On playing so many freshmen:
“Part of it out of necessity and part of it is there are kids who are ready to play. I had some true freshman play in my time at both Washington and Colorado. But I’ve never had this many. That is a sign of two things; our depth is still an issue and also the quality of our recruiting class.”
On Rahim Moore:
“Rahim is one of those guys who is just gifted with a great personality. He’s one of the jokesters on the team. He has a smile on his face 24/7. He loves football and being a student. There’s no one who gets more out of life than Rahim Moore.”
On the coaching staff being perfectionists:
“When you get a chance to look at tape, there are things you can be better at. Tim Hundley, who coaches the safeties, I know while congratulating him on the award, also said that we have to put that aside for a second and look at all these things we can improve upon. Truthfully, that can be said about every kid in the program.”
On what he saw from UCLA:
“We’ve got a little bit more ability to be explosive. We’ve got some kids in the program who are going to make some big plays. Guys like Johnathan Franklin, Kevin Prince, even Richard Brehaut, who only threw two passes; we’ve got the chance to get the balls down the field. A year ago, that was all but impossible.
Now we have to just go down into being a more consistent offense.”
On his players not psyching themselves out:
“What they don’t know won’t hurt them. I thought long and hard about it during the offseason, and I don’t think you hide anything. We’re going into one of the great venues of college football. When you list the top 5 or top 10, its going to be on it. The crowd they get on a weekly basis, they’ll all be in orange, it’s going to be a vertical type of stadium, and it’s what you dream about when you’re a kid. We have to soak that up for a brief time, and then we have to forget about it and pay attention to what’s happening between the lines.”
The redshirt junior transfer sat out practice after suffering from dehydration yesterday.
After practice on Tuesday, Williams began to cramp up and after attempts to insert an intravenous fluid tube proved unsuccessful, he was taken to the hospital.
Rick Neuheisel said after practice, though, that Williams would be full go at practice tomorrow, and would still be starting on Saturday.
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.
In Monday’s weekly press conference, Rick Neuheisel said Kevin Craft would be the first one to go in if Kevin Prince went down heading into Week 1.
On his thoughts, post-scrimmage:
“It was a good scrimmage; when you get to play 60 plays and you’re eight days away from a game, and you get to thud with tired legs, it is good. I saw what I needed to see. I think the guys realized we’re not game-ready yet. I think that’s a call to arms over the weekend while they get a little rest.
“I like where we are.”
On what he wanted to see from the scrimmage:
“With so many young players, it’s about how to go inside and come back out and be ready to play. Again, we started slow as an offense. We have to learn that you don’t get a feel-out practice in games. Guys now have more of an understanding.”
On the running the first-team offense against the second-team defense and vice versa:
“We tried to get some looks we may see. It was some portion of game planning. We didn’t want our first defense not running their defense.”
On Damien Thigpen and Morrell Presley impressing him the most:
“He’s proved he’s an exciting football player. We’ll find ways to get him into the game plan. And Morrell Presley did some good things.”
On Kevin Prince’s performance:
“There were a couple balls I think he could’ve let go if. His anticipation skills I still thing can grow. But I thought he managed the game well. I was disappointed that he tried to force that screen and had that turnover.”
On Thursday’s practice:
“Obviously there is a lot to get in when you’re getting ready for a game. Dress rehearsals and so forth. You’ve got all sorts of situations to cover, especially with such a young team. (Practice) took longer than maybe I wanted, especially in this heat. It’[s stuff you got to do, and I’m glad we got it done.”
On how much of San Diego State’s game plan is installed:
“Less than 50 percent. I don’t think you put things in too early, it gets stale. But we’ll be ready, and the kids will be excited and we’ll execute it well.”
On Randall Carroll and Ricky Marvray:
“They’ve been terrific. They’ve worked hard. This is a huge culture change, from high school to college. To mature as fast as we’re asking them to do is not an easy thing to accomplish. They’re buying in, they’re asking the right questions, and there energy level is great.”
The players were indeed thankful for the reprieve from full gear, as it was sweltering. Rick Neuheisel had sympathy for his guys, particularly as practice went long by almost a half hour.
However, with the season opener only nine days away, UCLA understands it needs as much preparation as it can get.
I spoke with Norm Chow, Rick Neuheisel, Jeff Baca, Johnathan Franklin and a special guest. Stay tuned.
Rick Neuheisel knows a thing or two about the quarterback position.
He wants Kevin Prince to know a lot more than a thing or two.
“Kevin has done a great job, I just want him to be more urgent about learning what defenses do,” Neuheisel said. “So that he’s ahead of them, other than trying to catch up as the ball is snapped. You can’t play that way. It’s just him really studying it.”
On the tempo of practice:
“Especially I thought the kids worked really hard given the heat. I’m not sure what the heat is on this turf right now, but it’s warm. For the guys to work as hard as they did is encouraging. We will push forward and gear up toward Friday’s scrimmage at the Rose Bowl and see if we can’t put some nails in the depth chart at that point.”
On having a tailback-by-committee situation:
I think tailback by himself is more the exception than anything else. It’s just a hardposition to go out there and play every snap. Most teams have two, and a lot have three. We have a lot of guys who are capable of going in there and doing good things. It’s like putting another pitcher in there; it’s a changeup.
ESPN’s Ted Miller wrote about USC’s dominance in the Pac-10, and he went to Rick Neuheisel first.
Fall of Troy will take a nine-team effort