Neuheisel Sunday Conference Call

Coach Rick Neuheisel answered questions from the media Sunday after watching tape of the San Nose State game, talking about the deficiences on defense and the poor third-down conversions on offense...

Q: Well, with a little time to think about it now, how do you look at this game?

RN: You know, San Jose State played very hard, very aggressively. The running game, I thought, as good, was sound. Their safeties were coming down, we tried to make some plays over the top, we got two pass interference penalties and one big play, probably could have done some more. The only thing that kept us from being more prolific offensively was our lack of production on third down. That was the most disappointing thing from the game offensively, that we didn't do as well as we have worked and needed to be on third down. It was everybody taking a turn in terms of the reasons why. It wasn't any one thing. But that's certainly going to be better as we try to control the ball and pound away. But, fortunately, at the end of the game we were able to slug it out and regain control.

Defensively, we still need to play faster. We're still a little bit cautious. Tackling was better. On the plus side, we had two turnovers, caused two turnovers, both were in sudden change situations where the momentum had swung to them and we went out there and wrestled it back, so I was pleased with that. I think three carries were over 100 yards of their rushing total and that was just us not being in the right gap. We can fix that quickly. Overall I'm encouraged by the effort defensively. We've got to continue to have competition, make sure that guys understand that to be in there they have to do things right and we'll continue to create opportunities for other people to keep winning more and more playing time.

Q: You mentioned at the end of the game you started slugging it out. Was there some thought given earlier in the game to do that, to pound on them?

RN: Well, yeah, we wanted to do that. And we had some success. But we kept seeing some chances downfield and unfortunately were not able to capitalize. For us to be what we want to be we have to be able to make some big plays, and we also have to be able to take what they give us. You know, we were 12 of 23 and by my count after watching the film should never have been anything less than 17 of 23, just doing things that are simple, not things that they took away from us but things we just didn't hit and if you do that, the game is a much different game because you're out there longer and you can start to wear things down. But that's what we have to learn about who we are and the efficiency of doing little things right.

Q: Was Kevin (Prince) available last night?

RN: Yeah, he absolutely was. But I didn't see a need to make that change, especially given that he hadn't had a whole bunch of practice and was nursing a sore shoulder.

Q: Obviously, there's a lot of newness this year and I don't want to say excuses, but has the time past for the newness to be new?

RN: Well, I think you're exactly right. I don't know that we've been making that excuse, but, yeah, there's no room for excuses.

Q: You mentioned competition, is there now competition at center or will (Kai) Maiava go right back in?

RN: There will be competition. That's not to say that we don't have a great deal of confidence in Kai, but Greg Capella had a great game. But that also means Capella might be competing at a guard, and Kai … you know, we've got a nice problem now with Jeff Baca back in the fold.

Q: But Kai doesn't automatically go back in …

RN: No, nothing is automatic.

Q:What did you think about Baca and his return?

RN: You know, I thought he was good. He's a little sore from his first action back but other than the holding call I thought he was terrific and the holding call was, you can see why it was called, but it was one of those things that he didn't need to do. The play, his block already was effective and I think he was just trying to finish and didn't need to so he'll learn from that.

Q: How is Jeff Locke? He didn't seem up to his usual standards last night?

RN: You know, I would be concerned if it weren't Jeff Locke. Jeff Locke is a proven guy and I think he'll respond and come back and be the guy we all have come to really enjoy.

Q: Did you come out of the game healthy?

RN: We came out of the game healthy. There were a couple dings, but nothing that is going to keep anybody out of practice.

Q: When do you expect to get Glenn Love back?

RN: This week.

Q: Tuesday?

RN: Yeah, absolutely.

Q: What do you think needs to happen, you mentioned that you weren't playing fast on defense, what needs to happen before you guys can play faster?

RN: They have to, when they see the ball, to just go. You can't continue to play without urgency and I don't know what it is, whether it's inexperience or what have you, but we have to go. You have to see it and go and we're going to work hard on that this week.

Q: Who is with the first team at quarterback on Tuesday?

RN: Uh, not sure. But both will be ready this weekend. I'm not going to name anybody, I'm going to just have both available.

Q: Available for the game or available this week in practice?

RN: Both.

Q: Have you got a start on Texas prep yet?

RN: We've done the preliminary stuff and certainly we'll work more on it tonight, but excited about playing a great university like Texas.

Q: Rick, you decided not to do your normal postgame talk to the crowd. Why was that?

RN: It's become a distraction. As soon as you guys started asking about it, I said, this is ridiculous because it wasn't meant to be a publicity deal, it wasn't meant to be anything about that. I love the Bruin fans and wanted to share my thoughts with them and had no problem doing that whether we won or lost but when it became an issue and it was going to be talked about in the media, it was no longer worth that. It needs to be something that is just between them and I and it became a media deal, the perception of what it was all about became something that I didn't want to deal with anymore so we'll do it whenever we feel the need to.

Bruin Report Online Top Stories