Neuheisel on Sunday Morning

On the first day of two practices, Head Coach Rick Neuheisel talked after Sunday morning's session, providing a little update on Ben Olson, the performance of the other quarterbacks, some positional moves on the offensive line, and more...

Rick Neuheisel spoke to the media right after the morning practice Sunday.

Opening comments:

"I thought that it was a great practice, especially given the fact that we practiced up until seven o'clock last night. To be able to come out here at nine in the morning and put forth the effort that they did, I was pleased. I'm excited about that. With respect to Ben Olson, they took some more X-rays this morning so we will have some conclusive news for you here later today. We're going to try and remain as optimistic as we can but we'll have to wait and see. We'll know more this afternoon...But again, I was real pleased with the effort today and we're getting better."

On Kevin Craft and Chris Forcier:

"I thought that they played really well today. Both gave up an interception in these two-minute drills, which is great by our defense because they were kind of both off of tip balls. We're going to have to win the turnover game if we're going to be a successful football team, so that was excellent to see the defense play like that. But I thought both those kids did a nice job. And Osaar Rasshan is coming along. With the prospect of Ben maybe not being available, you can see some heightened intensity by all these young kids. At the quarterback position, everybody's understanding that. ‘Holy cow, this could really happen where I can be in there.' When that happens, it's amazing how the light turns on and people start really focusing. I watched Pete Carroll last night on television talking about all their quarterbacks getting their chance because their guy is dinged a little bit, and exactly the same thing is happening here. It shouldn't take that to happen but it's amazing what that does."

On mobility of quarterback:

"Well, you'd love the guy to be able to make plays with his legs. And the truth of the matter is all of the other guys (can make plays). Ben would have probably been fifth or sixth of the six guys in terms of ability in getting out of the way of people. Ben had all the experience and certainly is a gifted player, but these kids can all move. The key is not to move before you have to and not to get jittery and all that stuff. So, we'll just have to wait and see whose got the most presence if it comes to that. We'll have to see how Ben is."

On Kahlil Bell:

"Kahlil is going great. I could not be any more happy with his progress thus far. We're going to rest him this afternoon, precautionary. I like where we are with him. He's seeing the reads and he's giving great leadership. He's a real leader on this football team."

On Aundre Dean: "You know what happens is you get sometimes stuck. Like Aundre has been a little bit unlucky where the fumbled snap was his rep, and all of a sudden we move the next guy in. You got to be careful that you're not playing favorites when you've got a bunch of young guys you've promised opportunity to. But eventually everybody understands we're going to have to make some decisions and when we divide into scout teams, then we'll see who will play on Saturdays and who will be more in a role of waiting for another team. I think he has been terrific."

On the young players:

"I really am pleased with all of them. If you stop to evaluate our young talent - Aundre (Dean) being a cornerstone of that - there's a lot of good guys making plays. You saw Jerry Johnson make a play yesterday, Antwon Moutra has made plays, Nelson Rosario is a smooth looking guy. And then go through all four tailbacks, all of them have shown the promise to be here. And that's a good evaluation by our staff and the guys that were here before me, Karl (Dorrell) and his guys. This is the kind of recruiting class that UCLA is going to need to get over and over and over again to get back to where we want to be."

On having four freshman running backs and the possibity of moving one to another position:

"Yeah, but there's no need to do that yet. Eventually you want to get your best 22 out there, so we'll sit and fix and mix and match. It's the wrong move to move too early because then young people don't think you gave them a real chance. We're not in a dire straight right now where we have to do that."

On Kevin Craft possibly stepping in for Ben Olson:

"I think it would be easier for us to slide him in there given that he's taken a lot of reps and we feel comfortable with (him). He's a little older but he's got to prove it, and Osaar and Chris Forcier are going to be next to say, ‘No I'm the better prospect.' Part of it's leadership, part of it's knowing what you're doing. There's a lot of moxey that goes into a quarterback that doesn't necessarily show on the stat sheet." On how Osaar Rasshan gets back in the quarterback competition:

"By being patient and by not going in the tank. Frankly, it's a great story of being understanding that this might not be your time, coaches have to make decisions, but all of a sudden your time shows up again, and instead of wasting your times and going in the tank, you stayed positive and stayed ready. So we'll see if he can do that."

On the defense:

"I think they're off to a good start. Now we have to get them all back. Brian Price needs to get back on the field, Jerzy Siewierski was back today. I don't know that Jerzy will practice tonight, I think they're being careful because of the dehydration. But we're going to get there. I like our defense."

Progress of offensive line:

"Good. We moved Nate Chandler today. Nate was at right tackle and we'll see if he can do that. It gives us a chance to get (Nick) Ekbatani back inside as we get (Scott) Glicksberg back. Glicks was back out there practicing again which was great to see. But we're kind of creating some depth. You noticed Jake Dean playing some guard yesterday with Kai Maiava playing center just so we can mix and match because we know we don't have a full slate of bodies."

On Brian Price's return:

"Waiting for the doctors. I think soon. It may have been a slight concussion. But they're being careful. He's one of those guys we know who can play so it gives a chance to gain some depth and practice some depth."

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