisons for the two-way eruption UCLA linebacker Myles Jack had this past weekend. You probably won’t guess at least one of the names mentioned.

Not in the article was how well Jack has handled the attention so far. Continue reading

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Dan Guerrero’s contract extended through 2019

UCLA announced Thursday that it has extended athletic director Dan Guerrero’s contract through 2019.

The Bruins have won 22 NCAA national championships since Guerrero was appointed in 2002, guiding the program to what chancellor Gene Block said is a “national example of how intercollegiate athletics serve and further the mission of higher education.”

The new contract is retroactive to April 1, and will replace the one that expired on March 31. Guerrero has a rolling five-year clause that would have taken effect had there not been an extension. As the the Daily Bruin first reported, Guerrero will be paid $734,774 with an annual 5 percent increase.

His new term of appointment will end on Dec. 31, 2019.

Prior to the extension, Guerrero was already the highest-paid athletic director at a Pac-12 public school with $715,211 in guaranteed salary.

The school said in a press release that no tuition or state funds were used in his compensation, which comes from athletic department revenues and private fundraising. Continue reading

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Neuheisel On:

On Wednesday’s practice:
“We’re right on schedule with respect to our plan, with respect to the eagerness to play. We’re very respectful of our opponent, but we’re anxious to play. We’ll keep putting the finishing touches as the week goes on, but I like where we are.”

On the excitement of the Stanford game:
“The guys are into it, there’s certainly an eagerness associated with this kind of game – opening Pac-10 game and ABC has picked us for that 12:30 slot. It’s exciting for the UCLA football program to be thought of in this way. Now we have to go play like we need to play to get this opportunity again.”

On winning on the road in the Pac-10
“Road wins in this conference are kind of difficult. Everybody is kind of finding that out. It takes a special kind of mindset. Fortunately we had a good road test going to Tennessee. I know that doesn’t count for any points in this game, but certainly we go in expecting good things of ourselves. When you except that, rather than wonder that, you can focus on the things that are going to help you win.”

On Stanford’s offensive line:
“They’re a very good looking offensive line. Very sound. They’ve got two young players on the front who, just like our younger players, are playing very well. They’ve got a toughness about them. It’s obvious they preach that toughness.”

On the eagerness to play:
“I just think our guys are dying to play and to prove that what’s happened thus far is not a fluke. The only way to do that is to prove it on a weekly basis. We’re trying to get that done.”

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Neuheisel On:

On Tuesday’s practice:
I was pleased to see the intensity of the work. We understand the quality of the opponent, and our guyas are aware that it will take a big-time effort to get it done.

On blaring “Hokey-Pokey” over the loudspeakers:
“We’ve got some guys who haven’t been listening to me when I say I’m going to make them go to class. We have a little bit of a regimen they’re going to have to go through now they’ve missed class. That’s the music they’re going to be doing it to. We call them the roly-polies, and hokey-pokey’s as close as I can get.”

On field position:
“It’s important when you feel like you need to protect your defense. When you feel like you’re playing defense with your offense. You’re trying to keep the ball away from them, you’re trying to make the opponent impatient. That’s not necessarily the case against a Stanford team that’s going to pound and pound and pound. I’m not sure it’s as meaningful statistic in games like this.”

On starting the same offensive line for four straight weeks:
“The offensive line might be the most important group that has that continuity. They just all have to be on the same page. The communication that’s going on in the trenches is huge, and when you get good at it, you start using dummy calls, and then the defense really doesn’t know what the heck’s going on.”

On competition on the offensive line:
“You still want to keep competition going – that’s always going to be the hallmark of a program – but you have to be able to count on guys. When another guy comes in, it’s like a badge of honor to be part of it.”

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Neuheisel On: UCLA

On Kevin Craft getting reps with the ones in practice:
“Kevin played a consistent game the other night. I hope that he’ll improve just like I hope the rest of the team will improve. If he can have a consistent good performance, he’ll give us a chance to be successful. Richard Brehaut will continue to get reps and continue to compete.”

On last season’s last-minute win over Stanford, and how it bodes for Craft:
“I think all positive memoires are goods. They certainly beat the alternative. I think that can only be helpful. It’s a different team, a better team that we’re playing. Hopefully we are, too.”

On how the Kansas State win reaffirmed faith in Craft:
“I think it’s not so much their faith in him, I think they were just happy for him. He’s a very popular player amongst his teammates. They respect him for the way he’s handled the adversity, for the way he kept getting up despite some tough licks he took a year ago, both literally and figuratively. I think they admire the fact that he wasn’t pouting when it wasn’t going to be his turn. Competitors sense that in other competitors, and they respect it.”

On how last season’s turnovers affect this year:
“I haven’t thought about that, and hopefully Kevin isn’t thinking about it. This is a different team and Kevin is a diff player. I don’t want to give him any negative thoughts to harbor on. We all know we can’t turn the ball over and be a successful team. He’s got big boy shoulder pads. He can handle it.”

On the cornerback battle:
“Right now Sheldon Price is on top of that spot. We’ll wait until absolutely necessary to making that decision. It’s a comfort factor as we put in the defensive game plan, matchups, all that stuff goes into it. Right now (he’s starting) because of how he played against Kansas State and his size.”

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Checking in

Hey guys,

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.


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Neuheisel On: Stanford

On Stanford running back Toby Gerhart:
“They’re running back is maybe as good as there is in the country. He’s a different kind of running back. He’s not going to try to make you miss as many times as some as some of the elusive guys do. He’s as powerful and tough to bring down as any back I’ve seen in college football for some time. And they know what they had in him, and they feed him. He gets hits chances. There are a number of players who are very hard to defense, but they don’t get the ball thirty times a game.”

On trying to defend a big running back:
“Our defense is off to a good start, but this will be an interesting test. We’ll put Jayson Allmond at tailback some. He’s a big youngster, and we’ll see if we can’t create an environment that’s similar.”

On Stanford wideout/returner Chris Owusu:
“You’ve got to have great coverage. Good hang-time or you have to decide you have to do some other things with the kick. You kind of pick your approach and you go play. But it’s a great challenge for a coverage unit.”

On Stanford linebacker Bo McNally:
“He reminds me of a throwback, he’d play without a facemask I bet. They’ve got a crew of guys who are very assignment conscious who look like they play their heart out. These guys are very, very sound, good players. They’re not going to beat themselves.”

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Neuheisel On:

On Thursday’s practice:
“I’m very excited about the way we practiced today. This is what we needed. I feel much better about the week, and very excited to practice Sunday. We’re 0-0, we start a new season, and we’re eager to get off to a good start.”

On winning the Pac-10:
“When you’re at UCLA, and you walk into a hall of fame that has 103 national championship trophies, you can’t become part of that scene until you win a Pac-10 championship. That season starts this next weekend.”

On Christian Ramirez’ recovery:
“We had him in a little scrimmage, got him some live action there at the end, and I hope he’s ok. He got up a little hobbled there. He’s got to start playing through that.”

On Gavin Ketchum’s recovery:
“He’s getting there. It’s been a while. He doesn’t seem right now willing to explode out of it. But that’s why this bye week is so important.”

On Kevin Prince losing weight with a broken jaw:
“He’s a put together kid. He’s been working out. He’s been running. He’ll be fine.”

On the battle at cornerback with Aaron Hester down:
“Sheldon Price is now competing, and Courtney has to win that job back from him. Sheldon has had the job. We’ll have plenty more opportunities the next couple weeks to see who’s ready to play.”

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Neuheisel On:

On today’s practice:
“A little sluggish today. Defensively we played OK, but offensively we were sluggish. Hot day, not a game this weekend – probably to be expected. I’m disappointed by it, because I talked about those things and we didn’t get what I wanted.”

On the team regressing or staying the same:
“We stayed the same, and we can’t afford to do that. We’re not in a position as a program to stay the same. Coaches and players alike really have to come out here with a plan to get better. I don’t think we got there today. I don’t think it was a resistance; the focus wasn’t there. I don’t fault the effort, it was the focus. The bottom line is, we have to be better than that.”

On how this team is 3-0 after last year:
“We’re playing better football. We have a little bit of a running game. We’ve got better protection. We’re not turning it over as much. Still, we can make huge improvements in all those areas. And we’re playing great defense and causing turnovers.”

On how last year’s team went 4-8:
“Last year’s team was hit by a lot of adversity. We lost two senior quarterbacks in spring ball, several offensive linemen before we even took the field. It was going to be hard. First quarter of first game, we lost three seniors for extended time. Kyle Bosworth in the second game. We had some adversity, and we grew from it, even though the record may not indicate.”

On the four suspended players working to earn their jobs back:
“Hopefully they feel some measure of responsibility that they left their team down and that they owe great effort to get their spots back.”

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