Practice Report, Neuheisel Comments

A starter on the offensive line sits out, and Coach Rick Neuheisel answers questions about finding the second-string running back, and what it will be like facing Washington with or without Jake Locker...

Center Kai Maiava was dressed for practice but held out of drills, his right elbow heavily wrapped...

With Maiava out, Jake Dean was taking the reps with the No. 1 offense at center. Ryan Taylor, who had done some work there, remained at right guard...

Cornerback Aaron Hester also was held out of practice after taking a hit on Saturday on his leg - he was playing for the first time since suffering a fracture there. Hester said that he was hoping to be available to play this week against Washington...

Freshman offensive lineman Stan Hasiak remained with the scout team. Coach Rick Neuheisel commented about Hasiak below.

Hasiak declined to speak with the media, according to a school spokesman


Rick Neuheisel's opening statement:

‘'Good practice … kind of a balmy evening … You know what, it was a good practice. I'm very appreciative of the spirit of these young guys that keep coming back and keep working and know that there's still a lot to play for. It's fun to come to work, it's fun to work with these guys and I promise that good things are ahead.''

Why haven't you seem to have settled on a guy behind Jonathan Franklin?

‘'I think because we believe in all of them. You believe in all of the guys so you want to give them their chances. There's nobody that has been written off, so I think you just keep trying to find roles for guys so that they stay in and keep believing and so forth. I have confidence in Wayne Moses and Norm (Chow) to make the right decisions there.''

But eight games in, should there be at least on secondary ball carrier that you have developed at this point?

‘'For every game there is a secondary ball carrier. I don't know that it has to always be the same guy, especially when you're trying to keep five going.''

What does Milton Knox have to show you?

‘'Well, what does he have to show us? You know, we have confidence in Milton. Milton unfortunately, was suspended for one game. He just needs to be more consistent.''

Looking ahead to Washington, how much better is this team than the one you saw last year?

‘'Obviously, they're playing very well. They've been in almost every game and easily could have … I think they're 3-5 like us, they easily could be 5-3, maybe even 6-2. We have a great deal of respect for what they've accomplished this year and realize it will take a great game from us to be successful this weekend.''

How much does Coach (Steve) Sarkisian have to do with that success?

‘'I think you have to give a lot of credit to Coach Sarkisian, and the fact that Jake Locker is healthy.''

How much does it change the game if Locker is on versus not in?

‘'Well, you know, we played against … is it Fouch? I think it's Ronnie, right? We played against him last year and I was impressed with him. But Jake Locker is a difference maker. There's no question about it. I was on a conference call today with the Pac-10, and knowing what I know about NFL scouting and how I would look at quarterback at the next level, I don't see a guy even though the names might be big and the accomplishments many by the other guys that are going to be coming out this year, he'd be right there with them, if not ahead of them ... If he decided to come out – I'm not trying to encourage him to come out. I'm just saying, he's that good.''

It's not tampering for encouraging a player to come out …

‘'I don't want to be scolded for such, but he's that good.''

What concerns you the most, the running part, the throwing part?

‘'The total package. He's a gifted guy and he makes all the throws, he has all the arm strength you ever wanted. I had the opportunity to be with him at a camp in Louisiana, the Manning Passing Academy, where a bunch of college quarterbacks were counselors. My son went to it and so I was kind of an assistant coach at it, so I got to watch all the college kids kind of side by side and Locker is special.''

You mentioned that Milton needs to be more consistent … consistent in what way?

‘'Knowing what to do … There's no question he can run the ball – that's why he got recruited. But knowing what to do, where to be and when to be there, those are all important things.''

So is he still working to get settled with the offensive scheme?

‘'Protections, pass routes … all of those different things, yeah.''

How much does Kevin (Prince)'s play at the end of the game give you more confidence?

‘'I just think that confidence is a huge thing and it cannot be given, It has to be earned. I think that hopefully he earned some last week.''

Did Ryan Taylor do enough to get that starting spot?

‘'I thought Ryan was good. There were a couple of times where he didn't anchor down on some bull rushes, but I think that he'll be that much better after a game under his belt and we'll see how it goes this week in practice.''

Does that mean he'll start?

‘'We'll wait and see.''

How is Aaron Hester?

‘'He was a little gimpy today, but I'm not ruling him out. I know he's dying to get better and be back in.''

Was that injury (Saturday) worse than you thought, than he thought?

‘'No, the X-rays were negative so we'll just have to see how it goes and how it progresses.''

Is Stan Hasiak going to play again this season?

‘'We'll wait and see. I just want to do right by Stan and by our ball club. I want him to be fully healthy before we get him back in there.''

What's wrong with him?

‘'It's a personal issue.''


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