Perhaps it was the biggest recruiting day for the Bruins or maybe they felt good being in full pads again, but the team illustrated intense emotion and morale during Saturday's practice. It was the first of nine bowl practices and the team was in high spirits all day. However, one possible low note was when center Robert Chai had to be helped off the field and Coach Dorrell said they thought he had "tweaked" his right knee.
Other practice notes:
-- Gavin Ketch and Chase Moline both did not practice.
-- Reporters were not allowed to interview the walk-on kickers, Brian Malette and Jimmy Rotstein, per Dorrell's instructions.
-- Twenty recruits and committed recruits were on their official visits this weekend. They are:
LB Allen Bradford, Colton
DB Darian Hagan, Crenshaw
OL Micah Kia, Mililani (Hawaii)
RB Mossis Madu, Norman (Okla.)
OL Nick Ekbatani, L.A. Harbor CC
WR Terrence Austin, Long Beach Poly
RB Toby Gerhart, Norco
RB Tracy Slocum, Clovis East
RB Chane Moline,
RB Christian Ramirez, Imperial
DT Darius Savage, Morse
DE David Carter, Kaiser
DE Dylan Rush, Konawaena
OL Jake Dean,
DT Jerzy Siewierski,
OL Sean Sheller, Walnut
OL Andy Keane, Palm Springs
The only real surprise here is Troy Giddens, who is verbally committed to LSU. He participated in UCLA's spring 4-day camp and UCLA offered him shortly thereafter. He then committed to hometown LSU in August.
Karl Dorrel Post Practice Interview:
"Great practice today, you can see a lot of spirit out there. Finals are over and now they can just concentrate on football and getting ourselves ready to play a very good football game. Good practice today and we got eight more to go to get ready to play a great game."
Feeling a little rusty out there? Been a awhile...
"Ahh, it's been a little bit, but we've played some seven-on-sevens and have been running and conditioning and all that, so it wasn't like we didn't practice practice, we just didn't have any team practice like this. But I think overall things are pretty good, I think there will be a bit of a getting back in the groove with getting the pads on and getting that type of work in, but I'm very pleased with the effort today."
Is there anything about the bowl preparation that you plan on changing or tweaking from the last couple of years, things you think may have not been working?
"The biggest thing is that we want to finish with a win. I think we're going to put all our efforts into winning this game and getting ourselves to enjoy a productive and successful season in 2005. That's the most important thing and our goal is just to get ready for it and to play one more game this season and to play well and to finish up the way we are capable of playing."
How much game plan do you have in right now?
"Not much at all, just a little bit, we're really going to hone into that next week."
Is Robert Chai ok?
"He tweaked his knee. We don't think it's significant but he did hurt it which means he will miss some practice time but we'll see how the doctors evaluate it but we think he just tweaked it."
Which knee is it?
"It's his knee…does it matter which knee?"
He had surgery on one.
"Actually both knees."
"Haha, I guess it's his bad knee then. Haha…It's his right knee. Does that really matter though? I guess it does."
So Aaron Meyer is the only center right now?
"We have two, Aaron and Scott Glicksberg but Glicksberg hasn't had as many reps as Aaron. We'll be ready to go, we don't anticipate Robert to miss the game or anything like that."
What's up with center Mike McCloskey?
"His shoulder is not healthy enough to really get back into contact work so he won't be able to play as well. I know he's disappointed and its unfortunate with him being a senior and not being able to finish his career in the way he wanted to. It is unfortunate."
Is he going?
"No, he's not."
Any other injuries?
"Nope, there's nothing else to really fill up your notebook with or to rehash from two weeks ago or anything like that so we're just moving forward and trying to get ourselves ready to play a great game"
What plans do you have with the recruits tonight?
"Yeah, we have the recruits in. We're going to have dinner with the team and it will be a fun event."
How is the progress of the kickers?
"It's sporadic, for the first time. We had a pass rush for them or a kicking rush for them and they haven't had that at all since they've been here so they were a little bit nervous. But that's what we wanted them to do, we wanted to put a little fire on them now so they can get used to it two weeks from now."
Some bowl practices in the past have been used to in part get ready for the bowl but part to look ahead, is that the case here?
"No, our team needs to get a lot better period in a lot of areas so it's not just looking ahead for spring. There are a lot of young players who will be around in the spring who will benefit from this. But we're getting ready to play a game, we want to get ready to play well and to feel good about ourselves."
And a different mindset from last year?
"Not really, we didn't practice as much as we did this year as we did last year, that's probably the only difference but what's different is our attitude in going over this game. It's so much different than it has been before and we've talked a lot and feel good about the progress we've made in our program and this is just a great opportunity to finish off a very good season."
So with eight or nine bowl practices, is that enough?
"That's what we have. Most people practice from 7-15 times, it just depends on what time of the year the game ends. Remember we played a game in December when a lot of teams haven't played since November. So they've probably practiced a lot but its not like we haven't been practicing and because our of late end of season game, that still was practice time."