Neuheisel, Ketchum on Tuesday

Head Coach Rick Neuheisel talked more Tuesday about some of the little details the offense needs to do to succeed, the status of Patrick Cowan, and back-up quarterback Osaar Rasshan, while senior receiver Gavin Ketchum talked about spring practice after his injury...

Rick Neuheisel's comments Tuesday:

"Good spirited practice today. Some positives. I thought obviously our defense is playing very very well but a little bit of a wake-up call that our offense actually scored in what we call the overtime at the end. So they'll come back with a fever pitch and we'll be I think getting what we want on Saturday night. But I think guys are competing hard. I just need individuals to go about knowing what they're supposed to do so it's not happening so fast that they can't put their best foot forward. That was my biggest message to the team."


In terms of what?

"People not knowing what they're doing. Missed assignments. Going back there and thinking they're doing this when they should be doing that and then you tell them what the call was and they say, 'Oh, I got it.' That's just not acceptable, you can't play like that."


Do they just need to get their noses in the playbook more?

"It's thinking they know it. But it's not where they know it so well that they are picturing how it's going to work against the defense. Or it's thinking they know it and not knowing it so well they know exactly how they're going to fit it against the offensive front. It's just you think you've got it so you don't keep going. You've got to keep grinding and keep pushing at becoming an expert at your position. And that's where they've got to understand. The coaches have to make sure they get that taught."


Are we talking more on the offensive side than the defensive side?

"Yeah, more on the offensive side. It's newer."


So what's with Patrick Cowan not being able to go today?

"He tweaked his (left) knee yesterday, so I think we're precautionary today. But I don't think it's serious. He had an MRI today, but I have not heard any results. All I know is that there was very little swelling in the morning so hopefully it's going to be inconsequential."


Could he have gone today?

"He was out there in practice, so I think he could have, yeah, but we just wanted to give him today and then tomorrow being a day off, see where he is on Thursday."


How'd Ben Olson look with the first team?

"He did some good things. He's still inconsistent, and I don't know that I can say anyone's been consistent. But he was too inconsistent today for us to be effective."


When's the last time Osaar Rasshan threw a pass in 7-on-7 or a scrimmage (implying game situation)?

"Uh, I'm not sure. You'd have to go back. I know he did in the scrimmage.  He threw on Friday night."


He says he wants to play quarterback…

"Yes he does."


Do you just have to kind of live with that right now?

"Yeah, I mean, I'm not going to force guys to play other positions, but we have to get the team ready and sometimes there are not reps to get five quarterbacks reps. That is what I was worried about at the outset. You know, you've got two offensive lines, you've got two running backs, it's hard to get five quarterbacks. It's a very difficult thing. Fortunately he's been very patient and been great about it. We're just trying to divvy up the reps as we see fit. It isn't always fair but it's what we need to do to be the best team we can be."


Can you see any athleticism in Rasshan where maybe (he should switch to another position)?

"Well, my experience is putting people in places where they don't want to be is a disaster."

Comments from receiver Gavin Ketchum:

How does it feel to be out there playing again after the injury?

"Man, it feels great, after spending I don't know how many months in the weight room working out, and then coming out and just watching, it feels great to get out and run full speed. It's just nice."


How much work did you put in in the weight room? You're looking bigger...

"A lot, pretty much every day. Pretty much the schedule was, for the guys who were done for the season, as soon as stretching was over we were down in the weight room and we came back with five minutes left in practice. So every day. You can see all the guys who were hurt walking around like they're jacked."


You and Marcus (Everett) both look a lot bigger...

"Yeah, me and Marcus, that was the thing, we were pushing each other down in the weight room because we couldn't do anything else and we're so competitive. So instead of competing on the field me and him would just work out together and we'd just talk a little crap back and forth. We both got, I mean, end of the season we were both way too big. We've gotten a little smaller since then. Originally, we could only work out the upper body because I was in a boot and his foot was bugging him so we were just way unproportionate. We came down a little, but I think it's helped us and we're a bigger receiving corps because of it."


So you weren't thinking about switching to tight end?

"No, no, I don't put my hand down."


How's the new offense?

"It's not, I mean, I've done it every year. I've had to forget everything and learn it again. I know where I'm at and where I need to be. We've had a new offense every year I've been here. Some of them were more similar than others, and this one is probably the most different. But because of his (Norm Chow's) credentials I trust him."


Does it help your confidence in the offense knowing it's coming from Norm Chow? Does it help the learning process?

"It helps because there's an immediate trust so that helps. The main thing though is that it's someone who's been there before who you can kind of follow along."


More confidence than in the previous regimes?

"No, I'm not going to say that, because all those other coaches had great credentials, too. But he's been where we want to be."


Did the injury affect your speed at all?

"No. My leg's stronger now than it was before because I really focused on, in the offseason with (strength and conditioning) coach (Mike) Linn, he really focused on core strengthening and stuff. Before my core was really weak. I was kind of worried about it so I put a lot of emphasis on building my legs and my back and I guarantee you that I'm faster now than I was before."


What are the differences between Linn's techniques and Doc Kreis's?

"Their philosophies are kind of different. I don't know, it's kind of hard to answer. Doc was a good friend of mine and he was a big, I mean, look at his teams in Colorado, those were all big guys. So from a line aspect Doc was really good, in getting everyone ready and stuff. Coach Linn has just been really great because he knows a lot of the game's in your core. We did core stuff with Doc too, but coach Linn puts an extra emphasis on core stuff as well as on other aspects. He always says you have to have a good foundation to build on. That's kind of his philosophy."


Which way is harder for you?

"I don't know. At this level, it's pretty much they can all be as hard as they want to be, so I've had my days where I've been like ‘God' with both of them."

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