Neuheisel on Thursday's Practice

Head Coach Rick Neuheisel talked about Thursday's practice and preparing for the scrimmage on Saturday, and it sounds like two quarterback have emerged as leaders for the starting job. Also, two players leave the program...

Rick Neuheisel's post-practice comments:

"It was a good practice. We broke into some red zone today. That was new, and anytime you do new things the offense is going to look like we take a step back. Hopefully they'll start to gather the new things and nothing new will go in before Saturday's scrimmage and hopefully we'll be better. But there were some good things today. I'm encouraged by how spirited our defense plays and obviously they're ahead of the offense currently. I like where we are and I'm hopeful that we'll play really, really hard on Saturday. "

How many plays are going to be in the scrimmage?

"Somewhere between 60 and 80."

Who's going to be the first quarterback taking snaps on Saturday?

"We'll have to talk about it. It'll be either Pat Cowan or Ben Olson but we'll talk about it."

Are those two guys what it's been whittled down to at this point?

"Yeah, and Kevin (Craft) and Osaar (Rasshan) and Chris (Forcier) are going to keep waiting for their chances. When they get their chances, they're going to have to make the most of them. But for our team to get better, that's where we stand."

So Pat, Ben and Kevin have separated themselves?

"I don't think that's a fair way to say it. I just think that's where we're focusing our attention right now, giving those guys chances. The competition has not ended."

What's the situation with Aleksey Lanis?

"He's just dealing with pain. He came to me and talked about a year ago when he was dealing with the spring and not getting much out of spring because he just didn't have any strength in his legs. So we're trying to keep pushing through the individual stuff but we need to count on him in the fall so hopefully he'll get a little of spring."

What's the update with Ryen Carew?

"Looks as if he tore his ACL, which is a sad thing. He was having a nice spring but we're going to let the swelling subside and let the doctors take over from here. But it wasn't good news. "Other news on the medical front, Shawn Oatis suffered another neck twinge just the other day and just being prudent, he's decided to forego playing football anymore. So he'll get a medical scholarship, at least that's our hope. But you just don't want to mess around with the neck."

When did he do that?

"That would've been late last week, maybe the Saturday practice. We talked it over and he and I had a conversation yesterday. It's just the right thing to do."

What are you seeing out of the offensive line right now?

"I'm seeing a bunch of try-hard guys that are all being asked to do things that they're unfamiliar with. There isn't a great deal of experience. You've got Micah Reed playing center- he's really not done that much. You've got (Scott) Glicksberg now playing guard- he's not done that much. You've got Darius Savage playing offense for the first time- he's not done that much. Micah Kia's in a familiar role and Sean Sheller's being asked to play with the first group, which he's never done. It's going to be putting them in the fire and let them grow up. That's the only way we're going to forge an offensive line. The same thing's going on with a lot of kids on the second front. It's going to be messy for a while. As long as they keep pushing and trying and I just have full confidence in both Norm (Chow) and Bob Palcic. We'll get a formidable front carved out of it."

How do you factor in the O-line's play when you're grading a quarterback?

"Well, certainly that's a factor in team drills but that doesn't usually factor in 7-on-7s. In team drills you have to weigh it in and what we're judging quarterbacks in that situation is decision-making. Whether or not they had the right time to make the accurate pass has to be judged as you watch the tape. If their eyes are where they should be based on the coverage and what they saw and so forth, you can make determinations as to who's further ahead."

You talked about the second front. Is that where most of the work needs to get done?

"Usually when you go to a second team and you go to a second team on defense, there's equity with their respective experience. But that's further from the truth here. We've got absolutely zero experience on offense and we've got Chase Moline on the other side, who's been a good player here. But if you're going to grow, this is a great way to grow. We can't get frustrated, just got to keep coaching them and keep coming back the next day with great attitude. And so far they've done that."

Is it too early to know if you'll pick a quarterback by the end of spring?

"Our hope is that we'll have an idea. I just think that's important."

BRO Message Board posters, bouncepass and WestwoodBob, supply Thursday's Report on Practice.

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