Working out "the Kinks" in Practice

<b>PRACTICE REPORT</B>: The injury outlook improves with one injured player looking like he'll play Saturday. The players talk about miscues in the play-calling, and Head Coach Karl Dorrell discusses the extra punt coverage work in practice...

Personnel Report:

Tight end Marcedes Lewis practiced today in a red, no-hit jersey. Head Coach Karl Dorrell said that the coaches are counting on him to play on Saturday. Lewis said, "Oh yeah, I'm playing."

Lewis was cleared last night after seeing the team doctors. He said he felt much better even today compared to yesterday. In practice Tuesday, he was supposed to be kept out of contact, but wasn't. "I basically did everything. I was supposed to stay out of contact, but you know how (tight end) Coach Bernardi is. I can't be out for too long. He told me to do whatever I had to do to get ready. I'll keep getting treatment, and ice it, and I should be completely good by Saturday."

Lewis, J.J. Hair and offensive lineman Shane Lehmann make up the depth chart at tight end. Dorrell said that walk-on Will Peddie is not an option at this point.

Jarrad Page practiced in a red jersey due to a stiff neck. The coaches wanted to keep him out of contact until it improves.

Fullback Pat Norton was on crutches and his status hasn't changed. Dorrell said that tight end Blane Kezirian didn't practice and that his status is still day-to-day.

Matt Moore did more throwing on the side of practice in just his jersey and shorts. He threw the ball to Jason Harrison and Tab Perry, being able to drop back and plant with his knee. Moore said that he believes he'll play against Washington next week and hopes to begin practicing in pads tomorrow. "I'm preparing to play against Washington," he said. "I'm going to see a doctor right now to see if I can practice tomorrow. I feel fine. The only pain is when I'm running and at the end of the stride when I bring my foot up. I can't get it as high as the other. There's a limit to it."

Moore said he'd like to be available for this Saturday against San Diego State, at least as a potential backup if they needed him. "I think I can play. I can drop back, and I can definitely hand off the ball. But I don't think there's any way they're going to let me."

Moore, when he does play, will wear a brace on his knee similar to the ones the offensive linemen wear, but smaller.

When asked if he thought there'd be an issue about who the starting quarterback is when he returns, Moore said, "I don't know. I haven't thought about it. I'm sure I'll work in with the first team. I hope so. I just want to play. I'm sick and tired of standing out here."

Manuel White and Tyler Ebell got their fair share of reps at tailback, and Dorrell quickly added that Maurice Drew did also. "He's starting to get his feel with the offense and his confidence."

-- The coaches and the players are confident that it's just a matter of time before the offense clicks.

Moore said: "I think the offense will work, if we just execute. The players we have here are ridiculous, talent-wise. And in this offense, with all the concepts, it will work if we execute. I think you can say that we haven't executed. Our percentage of execution has been pretty low. If we go out and throw up a 90% execution, if someone was grading us, I think we'd be so effective. But we haven't put everything together yet."

Manuel White on the offense: "We're just still getting comfortable with it. So once we grasp a hold of everything our offense will be unstoppable. We just have to put everything together and we'll be allright."

White thought that he wouldn't necessarily be the staple of the offense. "We have so many weapons on this team. We'll throw it down the field, the offense will open up more and everyone will make some plays."

Moore said that some miscues with the offense have stemmed from problems in relaying the plays. "We had plays miscalled," he said. "We've had plays miscalled in the huddle, a lot of signals wrong, and that's just not people on the field but people on the sideline."

Moore confirmed that the confusion has resulted in the wrong play being run than the one actually called. "Yeah, that's happened. There's been some confusion. But that's just reps. That's just lack of experience signaling in the play. We've played three games and those are mistakes you can't have. Hopefully by the Pac-10 we'll be able to smooth out everything."

Drew Olson admitted some problems in the play relay and said that the backup quarterbacks will now be responsible for wagging the plays to the huddle, while previously the coaches had done it. "Sometimes in the middle of the game there is some confusion. For whatever reason, I don't know. We're working that out. We'll have quarterbacks giving the signals instead of the coaches now. I think that will take a little bit of the pressure off the coaches. They're on the sideline doing a lot. So they can focus more on the game plan, the plays and getting the right personnel in there."

When asked if the confusion was on the part of the players or coaches, Olson said, "Sometimes a little bit of both. It wasn't all the time and wasn't the coaches all the time. It was just confusing sometimes. It's really just been one play in the last three games, so it's definitely something we shouldn't have happen, but it's not a big deal."

-- When asked about punt coverage, Dorrell said a good chunk of practice was dedicated to it, but no personnel changes have been instituted. He said, "Nothing is settled. We're still working out the kinks. There have been no major changes from a personnel standpoint. We did more work on our punt team and we'll continue to get the work done in the next couple of days to shore up the issues we had last week. Today was very encouraging. The attitude was good and the effort was good. It was a huge step forward from what we did last Saturday."

Dorrell said that many players will be given try-outs on the punt coverage team to "get the best personnel on the field."

-- San Diego State was the team Dorrell followed growing up, being from San Diego Helix High School. In fact, Dorrell verbally committed to San Diego State and then de-committed and committed to UCLA after the Bruins offered. "I grew up watching San Diego State. They were a great team, very competitive and a good program, and still are."

-- When asked about the Aztecs' defense, Dorrell noted that they are currently ranked the #2 defensive unit in the country. He said, "They did a great job against Ohio State. They're playing with a lot of confidence and they should because they're pretty good. They do a great job of covering, and disrupting the front, and it seems like the players are doing a great job of understanding their schemes right now."

White said, "They're defense is #2 in the country and they've earned it. They do a lot of different things. We have to study tape, know what they're going to do and execute what we're going to do."


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