Neuheisel on Thursday's Practice

Head Coach Rick Neuheisel spoke after practice Thursday about starting preparation for the Tennessee game, the younger players who will definitely suit up for the game, the state of the offensive line and Micah Kia, and more...

Opening comments by Rick Neuheisel:

"I thought it was a very good practice today. Both sides of the ball improved. As I said to the demonstration players, it's the best I've ever seen for the first days of scouts. It's a credit to everyone involved, the players and coaches alike. It was really well done. So if we can get some more of it and improve from this point, then we'll have a chance to be a team or at least be the best we can be."

Was the intensity any higher with the Tennessee stuff being implemented?

"I felt was. Our guys came out with great energy considering they've just come off of two-a-days."

Have you made any decisions on the redshirts?

"I don't know if those decisions are ever ironclad. I think you make those decisions on who's your depth chart when you begin and things evolve. We made some decisions as to who's going to be in the Tennessee game. Aundre Dean at the tailback spot. We're going to keep Cory Harkey up. We're going to keep both NelsonRosario and Antwon Moutra up. On defense we're got Rahim Moore, we're got Tony Dye, we're got Sean Westgate, Datone Jones and Aaron Hester."

So no E.J. Woods?

"Not right now. He missed some time with the concussion but it doesn't mean we're writing him off for the season. This is just in terms of the Tennessee game plan right now."

Do you feel any closer to settling on an offensive line?

"We're hoping that we're going to get some improvement from Micah Kia and see if we can get him back early next week. We're working as a group right now that's set in the event that we don't get him back."

Other than the tackle spot, the other positions are set?

"I hesitate to say that. Let me get through the weekend. I know Marc Dellins is going to turn out a depth chart but we reserve the right to mix and match."

What's your philosophy on what days a player needs to practice to be able to play on Saturday games?

"It depends on the player. From my experience in the past is that you don't get much from guys that don't practice. But there are exceptions to that given the competitiveness of the guy that you're talking about and the experience level of the guy you're talking about. I just came from a league where guys do very little during the week and then go out and do great things on the weekend. I don't have a policy per se. But obviously we'd love for them to be practicing by Wednesday to be participating in Saturday's game."

Are you close to settling on a kicker for kick-offs?

"I think Jimmy Rotstein is leading that contest but we'll wait and see. "

Same with kick returns?

"Right now Terrence Austin on kick-off return and punt-return. There's two guys back (for kick-return). The other guy will be Raymond Carter."

What's the situation with Taylor Embree?

"He was in 7-on-7 today. Tomorrow we're going to go in shorts in anticipation of Saturday's scrimmage. Then Saturday we're going to give him a few reps."

Are you looking for him to red-shirt?

"No, no, no. We're looking for him to play."

Scrimmaging at the Rose Bowl on Saturday?

"It's kind of a dress rehearsal. Getting used to the surroundings for the new guys so they're not doing that on Monday night."

Who's going to be upstairs and who's going to be downstairs during games?

"Norm (Chow) is going to be up. We'll have some interns charting things for him. Chuck (Bullough) and Tim (Hauck) are also up. We haven't settled on the second offensive coach that'll be up. That's where we're at right now."

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