Thursday Practice Misses Players

Thursday's practice was a traumatic one, with Rick Neuheisel providing the official word on Micah Kia, defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski suffering an injury, and a number of other key players sitting out. It was a patchwork practice, the first-string piecing together personnel...

Guard Micah Kia, who was getting in work with the No. 1 and No. 2 lines, is out for the year with a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. He is to have surgery. 

Defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski was out with a strained lower back, suffered lifting weights in the morning. He is listed as day to day, but it could be more than one or two before he returns.
 
Center Kai Maiava did some individual work, but was held out of contact to rest his shoulder. The problem, he said, was muscular as opposed to structural. He expects to do more on Friday and be ready to play in the scrimmage on Saturday night.
 
Maiava on his progress this camp with his calls at the line: "I feel way more confident now that I'm getting the reps I need to remember it. I have a hard time if I just go to meetings and try to learn plays. I'm more of a … I've got to do the play to learn the play. But I feel real confident. I'm still making some mistakes. Coach Palcic is still getting on my case, but that's his job, so I don't blame him. There's some correcting I have to make. It's mental errors. It happens, but I'm going to try to fix those up before SDSU comes up and hopefully get these guys rolling.''

Maiava on the injuries, and the difficulties getting everything communicated at the line: ‘'That's where I have to step up to the challenge and be the brains of the whole thing. It was great having Nick (Ekbatani) and Micah. They knew almost everything. Say I was on the line and I didn't know the call I would look to them and say, ‘‘Uhhh … What do we got?' And they would say, ‘Do this.' So, I mean, it's cool that they helped out, but I'm sure the younger guys too are going to start picking it up and say I make a wrong call in the game they're not going to be shy to say, ‘No, no, no, we have to do this' and I'll realize they're right and go with it. But losing those two guys, I can't really explain how I feel about that. Just, stuff happens I guess. You have to roll with the punches, so that's what we're going to do.''
 
With Maiava out, Ryan Taylor took the reps at center with the No. 1 line.
 
Tony Dye was in a red no-contact jersey, but participated in some drills. He sat out a few sessions after taking a blow to the head.
 
The receivers and corners plus safety Rahim Moore competed during one period.

It went like this:

  Taylor Embree vs. Countney Viney – nice reception, Embree using his size against Viney
  Terrence Austin vs. Alterraun Verner – pass was under thrown, but well covered
  Nelson Rosario vs. Aaron Hester – complete pass, Rosario making=2 0good move on out
  Antwon Moutra vs. Andrew Abbott – Post, broken up by Abbott on nice play
  Jerry Johnson vs. Marlon Pollard – Johnson wins a jump ball for reception
  Morrell Presley vs. Sheldon Price – Great sliding catch on under thrown pass in end zone
  Jerry Rice Jr. vs. Brandon Sermons – Reception, on out route
  Randall Carroll vs. Verner – Nice cover by Verner, who breaks up pass
  Embree vs. Viney – Embree into end zone, beating Viney to the inside
  Ricky Marvray vs. Jeff Dickman – Marvray gets inside and open, but pass is high
  Rosario vs. Hester – Nice catch, going high over cornerback
  Austin vs. Abbott – Nice route to get open on sideline, took it into end zone for score
  Moutra vs. Price – Solid coverage, with Price breaking up the play
  Rice vs. E.J.. Turner – Rice got open, but pass was under thrown
  Presley vs. Rahim Moore – Presley got open to the inside, but pass was high
  Carroll vs. Verner – Solid coverage again by Verner, pass under thrown
 
They then ran plays against one another from the 5-yard line:
 
  Austin vs. Abbott – the walk-on made a nice play to break up the play
  Embree vs. Viney – Embree used his height advantage, going high to make the catch
  Marvray vs. Prince – Nice move to get to the inside and open, but the pass was off
  Rice vs. Pollard – Another good move to get inside, but an incompletion
  Moutra vs. Dye – Moutra goes up and over the shorter defender to make the catch
  Presley vs. Moore – a tough battle, the pass high and incomplete
 
Guard Darius Savage went down late with an ankle injury. He did not return to practice, but said afterward – his shoe and sock off and sitting on the ground – that he was OK.
 
Kia had been taking reps with the No. 1 and No. 2 offense and the Bruins had a nice combo there with freshman Stan Hasiak and the senior guard.

That could force Palcic to play Hasiak more reps than he might want to, but he said that there also are other options that they could look toward.

"Losing Micah Kia was a blow to the offensive line because he was having a great camp and he's experienced and understands the offense,'' he said. ‘'We're going to miss him. But somebody else is going to stand up. I mean, I have an awful lot of confidence in Darius Savage and Brandon Bennett and they'll step and we'll move on from there. And I can also move Jeff Baca into a guard and play Mike Harris out there (at tackle). I still have some other options now.''
 
The No. 2 offensive line had Jake Dean at center, Bennett and Savage at the guards and Harris and Nik Abele at tackles.
 
With Siewierski out and Bosworth out, the defense had some struggles, particularly in a goal line period. The No. 1 offense got three plays and punched the ball in on all three. Kevin Prince ran the first one in behind a nice block by Ryan Moya on Kyle Bosworth, Jonathan Franklin ran the next one in and then took a pitch to the left in as well.

The No. 2 offense also scored twice, with the No. 1 defensive line still on the field. Franklin scored and Kevin Craft hit Morrell Presley in the right corner of the end zone. Presley made a great play keeping the ball away from Rahim Moore.
 
As Korey Bosworth pointed out, they were running away from Brian Price and Datone Jones.
 
‘'We didn't have everybody in there in that goal line period,'' he said. ‘'I'm not going to give them too much – as a defensive player I can do that. They were all on that right side. They came around that corner a couple of times. They had (Price and Jones) on the other side so they're obviously going there.''
 
With Bosworth held out of contact, Damien Holmes was taking the reps with the No. 1 defense. His speed can cause a lot of problems. In one play in a team period he jumped right inside Jeff Baca and got through to the quarterback virtually untouched – forcing Palcic to give the sophomore offensive tackle an earful.
 
With the injuries to Siewierski, Reggie Stokes and Andy Keane (right arch) and Bosworth sitting out, the No. 2 defensive line was comprised of Connor Bradford and freshman Keenan Graham at the ends and Sean Sheller and Justin Edison at the tackles.
 
Bradford and Sheller were moved from the offensive line just this week, Graham is a freshman and Edison played only sparingly last year.
 
Prince and the Bruins' offense were not as sharp as they have been over the past couple of practices with some minor to major malfunctions – running back Milton Knox had a false start when lined up wide; tight end Nate Chandler had a pass reception taken away from him by Moore, who swiped the ball out of his hands and took it the other way; the No. 1 line struggled in an early 11-on-11 with its pass protection, allowing Price, Jones and Kyle Bosworth to get to the quarterback.
 
But there also were some nice plays.  On one, Prince rolled left, reversed his field under pressure from Price and hit Nelson Rosario down field for a nice gain.

Here is Rick Neuheisel after the practice:

"Some good and some not so good today, which is probably always the case, but I guess maybe I notice the not so good. I thought we were a little sloppy today and that I guess is part of the dog days of camp, but it gives us a chance to really get after them tonight in the meeting room about concentration and doing the little things right so that you allow yourself to continue to improve. You really can make great improvement when you're tired and still concentrate because it's easier when everything is fresh and you're excited about the contest.

"I thought the goal-line stuff with the offense was good. The defense, obviously we're missing Jerzy Siewierski in there. He's got a little bit of a strained back, we're just precautionary, taking it day by day with him. He tweaked it a little but in the weight room so we figured we'd hold him out.

"You heard about Micah Kia. It's very unfortunate. You hate for seniors to miss out. But the good news for Micah is he does have a redshirt year. Tough times don't last, tough people do. I expect him to be helpful with Bob (Palcic) in terms of helping the young players as kind of a student coach this year, get himself back in the rehab department and be available for a great senior year next year. I pointed out both Kyle Bosworth and Logan Paulsen had similar circumstances a year ago and here they are excited about this. While it seems like a million miles away, it actually is right around the corner. Hopefully he'll do that. I expect him to do that.

"Other than that, we're trudging through. We'll get two more maybe shorter practices tomorrow in terms of the length we're on the field, get in the meeting room and hopefully have a great scrimmage on Saturday night."
 
What are you hoping to see in the scrimmage?


"The same thing every coach in the country hopes for – great adherence to the fundamentals you've been teaching, seeing kids progress and seeing that they have the ability to do it with the coaches in their ear and so forth and then no injuries, maybe not in that order. That's what you hope for."
 
The mantra of run the ball or die trying, have you seen a significant development toward that?

"I've noticed the attitude in it. There's no question the attitude has been there. Consistency still needs to be progressed. We're not there yet. But I think both coaches and players alike are committed to the idea that we're going to do that. And I also have to tip my hat to the running backs. The running backs have been getting things done. We've just got to continue to keep pounding the meat, as Rocky would say."
 
How important is continuity on the offensive line?

"It's huge. Huge. And the good news is our kids have known each other for all of two weeks, so it's going along swimmingly. No, getting five...it's the old offensive line adage, you get five and all of a sudden it becomes a fist. That's the idea of having five guys in there. We were unable to get that accomplished a year ago, whether it was inconsistency in play or injury, we were just unable to get five guys. So, that's certainly a goal. We've got five that have been in there now. Kai Maiava, we're resting his shoulder, he'll be ready for Saturday night. But that will be a huge piece of the puzzle starting Monday when we return from the scrimmage.''
 
 

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