Kevin Prince took about two-thirds of the reps with the No. 1 offense. He made some nice throws, including a deep ball to Nelson Rosario. Richard Brehaut also worked with the 1s and Coach Rick Neuheisel reiterated that he will get a series or two in the first half.
Brehaut, obviously, was pleased with that.
‘'It's hard to come in there when you don't know if you're going to come in and the coach just says, ‘Warm up here.' It's a little tougher. Now that I know that I'm going to get some quality time I'll be able to stay warm throughout the game so I can just be ready any time coach says to come in,'' Brehaut said. ‘'I'm not going to be just sitting in the fourth quarter cold, my arm is all cold, and then have to warm up real quick on the sideline and go in and try to throw 30-yard passes and 40-yard passes.'' …
Reggie Carter, with the sprained knee, again was very limited in what he was able to do in practice. …
Aaron Hester, coming back from a fracture in his leg, was with the No. 1 defense in nickel and also got some reps in base situations. …
Rick Neuheisel after practice.
‘'Good spirited practice. Obviously, we'll look at the tape and see what we need to tweak and so forth, but a good first day and hopefully … I just like the way our kids keep coming back to work. Obviously we've got to do better and we've got to be better on Saturdays, but it's still fun to practice when you've got a bunch of willing guys who are going their very best.''
Have you worked out how you're going to work the quarterback sharing situation?
‘'I think that's been overblown. All I've said is that Richard is going to get a series in the game, or two. That's not a hard thing to work out. We just pick out a spot in the first half that we're going to put him in and let him go.''
So it will be locked in before the game?
‘'Yeah. It'll be locked in. I don't know if it's going to be the third or the fourth, but we're going to make sure that it's in the first half.''
Will the flow of the game change that? That's what happened last time …
‘'No. We're going to make sure he gets to play.''
On the third downs, how much of that should fall on the quarterback and how much of that is a team responsibility?
‘'Well, third downs is always a team responsibility. We can't just put it all on the quarterback. Certainly there are times when we feel the throw could have been made, certainly there are times we feel the catch could have been made, certainly there are times when the protection could have been better. You know, it's shared equally across the board, and we can also say maybe we could have had a better call. All of it, it goes in. There's no finger pointing with regards to it, we just have to do better on third down so we can not only advance the ball towards the goal of scoring but we can also keep our defense off the field.''
On those third downs it does seem the opposition is blitzing you a lot. Is that a factor, because you guys are young, they're attacking you more?
‘'Well, defenses will do what they think works. It's our job to make sure that if they're coming after you, we've got some counter punches to that. We'll continue to keep working to get that done.''
Aaron Hester back in the starting lineup this week?
‘'Aaron Hester is competing for a starting spot, which is I know exciting for him and exciting for us, having him back. He's a kid coming off a broken leg. It's neat that he's working that hard to get back.''
What kind of work did he put in over the past couple of weeks that showed you he's ready now?
‘'You know, he's an eager guy. He does everything that he's been asked to in the rehab department. He's been out here, paying attention and running around the practice field while the practices are going on. This is a guy who misses football that wants desperately to help the football team and that's a great start. Now we've just got to make sure that he's ready. It's one thing to have all the eagerness, it's another one to be ready to play all the coverages and make the tackles and play with great confidence.''
What does he offer you with his size and his strength that maybe Sheldon (Price) or Courtney (Viney) don't?
‘'Well they're both about the same height and length, he's just stronger. He's been here a year longer and been in the weight program and all that stuff, so he gives you probably a little bit stronger presence at the point of attack.''
Is Stan Hasiak back starting at guard or is going to be Nick Ekbatani again?
‘'We are in competition at that position as well. You may have noticed I put some guys down on the scout team today. I had Nelson Rosario down. I had Stan doing some time down there. We're going to keep moving some of our upper … Damian Thigpen was down there … just because we're trying to increase the tempo on both practice fields but also get guys more chances to play rather than standing back and watching, to continue to grow our youngsters.''
‘'Well, let me say it this way, all of those kids have high … a great confidence in themselves, and they should. They're very talented guys and they've worked so hard to get here. They are still in the beginning stages of their college careers and in terms of what they know and what they're able to go out and perform at the highest level, it isn't as big a piece of the pie as maybe they might think.
‘'That doesn't mean that they're misguided or anything like that. But they're not quite as ready as maybe they think. And as we go forward in these highly competitive games in which we're struggling to be consistent, it's more difficult to play guys that you're not 100 percent sure what you're going to get until they become more consistent performers. That's all it is, and I respect the notion that, ‘I think I could do more.' I want a bunch of athletes that think they could do more. But I also respect the experience of coaches that have been around this game for a long time as to what they can handle and what they can't, and there's potential danger in allowing them to try to go out and continue to do stuff.
‘'But don't think we're not scratching everything we can scratch to find exactly the formula for our success, and those kids are part of that.''