Ryan Taylor added crutches to the protective boot he is wearing on his foot. With Taylor out, Darius Savage and Jake Dean were getting work at the right guard spot. Savage is the likely starter. Nick Ekbatani was getting work at the right and the left tackle spots.
Nelson Rosario continued to show well, making some nice catches during team periods...
Rick Neuheisel's opening statement:
‘'Excellent day. I talked yesterday about needing a good day today and we got it. I'm really pleased to see that. It makes a world of difference in terms of the psychology of the game when you feel like you've got a great practice under your belt going into Thursday. So, I'm excited about that and looking forward to the contest. Kevin Prince again was great – I'll hit those questions before you ask them. Jerzy Siewierski checked it out a little bit today and I would say at best questionable for the game. But, better than yesterday. Ryan Taylor is probably doubtful, I guess, would be the best I could say right now. That's where we are with respect to injuries.''
How about Aaron Hester?
‘'Aaron Hester is getting back in there and doing some great scout work and all that kind of stuff. We'll see where he is with respect to playing on Saturday.''
What has to be better with respect to the running game? Is it something with the line? Is it something with the backs?
‘'We have to sustain blocks longer. We have to have better ball security. And we have to be a little more authoritative in hitting the line of scrimmage. I don't think there's any one facet – and wide receivers have to get involved in the blocking – I don't think there's one facet that can't improve. So, we've just got to get all of it together so we can start being a little bit more of a consistent running game, running team.''
Is it a little frustrating that as the passing game has risen that's kind of fallen off and you can't seem to get both going?
‘'Well, I think there's improvement to be had and I'm excited about seeing if we can get it done and I'll leave it at that.''
As to Saturday, you're facing a Washington State team that's been struggling. What do you expect from them?
‘'I think they're going to play inspired football. They're home for the first time in almost 35 days. They're obviously a proud program – I've had lots of big games against them and it's a big weekend. They've got an annual deal where it's Dad's Weekend and it will be a good crowd. We've got to go out there and play a great football game, that's what we've got to do.''
How much is the weather a factor going up to Pullman?
‘'The key is to not let the weather be a factor at all, just go up there and play and be tough enough minded to block that out and just go play a great football game.''
Has Kevin Prince cleared all his tests?
‘'I believe he has. I believe he has. But you might want to check one more time, but I believe he has.''
Before last week you were down there with Washington State with that zero (conference wins). How important is that 1 now, mentally?
‘'It's hugely important because it's one and now has a chance to become two. Now we just have to focus on trying to get to two and as the shampoo commercial says, ‘and so on and so on and so on …''
Norm Chow's post-practice comments:
You've talked about Kevin (Prince) getting it … what was the tip off?
‘'Well, I think he's now being able to come off to the second and third guys. You know, the ball he missed, that Jonathan Franklin missed the other day, I don't know if you remember that early in the game, Jonathan ran an OK route, but he missed. That tells you a lot because he was No. 4, and I always tell him if you're a good quarterback you always have to know where No. 3 is at. You have to be able to go to No. 3. And he went to No. 4, so you feel pretty good about that.''
Is this something that we were going to see two months ago?
‘'I think so … before he got hurt? I mean, you hope so. You know, the guy hadn't played for two years and he played, what, two games and gets chipped up. Hopefully at game 5 or 6 he'd have been where we all wanted him to be and where he wants to be so, yeah, to answer your question, I think so.''
The running game … Is there something you need to do there? Is that a personnel thing?
‘'No, it's a defense thing. People try to take away some of your game. People want to make you one-dimensional, and then they've got you. And so, you know, that's what people don't understand. If people allow you to throw, you throw. If people want you to run, you've got to run. You've got to do what it takes to win the game. I'm always asked the question, somebody says ‘Well, how come you open up?' I don't know what open up means … why don't you throw more, I guess is the question. ‘'Well, tell me the defense. Tell me what coverage they're in that makes me want to throw the football. I think early on in the season they were playing back and we had some success running. I would imagine next Saturday night it's going to be kind of rough to run the ball because I think they're going to take the running game away from us. We'll have to see. Who knows?
Are you more comfortable with what plays you throw at Kevin now, as opposed to maybe at the beginning of the year?
‘'We put a game plan together and we call them … that's all we try to do. I mean, no, we call whatever we think will work and we expect him to execute what we call.''
You had Phillip (Rivers) at NC State as a true freshman. What's the biggest challenge with a true freshman or a redshirt freshman?
‘'Just they need to see … they need to see the looks, they need to see the different defenses. You know, it's not like it's drawn up on a piece of paper all the time. It just doesn't happen that way. They just need to see, (get) the constant repetitions, running the same play and seeing 100 different coverages and how to attack it. That's all. Phillip had the advantage of spring practice. Phillip wasn't challenged at all – we had no backup quarterback – and you know he's the son of a coach so he was ahead of a lot of people. It's tough. Freshman quarterbacks are tough, now. Freshman quarterbacks are hard, because they just don't see all the looks that you need to see.''