Thursday Practice; Neuheisel Comments

With a good-sized scrimmage on Friday, the Bruins practiced in just shorts and helmets Thursday, and Coach Rick Neuheisel talked about the improved tempo and trying to promote competition for starting spots, while a NFL Pro Bowler attended practice and talked to the players...

The Bruins had a light workout in helmets and shorts on Thursday in advance of an 80-plus play scrimmage Friday, but it was executed for the most part at a nice tempo.

There was more work within the two-minute offense, a lot of individual work. Tailback Christian Ramirez, who has missed most of the spring because of a strained left hamstring, was able to get in for a few plays during a team period. Chris Forcier did some work at receiver, though not without problems; he ran the wrong route on one play, and had a pass stripped from his grasp on another.

There was also a scare late in the session when freshman tight end Morrell Presley went down during the two-minute drill. He hobbled off the field with trainers, but it turned out to be nothing more than a cramp. Presley, Coach Rick Neuheisel said, took some ribbing over that.

Some interesting visitors to practice included NFL tight end Tony Gonzalez, who was a guest of Jon Embree, the former UCLA and Kansas City Chief s tight ends coach.

Gonzalez spoke with a group of players after practice.

Three of UCLA's committed recruits for 2009 -- Ricky Marvray, Randall Carroll and Stanjarivus McKay -- also attended practice. Marvray stood out on the practice field -- and the Bruins could use about 60 more athletes that look like that.

Among the 2010 recruits in attendance was receiver Robert Woods from Gardena Serra High.

Neuheisel's Comments

Opening statement:

"The NCAA requires three days of shorts in your spring drills and the first two have to be shorts so obviously we had to find a third spot and this is the day we chose because we have a scrimmage tomorrow. But I love the enthusiasm and the quick tempo we got today. We'll get better if we practice at that tempo and that's what I was trying to make sure they understood and hopefully they'll come with the same kind of enthusiasm for tomorrow. We need to practice and scrimmage at this kind of emotional high, so hopefully we'll get that done tomorrow and head into the last week of spring ball excited about our progress."

Presley went down...

"Cramp. Just a cramp. That's why we made fun of him at the end. The heat must have been too much."

What's the plan for the scrimmage tomorrow?

"You know, probably a little bit more than last time. We had probably 60 some odd plays between the 1s and 2s. When you added the 3s into it, it got into 78, 79, I think was the number. We'll try to go a few more than that and we'll also move the ball into the red zone to force some red zone scrimmaging. We'll be on the grass again."

Will Christian Ramirez participate?

"Doubtful. I just want to get his conditioning back up to snuff before we do that, but hopefully for the spring game."

Rahim Moore was with the 2s on Tuesday, but was back with the 1s today...

"We're trying to create some competition back there. Tony Dye is really working hard. Glenn Love, Rahim, those three are all good players. We're trying to get E.J. Woods up to speed in that group, too. The more we can create everyone having to earn their spots the better off we'll all be."

Micah Kia sat out today...

"I'm told precautionary, but they're going to do some tests. He's still got that low back pain that has plagued him throughout his career."

Will you thin things down in the backfield for the scrimmage?

"No. I think we need to get all of those guys as many reps as we can, which is why we'd like to go a few more plays tomorrow. That's a position where we need as much work as we can possibly get."

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