Rick Neuheisel's post-practice comments Tuesday:
You said coming into the week, you would be having more training camp-style practices …
‘'I told the kids today we had three things to get done – one was to improve, we have to improve; two was to create competition, make sure that all positions, kids who are not on the front lines are working their tails off to become on the front lines and creating depth with that kind of effort; and then third, also the ability to have some install, the ability to put some new things on the table and try some things out that might help us out as we go down through the conference schedule. That's what we're trying to get done in these three days.''
Can you recall a year in the Pac-10 where there were as many strong running backs?
‘'Well, everybody understands the value of a running game. It takes tremendous pressure off not only your quarterback, but your defense, the play calling. It's just a great weapon to be able to run the ball, because you can control the ball. So, people are looking for it. But you're right, there are a number of quality backs in this conference. But that's not unusual to me, that's the nature of a very fertile West Coast area to recruit from.''
How much attention do you pay to Stanford at this point?
‘'We as coaches will pay a great deal. We won't put a game plan in until Sunday. We don't want things to grow stale. We want to make sure that we have the right kind of rhythm to the preparation and so forth, but there are some things we can take a look at now that they don't even realize is for Stanford … until I told you.''
In terms of reopening competition, is it good to keep players on their toes a little bit?
‘'Absolutely. You have to get comfortable in competition. It's like, is it good to be challenged and have games go into the fourth quarter? Sure, I'd like to win them all handily, but you're going to get tested and rather than react like something you're not used to or don't embrace, you have to accept it and look forward to that challenge and it brings out the best in all players. And if you have great competition in a position where both are playing well, then both can play. I'll never forget as a player where Michael Young and Karl Dorrell battling every day to see who is going to be the starting flanker and trying to bribe me as the quarterback, you know, trying to get me to throw it to them and this, that and the other thing. But, you talk about two great players, because of the competition, the other one was there.''
What was the best payoff you got?
‘'Uh, I can't go into that.''
Jeff Baca, not practicing today?
‘'Pink eye. He's in that contagious mode, so 24 hours. He'll be back tomorrow.''
How about the other guys – Nick Ekbatani, Gavin Ketchum?
‘'They were just doing individual drills. I'll get a report back tomorrow on how they did. I wasn't paying close attention. But I'm told we're close on those guys to be back. I saw Gavin do some things. He looks a little tentative. Christian Ramirez, still a little tentative. But we've got 10 days before we play … 11 days … so I anticipate them being full speed.''
With the injured guys coming back and the suspended guys coming back, is it going to be hard to integrate …
‘'These are nice problems to have, as opposed to what once was. So, yeah, keep looking for roles for players, but they have to earn them.''
Richard Brehaut said that he had not been told anything about
how the Bruins would handle the bye week, with regard to the
quarterback situation. He took the majority of reps with the No. 1
offense last Tuesday, but Craft took a more prominent role as the week
went along and ended up taking every snap of the victory over Kansas State. Brehaut said he is expecting to compete during the bye week
going into the Pac-10 opener against Stanford, as he has since last
Here is a Q&A with the freshman quarterback. …
This can be a pretty valuable three practices for you, yes?
‘'Oh, yeah … definitely. It's definitely a time to regain my composure and go out there and play like I know how.''
Was composure an issue last week?
‘'It wasn't composure. It was just kind of … I don't know. I just have
to get used to it. I have to get used to going with the first team, the
guys on the first team, get used to the game plan and stuff, get used
to just being out here. That's about it. I just have to relax out
there. I was kind of uptight a little bit. I think that was the main
thing. I just have to settle myself down, take it one play at a time,
don't try to worry about doing too much … Just play like I know how,
basically, is how I need to do it.''
I can see, first time in that situation, it can become a problem …
‘'Yeah, I was a little uptight. I was a little nervous and stuff.
But, I mean, now that I got those reps last week and that I've been
able to go with the first team for these practices, I should be OK. I'm
laid back now. I'm cool. I got in a lot of extra film work and stuff
last week, got a lot of practice stuff. That helped a lot. Especially
today, today some looks that I got, I made a decision that I didn't
make last week, and so I saw that progression for myself. That gives me
confidence, of course. It's just about relaxing and coming out here and
taking it one play at a time.''
There are so many pieces to put together, between reads, protections, checks, blitz checks...
‘'There are so many pieces to the puzzle … it's just about relaxing and putting it together one piece at a time.''
Are any of those pieces a hang up, or is it just putting them all together?
‘'It's kind of having all the pieces and knowing they're all going to
fit and then put them all together at the same time. You can't just put
this here, and then here and then here, it's all got to come together
at the same time. You know, you have to know your read, know where your
guy is going to be, know your protection … those are all pieces of the
puzzle that you have to put together in about two seconds. It's just
about getting back there and getting the reps, so you have that comfort
level in the pocket. That's all it's going to take.''
The guys on the other side of the ball don't make it any easier …
‘'Yeah, our defense is pretty damn good. It will only make us better going against those guys everyday, so it's all good.''
So, you're hoping to get in there against Stanford at some point …
‘'For sure, I want to get snaps. That's always my goal. No doubt.
Nothing has changed from last week – I'm trying to get there and get
What do you want to get done this week, and be going into next week?
‘'I don't need to be the No. 1. If I'm the No. 2 it's OK. I can still
work my way up. It doesn't matter where I am going into next week. I
think it's about where I am at the end of next week as far as my
progression from now until then. That's going to be the key – how good
I can get from now until the end of next week.''
Neuheisel, Brehaut On Tuesday
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