Sunday Call with Neuheisel

Neuheisel discusses how the defense played against Cal, how to avoid looking ahead, and Kevin Prince's play on Saturday...

Q: In the aftermath of this game, you're now headed towards a game that could put you guys in first place…

A: Yeah, we don't want to talk about that. We're going to talk about playing Arizona State and playing our best and seeing if we can't find a way to get one more point than they can.

Q: There was a lot of talk before the Arizona game (about the conference championship). Is this something you've learned out of that?

A: Yeah, I just think that our mindset needs to be on what we do, rather than what might or might not be. I think certainly we learned that lesson the hard way.

Q: Can you give us an explanation of the shirts those guys were wearing, the BTB, I guess it means burn the boats, shirts?

A: Yeah, it's an old tale told about there's no retreat. It's about Hernan Cortez having his troops ready to invade, but the first they did he told them they had to burn the boats. Now they realized there was no turning back, weren't getting off. You had to get the job done or that was it. That was the idea and that's where our football team was. We need to continue to do that. I reminded them today that the boats were still burnt.

Q: Was that your idea or one of the players?

A: It was my idea but I borrowed it probably from many coaches.

Q: I mean, to get the shirts.

A: Oh, that was my idea with the shirts, but I was also reminded that BTB could also mean "Beat the Bears" so whatever works for you, pal.

Q: When you looked at the tape last night of what you were doing defensively, what jumped out at you?

A: We flew around. We tried some different things coverage wise. Just tried to create a little bit of confusion and we're fortunate that it helped us.

Q: How important was Jeff Locke for you guys last night?

A: Huge. Huge. He hurt his shoulder. I don't think it will be a significant thing that will keep him out of action, but certainly painful. But he responded in big fashion. He was very important.

Q: Some people were questioning you punting from the 35 yard line but he made you look like a genius.

A: When your kicker is Tyler Gonzales, who's been a soccer manager early in the year, and Jeff didn't feel like he could kick. Punting, he felt much better, he didn't feel like he could make a long field goal. It made that decision much easier.

Q: What's the plan now to re-acclimate the receivers who sat out his game, and what will be Jerry Rice Jr.'s future?

A: Well, we're back closer to full strength, so we'll go back to how we do things. But certainly Jerry Rice, there's obviously that much more confidence in what he can do, and there'll be no hesitation to put him in if we need him.

Q: Any update on Dietrich Riley?

A: Everything's checked out fine. He was here today and looked great. Says he's ready to go. Now the doctors just want to be careful and look at him tomorrow. We'll see about his availability for this week. But to hear Dietrich, and to see Dietrich, you'd say he's going to be just fine.

Q: How did Nelson Rosario come back today?

A: Nelson will be fine. It was tender. More of the issues last night thank the ankle was cramping.

Q: What happens at guard now with the way Wade Yandall played?

A: Wade played really well, so we'll have great competition between he and Alberto Cid this week. And with Chris Ward getting back, we'll have Chris Ward competing with Greg Capella, who also played very well. It'll be nice to have that kind of competition inside, make us better.

Q: How'd this weekend go for you as opposed to last weekend?

A: This was more fun, I guarantee you. Still lots to do, and we can't sit and…As I've told the team, we've lost four times this year and we've responded each time. We've won three times prior to this time, and we've come and not done the job the next week, so what's going to be different about this week is our effort and our attitude. We've got to make sure we stay focused on the task at hand which is Arizona State.

Q: How do you keep your guys' minds off the fact that this has such implications in the south division?

A: I think we have seen what can happen if you don't focus on the blocking and the tackling. It can get away from you quickly and so that's where our mindset will be.

Q: Is there any thought to moving Datone Jones inside more permanently?

A: We'll continue to evaluate it to see what our best personnel group is for the particular circumstance, but we like the ability to move people around. No question about it. You can find matchup advantages that way.

Q: In some ways, is he more suited for the inside with the weight he's put on?

A: I think he can play both. Again it gets down to where is the best matchup as it relates not only to his personal matchup but also the other ones that you create by putting him there.

Q: How did Kevin come through the day after that beating he took running the ball?

A: He was great. He said he was tired last night, but no worse for wear today. That was good to see. Obviously we needed it. Hopefully we can continue to utilize him how we've always wanted to as a runner.

Q: With the way Arizona State plays, do you think the opportunity to dangle him out there won't be as great?

A: Well, I don't know. I haven't studied them as thoroughly as I'd like to, so that will remain to be seen. We know for our offense to be effective, we've got to have a quarterback threat.

Q: Does Vontaze Burfict specifically change the game plan for running the quarterback?

A: He's obviously a hugely talented player and very fast from sideline to sideline. Obviously that needs to be taken into account as you're designing your plays. But if you can get somebody on him, then obviously you have a chance. We had a decent offensive day against them a year ago. We struggled defensively, and they scored a lot of points. But offensively we were able to muster up, I think, over 30 points, so I'm excited about playing them. We understand that they're talented. Burfict is one of the most talented players in the country so we'll have to account for him.

Q: What's different with this one game approach as opposed to before when you were talking about the conference race?

A: Day to day basis, nothing. It's just where your mindset is. If you're thinking ahead and hoping for things that are the prizes, then you're focusing on the wrong thing. You've got to focus on the task. If you take care of the task, everything else will take care of itself. Nobody's to blame but me for talking about it. I'm not going to make that mistake again.

Q: Did you learn anything about your team last night?

A: Well, I learned something that I kind of always knew, which is that there is character in this program and there is resolve and there's toughness. We showed a little of that last night and now we need to continue to show it because as I told them last night, there's good news and there's better news. The good news is we took care of business last night, the better news is that we get to do it again. And anything less than that kind of effort would be a failure on our parts. So we've got to bring it, and bring it in that same way, and that's what I'll be looking forward to watching as we practice on Tuesday and Wednesday as we anticipate this big game against ASU.

Q: Is it safe to say Brett Hundley won't be used except in emergency situations?

A: Yeah, I mean, I've said all along I'm not going to commit to playing him until it's merited. Kevin Prince played like I hoped he would and so I like the way things are going. Richard Brehaut's healing, so we'll see when we get him back. But Brett is taking advantage of these weeks where he is getting the second team reps and he's improving daily so I'm excited about him. I'm not ruling him out because he may need to go into the game, but I'm not going to commit to saying he's going to have a package or anything like that.

Q: Any update on Brehaut?

A: Richard's going to have an x-ray again tomorrow. We'll see exactly where he is as we anticipate this week. But he's certainly closer than I think we previously thought.

Q: Not much of a chance of him being ready this week though, right?

A: I'm not going to say one way or the other until I find out what the x-ray says.

Q: Any chance you're going to get Alex Mascarenas back?


A: I don't know. We want that to be a very safe decision made by not only doctors but also by family. Right now, I would term that as, at best, questionable.

Q: So no Sunday parades planned after this one?

A: No, no parades. Parades to the film. Let's get on to the next one and see if we can't fight again.

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