Former tight ends coach Jon Embree, who has been in town watching his son Taylor Embree through fall camp and waiting to see if he is accepted to UCLA grad school to become a grad assistant, did not get in and will be returning home after the Bruins' opener against San Diego State...
The offense had another solid practice – three in a row now. Quarterback Kevin Prince has been very sharp all week, the receivers are aggressively making plays and there have been some pops in the running game, notably by Jonathan Franklin and freshman Damien Thigpen.
"No, that's not your imagination, just better focus, more enthusiasm,'' Prince said. ‘'It's game week, so I feel like everybody is coming out ready to go every day.
"When you get into camp you kind of get into those lulls and it's just a grind and some guys come out ready to play and sometimes they don't. When it's game week, everybody is coming out ready to go. I feel like it's been three strong days and we have to make it a fourth one (Thursday) so we're ready to go."...
There will be a conference call later Wednesday regarding the fire conditions and whether UCLA will be able to play San Diego State as scheduled at the Rose Bowl.
A decision could be pushed back to Thursday, if necessary...
Right guard Eddie Williams, who was hospitalized briefly because of dehydration after practice on Tuesday, did not participate in the session.
He said that he was feeling much better and that he would be able to play on Saturday against the Aztecs – also that it wasn't a good idea to skip breakfast.
"I knew I just had to get an IV in me and I'd be all right,'' he said...
With Williams out, Jeff Baca moved over to right guard and freshman Stan Hasiak was at left guard with the No. 1 offense. Baca also got in a lot of work with the No. 2 offense, with Brandon Bennett working at the left guard with the twos...
Josh Smith, the transfer from Colorado, practiced for the first time.
He said one of the things he wants to do this season is work on better
controlling his emotions, improving his focus.
"I'm going to use this year as more of a developing year,'' he said.
‘'Focus, mental toughness, things like that, you know? I feel like
before I was more of a player who played with a little too much
emotions, let too many things get on my shoulders and rattle me in
games and stuff like that. I want to use this year to just roll with
the punches a little bit more and keep more of a clear head and just go
out there and do my job every play and flush stuff and move on. Drop a
ball, move on, instead of being so hard on myself, because I know I
have what it takes."
All of those things, he said, were an issue at Colorado.
"I got to say that it did hurt a lot. Being out there playing too
emotional is really not good. You have to be that guy that's abler to
deliver on that next play. Really, what I want to know, is how to stay
focused. It's a really long game, it's three hours long, so mistakes
are going to be made. Both years I played I was young and I feel like I
got more mental toughness in the second year versus the first year, so
over here what I'd like to improve on is staying strong in the mind.
"Over this redshirt year it's going to be a little challenging to
sit out and watch, but I'm going to take that opportunity to get all
the mental reps that I can, motivate my players as much as I can, and I
get to watch them and see the mistakes that they make and know that in
the year 2010 I can come out there as perfect as possible."
Defensive tackle Willie Mobley, who is transferring in from Ohio State, has not yet been cleared to practice with the team. It's thought he could start Thursday.
Catch of the day was made by Taylor Embree, in the end zone. The pass
from Prince was high and a little behind him, but running inside he was
able to twist his body and snare the football with one hand.
Defensive tackle Jess Ward, coming back from a sprained knee, was
able to do some work with the No. 2 defense and could play against San
Danny Rees, the holder on field goals and PATs for Kai Forbath,
dislocated his shoulder on Tuesday in a collision with Datone Jones
following a blocked field goal attempt. The shoulder popped back into place, and he was back in practice.
Keenan Graham, who broke his jaw in the fall scrimmage, is going to
be out for at least another month and a half. Right now his weight is
holding on a diet of liquid food, however.
Here is an update from defensive line coach Todd Howard:
Is Graham going to be able to maintain his weight, not eating real food?
"He's doing protein shakes and things like that and his weight is
holding, so...I think if he can keep up what he's doing right now
and lose a minimum amount, he'll catch it up and be fine."
How much will this set him back?
"He's a smart guy. We knew he was smart coming in. He's in meetings
and he's attentive. It's just that he's not getting the actual physical
reps. He is getting the mental reps and listening to what's being
taught and said in the meeting room."
Do you have an idea when he'll be back on the field?
"I'm hoping he'll be ready, at the latest, six games into the season."
Here is Coach Rick Neuheisel after the session:
"Good day. Actually, I have a routine of what we call the perfect Thursday and for the first game of the year I always plan two Thursday practices because when you change the tempo on a team it usually takes a while to adapt to it. This was the best in my recollection of the first Thursday practice. Hopefully (Thursday) will be indicative of where we are and we'll be really clean. But I thought the effort was good, especially on another hot day. I like our team. I think we're excited about playing. I think we're getting close to being game ready.''
What was so good?
"I just thought the concentration was good and I thought guys were on it and into it."
How are Thursdays different than the other days?
"Well, you're basically going through a sampling of all your plan. Other days you're installing and you're putting things in. Thursday is kind of a compilation and we've had more time for the first game so we can afford to have two Thursdays and I just thought it was clean, it was very clean, so I was pleased."
Are you doing anything to prepare for smoky conditions or anything like that?
"I think we're getting them. This is unusual weather for Southern California and if we're not able to play we're preparing for Tennessee."
Do you think it was in the back of their minds at all that there might be a postponement?
"No, we're 100 miles per hour going towards game day and looking forward to that."
How is Eddie Williams doing?
"He's fine. He just cramped up yesterday and we just let him rest. He'll be full-go (Thursday)."
Where is the confidence level going into Thursday?
"I think the confidence level is where it ought to be, which is a little nervous anxiety, a lot of guys getting a chance to play for the first time, but anxious to do that. It'll be here before we know it and we just have to be as clean as we can be."
What challenges does San Diego State present to you?
"We don't know the challenges. We haven't been able to do much intell … they closed their practices, there's not much we know about them. That's a huge challenge in and of itself. We're going to have to do a lot of corrections and things during the course of the game with a young team. We're going to have to have a mature approach to that."
Wednesday Report, Neuheisel
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