Cornerback Courtney Viney, running back Milton Knox and receivers Morrell Presley and Randall Carroll have been suspended for the Kansas State game for what Coach Rick Neuheisel said was a violation of team rules. …
Neuheisel did not commit to a starting quarterback for the game, but Richard Brehaut took the majority of reps (about two-thirds) in practice with the No. 1 offense in team and 7-on-7.
The freshman did not exactly light up the field, though. …
With Aaron Hester already out with a fractured right leg and Viney now out because of the suspension, the Bruins are light at the cornerback spots. Freshman Sheldon Price was working with the No. 1 offense, opposite senior Alterraun Verner. …
Middle linebacker Reggie Carter sat out the end of practice because of a sore back, but he said it was nothing serious. It was the result of sleeping wrong, not the slew of tackles he made in the Bruins' victory over Tennessee. …
Guard Nick Ekbatani, out with a strained knee, was able to do some individual work. He said he expects to be back in practice next week. Receiver Gavin Ketchum (hamstring) and running back Christian Ramirez (ankle) were able to do some light running. Defensive end Reggie Stokes also was able to do some light running around the practice field. …
There were some changes along the No. 1 offensive line with Jeff Baca and freshman Stan Hasiak getting most of the work at the guard spots. Eddie Williams, who started the Bruins' first two games at right guard, got his reps with the No. 2s.
‘'You may see Eddie and Stan at the right guard spot. I kind of have a six- or seven-man rotation that I like to use,'' offensive line coach Bob Palcic said. ‘'That's pretty much it. There's not going to be a lot of changes like there were last year. Six guys played this last week. I wish I could have played a couple more, but it didn't work out that way. But I'm proud of all these kids – they're doing a good job and in time they're going to develop into a good line.''
Kyle Bosworth and Hasiak got into a couple of scuffles and Neuheisel kicked them out of the final practice period, when the Bruins were working in two-minute offense. David Carter also got involved and was sent to the sidelines. …
Coach Rick Neuheisel after practice …
‘'Little bit of a sluggish Tuesday – not uncommon when you come back from a long road trip and try to get back up on the horse and try to gain that energy again. But I think as we look at the tape we ll see that we got a lot done and just have to be a lot crisper (Wednesday) as we prepare for another big-time opponent in Kansas State.
‘'I think everybody got the announcement about the suspensions. Unfortunately we've had four players break a team rule and I had to administer the appropriate discipline, but just like when your children break rules you discipline and then you try to love them back up and they'll earn their way back into a playing capacity hopefully following the Kansas State game and that's probably enough to be said about it.''
You have a No. 1 quarterback?
‘'I don't think so. I think we're going to continue to watch the kids work and then we'll make a decision. But as I said it would not surprise me to see them both play in the game.''
What ideal situations would you see Brehaut playing and what would be better for Kevin Craft?
‘'You know, I haven't really analyzed it in that way. I just want to get them both practice and see who looks more comfortable and I know it's a great opportunity for both of them and I know they're looking forward to leading our team.''
What do you need to see from Brehaut for it to be him?
‘'Well, Richard is a bright young talent and he's looked good when he's gone into scrimmage situations. Now he's getting a little more of the game plan and we'll see if he can handle it.''
Has the landscape changed in college football in playing a freshman quarterback?
‘'It seems to be the rage, and there's a lot of kids doing very well. I was asked that question earlier today and I just said, it's a little unique. The quarterback position is probably the most coached position in all of sport, in youth football. Now there are guys making livings coaching kids whose dad's are believing that they're going to be the next John Elway or Troy Aikman. They're out there working on weekends and going through all sorts of things. And then kids who are talented are doing all this traveling from camp to camp to camp so there's a lot of quarterbacking going on out there before you get to college so it's not surprising to me that kids are a little further along and more ready to compete at this level., especially if they've been in the system that they're joining … certainly that's true of a guy like Tate Forcier, who was in that kind of offense. I think it's a phenomenon I think is here to stay.''
(For the record, the following question was asked by a television reporter...)
Seeing what Forcier did and certainly Matt Barkley did over the weekend, does that in any way influence your decision?
‘'Oh, no, no. Those kids should be congratulated for the great performance and I think Richard is going to be a great player, too. But we have to do what's best for our team, not just to join a club.''
Did they split first team reps evenly?
‘'I think the reps were pretty even today. I'd have to look to see, but I think they were pretty even.''
Do you feel Brehaut is ready to start a game?
‘'I think he could go in there and play great. I have zero reservation about him playing, regardless of who starts. Even if he's on the bench he's a play away, so, I mean, he's got to be ready and I feel like he is and I know he feels like he is and I know it's exciting for him. And it's also exciting for Kevin (Craft) getting a chance to redeem himself and get back in there, so both are eager to impress.''
What is keeping you from making the decision now?
‘'I want to watch them play. Nothing like a good old friendly healthy competition. That's good for all football positions, not just the other guys on the team and like I said, we'll make a decision when it's appropriate.''
Do you feel confident you already know what you're getting from Craft?
‘'I have a recollection of some very good things that he did and I also have some memories of things I wish were different. I think he's improved and I also feel like I've got a bright young talent in Richard. We'll just see how we feel later in the week as how we start the game.''
You said something about Craft redeeming himself. How much of last year is tied in?
‘'I don't mean to say that … I just know that he's eager to get back out there. We certainly remember some very good things that he did.''
Can you specify some of those things?
‘'Tennessee and Stanford. You know, the come-from-behind wins that he led us down the field. He is very good at engineering clock drives and very good at managing games in terms of the run game and he's got the experience. Those are important things.''
What about your cornerback situation?
‘'Well, uh, with Courtney Viney down this week a lot of pressure will be put on Sheldon Price and he will have to rise up and play well. And we'll have some other combination of things that we can do.''
When you say both (quarterbacks) will play, are you talking about one will get one or two series?
‘'I said it wouldn't shock me if they would both play. I don't have a plan right now. I'd like to have a guy and see how it goes and hopefully we can have a great game and we win and move on, but I have to wait and see how practice progresses and talk to Norm and get his counsel with regard to it and we'll go from there.''
What were the player's suspended for?
‘'Breaking of team rules. I'll leave it at that.''
Offensive coordinator Norm Chow also weighed in on the quarterbacks.
What do you need to see from Brehaut?
‘'Just being able to manage the game - manage the offense, make good decisions, you know, do things the right way. It's not necessarily throwing touchdown passes, just managing the offense, making sure the ball is snapped on time, making sure everybody is in the right spot, making sure he makes the right reads, watches for the blitz, all that kind of stuff.''
How difficult is it for quarterback to get a year like Craft had out of his mind?
‘'Kevin Craft is a terrific young man and got a lot of blame for a lot of things that really weren't his fault. Often times, it looked like he was the one and it really wasn't. I'm sure he'd like that opportunity and he practiced very well today as well. He's a very proud guy. He's an outstanding young person. And he certainly deserves another chance.''
Viney, the third-year sophomore, spoke for the four suspended players after practice. All participated in practice, though not in their usual roles.
Were you guys surprised by the decision?
‘'No, we violated a team rule and it has to be dealt with. It's their decision … just got to take it and move forward from here.''
Knowing that you are thin in that position already is it a little tougher?
‘'Yeah. But like I said, coach has made his decision. I think the team is well prepared regardless for Kansas State this week and they'll go out and be on top of their game.''
How have your teammates reacted?
‘'Everyone is supportive. There may be some that are a little disappointed, but for the most part everyone has been supportive.''
How much of a setback is this for you?
‘'I don't think it's a setback at all. Like I said, I take full responsibility and furthermore, I'm still full head of steam from here. No setback at all.''
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