Wednesday Practice, Toledo Comments

UCLA heads into a huge game against OSU relatively healthy, and Head Coach Bob Toledo comments about the offensive execution, especially in the redzone, and about the Beavers...

Injuries

-- Fullback Ed Ieremia-Stansbury practiced with a brace on his ankle Wednesday. Head Coach Bob Toledo said he expected him to be able to start Saturday, but the decision would be made last night.

-- Mike Seidman has a hip pointer. He practiced and is expected to play.

-- Jason Stephens suffered a hip pointer in practice Wednesday. After practice the extent of the injury was uncertain but it was generally assumed it wasn't very serious.

-- Whether right tackle Mike Saffer plays will be a game-time decision. He'll get treatment all week and the UCLA coaches we'll see how he moves on the Oregon State Astroturf.


Comments from Coach Toledo…

On whether there is extra incentive for the team to beat Oregon State given the two losses the last two years…

"I don't think there's ever extra incentive. If you have goals, and one of your goals is to win a Pac-10 championship, right now this is the biggest game of the year, and the team is looking at it the same way. There have only been four teams in this conference that have gone undefeated and won the conference. We were the last one a couple of years ago. But you can't lose one game, because you get behind the eight ball. If we want to reach any of our goals, just like Oregon State does, we have to win the game."

On whether this will be a real test for the defense and will it tell Toledo something about his defensive unit…

"I think I know a lot about it right now. I think they're pretty good. They're big, strong, and physical . They're good athletes, and I think we're doing a good job of coaching them. And I think we'll play well. But I will say this, I think we're playing the most difficult offense we've played, because they can do both things equally well. They can throw the ball well and run the ball well."

On what to expect from OSU standout cornerback Dennis Weathersby…

"He's done different things. He's played the boundary corner. He's flip flopped. He's going to be at one of the corners and we're not sure which one. He'll probably be at the boundary. That's what he's done most of the time. So, he'll probably be on Poli-Dixon more than anybody."

On how play calling changes because of the type of team you have…

"You have a plan going into the game, and you try to stick to that plan. If your defense is playing extremely well, there are less chances that you have to take on offense. The feeling around here for a while has been that we have to score every time we get the ball. So there's always pressure on the offense to score a lot of points. We averaged 30 points a game last year and were losing. We scored 38 last year against Oregon State last year and lost the football game, so that tells you something right there. We had three games last year where we scored a lot of points and lost. The point is, when you're playing good defense, it affords you the option or the ability to not have to take a lot of chances. A great example is last week. It's third and seven and I got in the shotgun and ran a draw. Everyone in the stadium booed me, but I don't care. That's just good football. We didn't make it and we punted. We didn't throw an interception. We didn't stop the clock. We played sound football. We didn't have to take a chance because they hadn't scored all game on our defense and I didn't think they were going to score."

On controlling possesion through running the ball…

"That's why we're probably 3-0 right now, to be honest with you. We're trying to run the ball, trying to be physical. And as bas as we've been [on offense], we've had the ball for over 32 minutes a game. We had the ball more than Ohio State. So, ball control, ball possession. First downs is a big thing for us this year. That's not to say we're not going to throw the ball. We threw the ball 26 times. If you look at it, we fumbled the ball seven times, and that takes away a lot of snaps, and a lot of possessions, which ultimately results in points. We missed two field goals. My biggest concern right now is the red zone. We haven't been very efficient in the red zone. We had a big discussion this morning, we've talked about it, we have to decide more today, we'll have to decide again tomorrow. We need to be more efficient down there. We have not thrown the ball well down there and we need to get better.

On OSU being without its star safety, Calvin Carlyle…

"It's big. He's an excellent safety, he started against us for few years, now they have to start a freshman safety. That's a little different. There's a reason why guys start. You drop off a bit. Anytime you play an inexperience guy for an experienced guy you drop off. That will hurt them a lot. It would hurt us a lot if Saffer can't play. But you always try to take advantage of matchups. We'll do a couple of things during the course of the game to try to take advantage of it."

On OSU quarterback Jonathan Smith…

"First of all, he's a really good football player. Last year he did a great job and brought them back, and scored 23 points in the last quarter. Two years ago we were a horrible football team, particularly defense. Well, both sides. Defensively we were starting Paul Nelson at corner, Lovell Houston got his first start at safety. We had a bunch of guys beat up. They threw a few touchdowns early. And we made them look really good that day, too. To answer your question, he's good. I think we need to put some pressure on him. We need to not let him sit back there and pick us apart because he can. He's good."

On how the offense changes in the redzone…

"The field is shortened, and the defense becomes more compact. You can't get the ball deep up the field, you can't throw the ball deep, they kind of choke you a little bit. The passes we have are good passes but we're not completing them. You've got to complete them when you get down there. Run-wise, we've run okay but we need to run better. The plays itself – we sit as a offensive staff, and it's really a game plan by committee. Kelly Skipper and I call the plays but we've discussed it all and we know exactly what we're going to do. I could give you the game plan and you guys could call it for the most part. The point is, it's a different area of the field, and you have to really look at it and analyze what you're doing. And we've done that and hopefully we'll do a better job. The key is still execution."


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