Practice Notes, Neuheisel Comments

Kevin Prince struggled some on Wednesday, and Rick Neuheisel talked after practice about Johnathan Franklin's fumbling, the prospect of being bowl eligible, and more...

Kevin Prince did not have the sharpest day throwing the football, but stayed after practice to get some extra work in with receivers Taylor Embree and Terrence Austin...

Kevin Craft got to take some reps with the No. 2 offense and also ran some 2-minute...

Offensive guard Ryan Taylor remained out with the foot injury and has to be considered doubtful to play against Arizona State. Jake Dean was getting the majority of reps at the right guard spot and could start against the Sun Devils. Darius Savage started there last week at Washington State...

Freshman safety Stan McKay drilled running back Chane Moline during an 11-on-11 with the scout team, and heard about it from some coaches. It was a pretty solid hit, though...

Cornerback Aaron Hester was very lively in working with the No. 2 defense and said he felt much healthier now than he did when trying to come back from his fractured leg a few weeks ago...

Defensive tackle Jerzy Siewierski had a second solid day of practice, coming back from his foot issues...

Morrell Presley and Jason Allmond were not in practice, tending to some school work...

Rick Neuheisel talked after practice Wednesday.

‘'A good practice … still a little too many mistakes for my liking, but we can clean it up and we need to clean it up tomorrow and have some urgency about ourselves to get that done so that we can play our best game on Saturday. It'll take that. This'll be a very proud group and a very good group coming in here on Saturday.''

What does Jonathan Franklin got to show you to be that guy again, that's going to get the majority of the carries?

‘'You know, I don't think we have to worry about being that guy. I think he just wants to go out there and play and I think it has to be instinctive just to hang onto the ball rather than thinking about hanging onto the ball, because if you're thinking about hanging onto the ball you're not playing the way you're able to play and not using your eyes and all of that kind of stuff and it becomes almost a self-fulfilling prophecy. I just want him to go play.''

Is that the main thing?

'Absolutely … absolutely.''

Aaron Hester is looking a little more active …

‘'Better, yeah. You know, he was part of the plan last week at Washington State. Now, we didn't get to that plan because they didn't get to the personnel grouping that would have called for it, but we think Aaron is on the come and hopefully he can get into the game a little bit this weekend.''

Was hearing him barking out there make it seem like he's closer?

‘'Yeah. It's always exciting to hear guys sound like themselves, especially after coming back from significant injury.''

And that's himself?

‘'That's himself …''

At different points of the season, the whole bowl game thing has been maybe of different importance to you … coming into Saturday …

‘'Well, I think for both programs this game is meaningful for a bowl. To have any shot, this is what we have to do and they are in the same predicament. It's an important game for both programs that way.''

Is it back to being really important to get to one?

‘'The reason it was a goal at the outset was the momentum of your program and also the extended practices, those are both great things.''

Now that you're back on a winning track, is this a substantially better than they were, or is it just the way the schedule set up?

‘'Probably a little of both. But I do believe that we're better. There's no question we've created some confidence in our offense, especially in the throwing game. To have the numbers that we've had the last few weeks, and in one of those games against Oregon State, which is a very good team, to downplay that and act like that wasn't good stuff I think would be a mistake. We're getting better. There's no question about it.''

Any worries about overconfidence after wins …

‘'No. We're not at that point. If we are, then we're not smart enough to realize where we are as a program. But I don't think that's the case and it's my job to make sure that's not the case.''

Do the players realize that Arizona State presents a different problem than Washington and Washington State?

‘'Oh, I know they do. A great many of these guys played a year ago and know what kind of defense these guys have and what kind of athletes they have and so it's a huge game for us and one that we're not going to take lightly and obviously are going to give our best.''

Because of the way you lost to them last year is there any lingering hangover?

‘'It's a hard film to watch. It's a hard film to watch, but hopefully we'll create some better tape this time.''

Do you sense a defensive theme out of this game?

‘'Well, I think the defenses certainly had their way a year ago and I know both defenses are going to come into this game with a lot of confidence.''

Going back to overconfidence, do you worry about the team putting up 43 on a team like Washington State? Do you think they might try to light it up against Arizona State the same way?

‘'We're just going to try to make some first downs and take care of the football, not turn it over and see where it leads us and see if we can end up with a few more points than they have. That's the mindset. It'd be a great way for our seniors to leave their final home game. It'd be great for our fans to have us find a way to get a win, end up being 4-2 in the Rose Bowl this year. Those would be great things.''

Are you going to sing the fight song if you do?

‘'You'll have to stand by … I hope that's a problem for me.''

And us …

‘'You're welcome to join in …''

Have you started to think at all about the nostalgic aspects of this all, with the seniors …

‘'That's not lost on me. Having done this a lot of years, I realize that the final games are important to people. That will be a theme, as we get closer.''

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