Monday Football Practice Report

Head Coach Rick Neuheisel said after practice Monday that the offense is coming on, having its best day so far. He spoke about the receivers and specific players. JC transfer quarterback Kevin Craft also talked to us about his transition to UCLA and spring practice...

Glenn Love, the redshirt freshman safety, had x-rays on his thumb. Results were unavailable.

Rick Neuheisel's post-practice comments:

"The best day so far for the offense, and I think a good wake-up call for our defense. Our defense has gotten used to having their way. The offense responded today and it will give our defensive coaches a good chance to get after the guys tomorrow. If we can get to a place where we have that kind of intensity on both sides of the ball, that's where our improvement rate will accelerate. It was encouraging to see what happened today. Still far too many young mistakes. Guys have to understand that we're going to have to move on without them if they don't get rid of those things. You have to be able to play with the ball in your hands, you have to be able to play onsides, those kind of things after now have to have a little bit more penalty to them. But I'm pleased. I think we have the makings of a team that can compete every weekend."

Are you trying to make sure that guys get praise?

"Well, that's how I coach anyway. If I'm going to be loud and demonstrative to make a point negative, then I want to be every bit as loud when I'm making the point positive. As a head coach you have to be careful that you don't weigh it to one side of the ball, but I'm huge on making sure how much I appreciate their efforts."

How are the receivers?

"They had their best day today. We made some plays down the field. Both Marcus Everett and Gavin Ketchum made big plays. I think Dominique Johnson is a big-time player. He needs to get more consistent. The rest of the depth needs to come to the fore. I think Terrence Austin is having a good spring, I'm excited about him. I need Jamil Turner and Ryan Graves to become guys, you know, and realize that they need to take advantage of these reps."

Offensive line?

"Better today, but we've got to develop depth. We've got to have guys on that second line pushing the front guys to have us where we want to be. It's one thing to have competition against the defense, now we've got to have internal competition. They are getting better each day but there are still far too many little, stupid things that set you back. Those guys have to understand that we're moving on without them if they don't understand the urgency."

Why were you pushing Courtney Viney?

"Just because I like him. He's just a competitive guy. There's that competitive button and when you press it you're going to get more out of him. Courtney is in that category."

Any injury issues?

"I think guys are pushing through and it's been fairly physical. It's going to get more physical as we push forward. The pre-season of spring ball is now over. We need to do some situational stuff to see who can play football."

When will you do live stuff?

"Some tomorrow afternoon. The rules allow for three regular scrimmages, and then you can have some that don't go over 50% of the practice. The first full scrimmage will be Saturday."

Any new thoughts on the quarterbacks?

"I know it's the time when we all get to talk, but it's difficult to rate them without looking at the tape. I'm seeing good things with all of them. As we get further into spring we're going to start limiting some reps, though, because we need to get a team ready to play. My hope is that we'll have a long talk Wednesday. Tomorrow will be an important day."

Are you still bummed about the basketball team?

"Disappointed. But you know what? Disappointment is probably the wrong word. I'm only disappointed because of how much they wanted it and how close they were. I think we've been spoiled around here. This team is really remarkable. To be in three straight Final Fours speaks volumes about the program. My hat is off to Ben Howland and his staff and certainly all the players. I've got my fingers crossed that they all like each other enough to come back (for another year)."

Comments by quarterback Kevin Craft:

How have the first few practices gone?

"It's going good. It's all a process right now because everyone is new to the offense. I'm new to all these guys and the offense. It's coming along slowly but we're making progress."

Is there anything during practice you're trying to focus on in particular?

"Keeping your focus the whole practice is always the goal. As far as goals for myself, just understanding the offense and being ready to play."

What's it been like to work with coach Norm Chow?

"It's been pretty good, really productive. Coach Chow does a really good job of telling us exactly what he wants. He has a really high expectation for us and I like that. We just try to go out and do everything that he says."

Have you been in this type of competition before?

"Yeah, I've been the young guy and I've been in quarterback battles, even when I was in high school. I'm not new to it. My approach is just to come out everyday and focus on myself. You can't think about anything else other than what you can do and what you can control. If you don't think like that you start beating yourself up."

So you've started classes and everything?

"Yeah, it's cool. It's good, though, because it was a long break coming from junior college and I had like three or four months off. I was driving my self crazy a little bit."

You've have a crazy year. Do you feel like things are calming down?

"Yeah, definitely. It's nice to be somewhere where you know you're going to settle and be there for a while. I'm really happy and really fortunate to be here."

Also, check out a review of practice by a message board poster, bouncepass, on the BRO Premium Football Message Board

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