Dorrell Talks at Thursday Practice

Head Coach Karl Dorrell talked after Thursday's practice mostly about preparation for the scrimmage on Saturday, but also about having two experienced quarterbacks on his depth chart and the expectations of the defense for the season...

Head Coach Karl Dorrell's opening statement:

"Not really a whole lot new to report, other than going through camp and you're doing the normal camp stuff. We did some situational things today with some backed up offense and defense and some last minute plays on offense to try to score. They did those things pretty well. I know they are getting a little tired and fatigued and that's part of camp. It starts to not only physically wear on you but it's also the mental side that causes you not to want to do things a certain way when you don't feel so well. But these guys are pushing through it pretty good. It was a good hard day's work today. We'll get some good meetings tomorrow, we'll get ourselves freshened up and get ready for some special teams scrimmages and some regular offense-defense scrimmages on Saturday. So tomorrow we'll taper back a little bit and see what they can do Saturday. We're pleased with what we have been able to accomplish."

Has any decision been made about injured players participating in the scrimmage?

"We'll wait and see; that's still day-to-day. Michael Pitre is the one that comes to mind, he did the individual drills, which we wanted him to do today, and they wanted to ice him down just like he did yesterday. We may play it smart and not scrimmage him at all. He's the one guy we might just decide to sit out. The other injured guys will not be scrimmaging. You saw with the rookie period today -- we're trying to get them caught up for Saturday, so they had an extra period today. We're all looking forward to Saturday. we'll let those guys turn it loose and see if they can make some plays."

Is it a luxury having two experienced quarterbacks in camp?

"It's a pretty good luxury. It's fortunate to have two quarterbacks that have played and can engineer your offense. Both are very competitive guys and both of them want to be the guy. It's a good situation for UCLA. If you ask either one of them they think that they should be the guy, but they know that their feelings aren't more important than the team. That's what I really respect about both of them. they know it's about this team and they want to do their roles as well as they can."

What are the expectations of the defense compared to last year's?

"Same expectations. We felt we were going to surprise some people a year ago and we made a big jump. Given the experience back there are expectations they have placed on themselves about being a great defense. They get mad when the offense makes a play on them. They expect to shut them down every play and that's hard to do. But it's the attitude I like. So they have a chip on their shoulder about going out and performing and what they expect to be. We expect ourselves to be a pretty good defense."

Does it make it any easier on the fourth down scenarios knowing you have such a good defense?

I don't know if that makes it any easier. Sometimes those scenarios are real tough when you make those calls. But it is comforting to know that you have a defense that can defend well and can defend all the teams in this conference that we play. It is reassuring that we have a good backbone, but fourth down calls, it just depends on what they are and what type of game it is. You can't just put it all on the defense."

[Note: A reporter from the state of Oregon was at practice, so he asked some questions in relation to the Oregon schools.]  

What are your thoughts on Oregon?

"We expect pretty much the same type of team. They are a talented football team and they have tremendous skill. We expect the same thing again with that type of offense. And they have always had a pretty good defense. They have some really good defensive line and secondary guys. I know they had a young secondary last year, so those guys are back. They're going to be a very good football team, just like a lot of teams in this conference. That game is going to be a big, big challenge."

Oregon State?

"They had a great year. It was good to see that team really develop themselves. I think they won ten games. It was a big, big year for Oregon State. Matt Moore finished his career with a win. And they have a lot of those players back. I know they have a new quarterback, but pretty much everyone around the quarterback is back. And their defense is intact too, so they're going to be a pretty good team, just like Oregon. Both those teams are very, very strong. It's going to be a tremendous challenge for us to play up there in Corvallis."

Did it give you any satisfaction to see Matt finish strong?

"It did. I wished him well even when he left here. I'm glad that his career ended on a positive note. He's a good kid and a very competitive player, and he still has an opportunity to play at the professional level."

You had a great defensive performance with Justin Hickman and Bruce Davis dominating last year against Oregon State...

"That was last year. We don't have Justin anymore, but we still have Bruce. That was when we started to play really well, but that's all last year's stuff and that can't do anything for us now. And this team knows that we have to prove ourselves every step of the way."


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