Neuheisel Sunday Conference Call

Coach Rick Neuheisel talked Sunday night in a conference call after he watched the video of the Texas game...

Q: At this point, are you in a situation where you've really yet to have a No. 1 quarterback this season?

RN: I don't know that that's fair. I feel like I've had quarterbacks that have been ready to play and I think yesterday, we didn't have great numbers, but there were three or four times where we had to throw the ball away and there were a couple of times where we didn't catch the ball like we could have and then unfortunately we had the rough start with the three interceptions. But I thought Richard played pretty darn well yesterday.


Q: Better than previously? You did have some concerns about his play against San Jose State …

RN: Yeah, there were some mental breakdowns in the San Jose State game that troubled me, but I thought he was pretty sharp yesterday. I thought he played actually pretty darn well.


Q: Were you able to pinpoint watching the film what went down with Kevin on his interceptions?

RN: Well, the first one the pass was just a little off. I think the route could have been run better, as well. But you just hold the ball a little bit, and the DB made a great catch. That could be an incomplete pass, but the DB made a great catch. It's unfortunate. The second on was a protection issue. He needed to know what the protection called for and we had Joe Fauira open on the play, but I don't know that he had enough time to get it to him and unfortunately the ball got tipped and picked off. And the third one was just a poor choice, not the prescribed place for the ball and certainly not a good enough ball to be thrown to Taylor (Embree) on that route. Different story for all three, but at that point you're wondering about a young man's confidence and I have the luxury of another guy who is experience so that's why I made the switch.


Q: Are you're going into the week deciding which one is going to start or have you pretty much figured on Richard at this point?

RN: You know, I'm of the mind right now that Richard will get the start this week. You know, he's played well and Kevin still is nursing a sore shoulder. As a matter of fact, he had to go in for X-rays yesterday and I think they're negative, but they were concerned. And so we'll try to get Kevin back to full health and as always he'll be absolutely totally prepared and available and I look forward to continuing to have them both improve.


Q: Was that during the game he had the X-rays?

RN: Yeah, I think he went in at halftime or just before half to get looked at.


Q: Is Richard starting because Kevin is injured or because you think he deserves it?

RN: No, he deserves to play.


Q: Is it the same shoulder, the throwing shoulder for Kevin?

RN: I think that's accurate.


Q: You're saying Richard deserves to play, but is that an absolute, that he's the No. 1guy or is that just this week?

RN: We're going one week at a time. It's Oregon State week and right now Richard is going to be the starter for the Oregon State week.


Q: Did Kevin aggravate that shoulder during the game?

RN: They took him in for an X-ray. I think he felt like it was clicking, I think was the term used.


Q: What's the status for Brett Hundley at this point?

RN: Continue to develop him, see if he can be ready.


Q: Do you envision him playing this year?

RN: You know what, I'm not going to make any determinations. I want to watch him continue to get better and we'll see if there's a package for him.


Q: You're talking about a package for him. Is that kind of ruling out that he can be the guy that's out there all the time?

RN: I think that'd be asking an awful lot of him.


Q: What's holding you back from putting that package in so far?

RN: His preparation. I want to make sure that he's ready to go. It's one thing to say a guy is ready and another thing to actually to be it. I want to make sure that he's ready.


Q: You mentioned that he would meet with you about that, about playing this year or redshirting. Did you guys talk about that?

RN: He and I talk all the time and I told him I want him to work this week like he's going to be ready and then we'll determine whether or not that's the case.


Q: You guys had a tough time on third down conversions again. Is there something that's going on on that particular down that's holding you guys back?

RN: Well, yesterday there were a couple of protection issues but for the most part we protected pretty well. We've got to hang onto the ball when we get thrown to, we've got to get ourselves open and we've got to throw it accurately. It's no secret how to hit third-down passes. You've got to be open and you've got to catch it when it's thrown to you and obviously the ball has got to be thrown where you can make a play on it. It's not any one thing, we've just got to be more consistent.


Q: You were mentioning that this is the Oregon State week and Richard is the starter this week. But, I mean, is there a limit on the game just like there was the other day, that you will turn to Kevin if things are not working to your satisfaction?

RN: I think every coach in America does, when things go south for a quarterback. I mean, you guys are making this an awful big story. Richard played well against Texas and Richard is going to be the starter. I've got another quarterback that I have confidence in in Kevin and he's available and I have a youngster that I'm trying to get ready and he'll be available and we'll play it like always. It's no different than it's ever been except that Richard is going to get the first snap this week.


Q: Well, what is different is, with the exception of that first year with Kevin Craft, this is how it's been for you with quarterbacks. It's one guy in, he gets hurt. One guy in, he's maybe not doing so well. And it just seems like a constant thing. I would assume you'd like to settle at some point on a quarterback.

RN: I would love to. Most of the time it's been because of injury. Most of the time it's been because of injury and just this last week things weren't going well for Kevin so I made a decision to make a switch.


Q: Rick, were you surprised with Jeff Locke's field goal kicking?

RN: You know, surprised wouldn't be the right word. I was absolutely elated that he came through lkike he did, but I kind of expected him to.


Q: Are we going to have a kicking controversy now to go along with our quarterbacks?

RN: We'll see how Kip (Smith) is this week.


Q: What is Kip's situation?

RN: Well, they did not let him kick on Saturday. They felt his hip flexor was still too tender so they didn't even let him try. So we'll …


Q: Any exams, any medical tests to narrow down what this is? Is it a strain? Is there a bigger problem?

RN: No, it's a hip flexor, hip flexor strain. Yeah. So I'll wait and see what the trainers prescribe for him.


Q: If you expected Locke to make those field goals, why wouldn't he have been your kicker all year?

RN: Well, because, you were out at practice Adam. He went in there and wasn't very consistent. When we were struggling with Kip, he struggled as well, and I made the determination that I had a great punter and a great kickoff guy and I didn't want to mess him up. I had two inconsistent guys and I wanted to go with the guy that I recruited to be the kicker and see if I can't get him to have confidence and so forth and he responded in the San Jose State game. Unfortunately, he hurt himself. So now I was kind of limited to my options, but I knew Jeff was not afraid of the competition and I felt that Jeff would come through and I was happy that he did.


Q: Why did you stick with the run so long rather than go with the pass when you were facing such a big deficit?

RN: Well, you know, we got it down to 35-20 with still plenty of time. Unfortunately, we didn't hold them. And, at 42-20, we did try to make some throws down the field and unfortunately didn't convert. I didn't feel like we were too conservative given the time. I'm usually pretty mindful of what we need to do and how much time we have left to do it.


Q: What are your options on the offensive line now with Sean (Sheller) out?

RN: Well, the good news is we've got some guys that have played. Chris Ward went in when Sean went down and we've got Alberto (Cid) and (Greg) Capella can play any of those spots. So we'll find a combination and a rotation to make sure we play it as well as we possibly can.


Q: You came out with the no-huddle, with the Turbo package. How do you feel that went?

RN: It went fine. Uh, you know, it's always a question of what kind of impact it's having on the defense. It's a good way to play. It's up tempo and it gets going. But when we got off to the sluggish start with the interceptions, I made the determination that I wanted to slow things, see if we can right the ship. So that's why we stopped.


Q: Was it moving as quickly as you wanted it to?

RN: I'd like it to move a little faster. It's not a hurry up necessarily offense, a no-huddle offense.


Q: You sound a little more down than you did two weeks ago after Houston. Would you say that yesterday's loss was a little more deflating than the Houston loss?

RN: I'm no more down and I promise I've got all the optimism in the world that we can turn this thing, as early as this week. I'm just looking forward to playing this weekend.


Q: Abbott's condition?

RN: You know what, he's feeling better. Much better. They were careful with him last night. We'll just wait and see. I'm sure that he's in that concussion protocol. But all the X-rays were negative.


Q: That kind of weakens you at a spot you don't have a lot of numbers. Is there any chance Jamie (Graham) can be ready for this week?

RN: Doesn't look promising, so we'll have to work that up some other way.


Q: Any other injuries out of the game?

RN: Sean Sheller, who we've talked about, and Andrew were the two.


Q: Now that you're going with Richard, does that change how maybe you guys run the offense going forward, seeing that his strengths are different than Kevin's?

RN: Well, we'll just have to evaluate what is the best way to attack Oregon State. We haven't obviously done as much work on that as we need to, but obviously Richard played against them last year and I think that Richard, given the improvement that he's made, is going to play really well. I'm looking forward to watching him.


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