Monday Press Conference

Head Coach Karl Dorrell addressed the media Monday, answering questions about the Oklahoma State game, the defense, Drew Olson, and the status of key injured players like Justin London. A player is moved to the defensive line...

Perhaps the biggest news Monday was the move of injured offensive guard Eyoseph Efseaff to defensive taclke. Efseaff has been wearing a blue, defensive jersey for a week, while still being unable to practice fully due to a groin injury.

"If Eyoseph can practice, we're going to move him to defensive line, to see if he can help us in that area," Head Coach Karl Dorrell said Monday.

Efseaff, who is 6-3 and 314 pounds, hasn't played defensive tackle since high school. But Efseaff is the strongest player on the team, according to Dorell, and with UCLA's defensive front getting physically moved off the line of scrimmage Saturday against Oklahoma State it's thought that Efseaff could provide some much needed muscle.

Reportedly Efseaff was very receptive to the move.

Dorrell addressed the media Monday afternoon:

Opening Statement:

"Saturday's game was definitely disappointed. Our staff looked at the tape, and there were some great opportunities that could have changed the outcome of the game, offensively, that we talked about at the end of the game. The turnovers we had, if we just did a little bit better in that area of taking care of the football, we could have scored a lot more points and had positive results. The defense sometimes struggled in the first half, but I was encouraged with what they did in the second half. We did some adjustments at halftime that was very effective. They had a couple of plays on us in the second half, but for the most part, they scored three points on us in the second half and it was good to see some progress on that side of the ball. We're still very young on that line, on that defensive front, with some new players. Those things will get worked on in terms of getting that experience, and technique and work. We hope they'll be a little bit better for us this week. We're going to play another challenging offense in Illinois. A lot of experience. Four offensive linemen are back. Their quarterback is back for his sixth year. He completed 16 of 18 passes in their win last week and looked very sharp. They have some good running backs, the same backs that played against us last year, and a good group of receivers. So it will be another great challenge for our defense to makes steps of improvement and in moving forward, and for us to be successful this week. I know offensively we're excited about moving forward and taking the next step further from last week. We had success with production. We're going to take care of those issues with the turnovers, addressing the ball security issues. But we feel real good about the progress we made last week, and we're ready to make those next few steps this week."

Is there a chance Justin London plays this week?

"He does have a chance to play. He worked out both Sunday and today. He ran around and did some things with our training staff. So we're encouraged with what his possibilities are. He still needs to practice and do those things so I don't want to get too excited too early. But he does have an opportunity."

How much did you notice that your team missed him defensively?

"He's the guy that controls the front. He's the guy that makes all the linebacker adjustments and line adjustments with the defensive line and the linebackers being coordinated. That's a leadership position, that middle linebacker position. He makes the signal calls for our defense. It will be good to get him back."

What is the status of Spencer Havner and Jarrad Page?

"Spencer just had a shoulder sprain. We didn't think it was anything more than that. He came back in the second half. He played very, very well. He got the feeling back in his arm and he played pretty effectively in the second half. Jarrad has a bruised heel that is still affecting him now. He may not even practice tomorrow. We're going to give him some time to get the swelling down and get some of the soreness out of there. We're shooting for him to get going on Wednesday."

How do you think your offensive line played when you looked at the film?

"Very well. Very well. It was a very positive contrast from what it was the last time we played. We had no sacks, we ran the ball very effectively. We did a nice job in our run game, to allow Manuel White to have a very productive game for us. It was great start for that offensive line."

What was your opinion of Drew Olson's performance?

"Drew was solid. He can get a lot better. He missed some opportunities, when we had the chance to make some bigger plays. He chose the conservative route, hit the backs when the backs made ten to 12 yards, which is good. As he gets more familiar and as the season unfolds, he'll sharpen up and do some great things. I was very encouraged for what his start was for us."

Did you intentionally try to run more in the second half to keep OSU's offense off the field?

"There was an efffort to generate offense, both to be effective in giving our defense some rest and also for us to continue the continuity with what we do offensively, to balance both our rushing and our throwing. Those are things we'll continue to do as we work throughout this season. When your offense is good it takes advantage of opportunities in both of those areas and we thought we had effectiveness running the football."

If Kyle Morgan gets better from a health standpoint, could he start this week?

"That's a good question. The opportunity to start is there for him. He's still probably not 100%. He's probably 90%. He's not full speed, both he and Brigham (Harwell). They played some in the game, and that was a good sign for them to play. But they need to make the next step. We think they're about 90% right now. They're not quite 100% and we're going to feed them slowly back into the process."

If he can get back to 95%, will you move Justin Hickman inside?

"Hickman's best position is end. We're going to keep him at end. We're going to survive with who we have inside right now. We'll get C.J. Niusulu back as soon as we can. We had some good young players that did some good things in the game. Kenneth Lombard played well for his first game. It was a great experience for him to go through and play. Noah Sutherland did some good things. Those guys will work from this past week's game and they'll play better this week."

When you looked at how the defense got beat, was it missed assignments or just getting physically beat?

"It was both. There were some assignments when we didn't quite get the calls of an adjustment that happen in the course of a game. And there were some that we just got beat. They had a great blocking scheme, guys blocked, and they made a big play. That's football. That's going to happen. That's why we see plays go for a distance. Our job is to do a better job with our assignments and then eventually start winning those battles when you get those one-on-one battles and defeating the block. That was a very experienced offensive line that we played against. It was a good test for our young players that played, a first taste of college football. They'll have a better expectation going into this one."

What do you think of Illinois's offensive line?

"They're good. Four of five returners are back. They're a very active line, and they do a very good job of protecting their quarterback. They had a couple of good young backs that are sophomores that do a good job in the rushing department, too. They're a very balanced offense, much like ourselves."

Is there any change in the status of Niusulu?

"His status is he's out. He's still the same. He still has the stiches from his surgery, and that's not going to be removed until tomorrow. Then the swelling has to go down before he gets his rehab."

Is there any chance for him to play in the Washington game?

"There's a chance. I think we have to update these guys, particularly in his case, week by week, just to see how the progress is made from post-op."

And Kevin Harbour still looks like early October?

"Harbour looks like early October. He's running now, which is encouraging. He's ahead of schedule in that department. He seems to be a fast healer. He wants to do more than what the doctor is prescribing for him to do. So, those are all good signs."

Is there any chance he come back earlier, maybe for Washington?

"I don't think so. I think he's at least another three or four weeks. At the earliest, maybe San Diego State."

On your d-line, did you see some of your youngsters make progress? Did you see them start to win some of the battles?

"I did. When we simplified what we were doing defensively, and allowed them to attack the offensive front, there was some effectiveness in doing that. So that was a big step that those guys made in the second half that was encouraging. And we'll continue to keep that process going, from that standpoint. Not let them have too many options as to what adjustments they need to make and let them play."

How was the play of your wide receivers. Was their timing there?

"The timing was there. We're trying to encourage more plays this week, with those guys stepping up and doing more things for us. They didn't have many opportunities. We threw the ball to all of our skill players, and that's what this offense is. We utilize all of them. And it was good to see Tab Perry get his feet wet and play again. We'll increase his role as we move forward. Craig Bragg made some plays. Junior Taylor had the opportunity to make some plays. So that's an area we'll continue to work with. It's a young group, with some of the guys behind that top group. Those guys will continue to get better as we build the offense week to week."

Is there a chance that Tab could be moved over to split end?

"Not at this time. He still has a lot of growing to do in our offense. It's not fair to move him to a different spot until he knew what he was doing. There is going to be a time when those guys are interchangeable. We just got Tab back, and he was playing in a particular role for us, and he didn't know what his situation would be. Now that we know what it is, we'll intensify and increase that role."

Does he not know the entire offense, but just knew the game plan for the week?

"That's okay, if he just knows the game plan each week I'm in good shape."

But you said the other day he can't run the whole offense, but he just needs to be able to understand that week... "He missed a lot of time, in terms of the building blocks of the offense. He's catching up from that part. But this is actually a good stage for him. You don't utilize everything in your play book in any given week. He's learning the playbook but probably at a different pace or different methodology. He's learned it from game planning. He'll catch up from that method."

Is there going to be a difference this week in preparing for the game because of the time difference and the time of the game?

"We'll have to get up a little earlier toward the end of this week. We're going to practice Thursday in the morning. We're leaving Thursday afternoon. Then we'll do some work Friday early in the day to get ourselves ready to play for a Saturday morning game."

Did anyone stand out on the offensive line?

"They played really solid. The one I would single out was Mike McCloskey. He's the quiet captain of this team, and he leads that front. He's the guy who played a great game, a guy who missed the whole spring, with the ailment that he's had. He came in and played as good a game as he's played in his career. Steven Vieira played well at strong guard. Paul Mociler played well at strong tackle. Robert Cleary, who just started for the first time in his career, played very effectively. Ed Blanton played well at the weak tackle. So I'm very encouraged with the start of our offensive line and what they've done."

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