Neuheisel, Report from Practice

There were a few more players dinged up at practice Sunday, making UCLA's list of injured a fairly long one. The offense looks better, and a player who has spent some time at various offensive positions moves to defense...


Opening statement:

‘'Good day, good day. You know, it's the seventh straight day of practice, so we're getting a little weary, but that's what you have to fight through. The good news is we're going to get some heat this week, sounds like, so we're going to simulate some Kansas-like conditions and we've got to push through it. But we've got a willing group and that's what you look forward to working with when you're a coach. I'm excited about where we are. The tape (from the mini-scrimmage) looked encouraging. There were a lot of good things and certainly, lots that has to be cleaned up, but we're excited about doing that work. It was only 20 plays yesterday so it wasn't as though it were something that you have to be overly concerned about if it wasn't as productive as you'd like.''

What did you see in the film that you didn't see?

‘'I saw a lot of good things. You know, the ball is going backwards everybody thinks everything stinks, but it wasn't that way. We just had some missed assignments that ended up being glaring, if you're looking at it from an offensive standpoint. From a defensive standpoint, I thought for the first time, we tackled pretty well. We did a nice job of getting people on the ground, yet there still were some plays made. I feel like we're on schedule.''

You've got some day-to-day guys …

‘'Yeah, that's part of the deal. This is where you kind of get to develop your depth. You get to find ways to get guys chances and so forth. That's just part of the deal and hopefully these day to day guys are working hard to get back out there.''

Do you expect any of them to be back out on Monday?

‘'I always expect them out tomorrow. What's the song say? Tomorrow, tomorrow. The sun will come out. But I hope that we'll get them all back here so that we can be ready for a good scrimmage on Saturday.''

Stan McKay, concussion?

‘'That's what it's been termed, yes, do he'll have to go through the protocol and so forth.''

Coach, in my short time here, you haven't had particular success on offensive in these scrimmages. Can you credit it to anything, or is it a case by case basis?

‘'I think it's a case by case basis. And, truthfully, for scrimmages to be really good for offenses, when a defense has seen the offense the whole time, is when a quarterback on the offense can see what the defense is doing and changes plays and takes what the defense is doing. That's when you start riddling the defense. If it's something else other than that, that's when you start worrying about your defense.''

They have been mired by mental errors and missed assignments. Why do you think that is?

‘'That's part of football. I mean, you grade kids every game and no one grades 100 percent. That's just part of the game. We work as hard as we can to get to a place where it's not so much of an issue, but like I said, the proof will be in the pudding. We'll see how we play when we get to Kansas State. I think we're on schedule.''

Can you talk about the push that Anthony Barr is making at his position?

‘'Well, I think he's been outstanding thus far and we're going to give him a real chance to win the job. I know we've got some other candidates at the position that are also playing well, but he's been fabulous. There's a lot going in, so there are some growing pains, but we're just going to see where he is. We like the competition at the position, needless to say.''

He had a couple of drops today and had a great catch. Are you OK with drops and stuff like that as long as the mental part is OK? Or is it …

‘'Come on, Jon (Gold), no coach is ever OK with drops. You're never OK with drops. But, you know, part of this is mental fatigue, too. Seven straight days being out here going through the same thing, it gets monotonous if you're not really mentally tough enough to make sure that every practice is that important. That's what we keep doing as coaches – to push them to make sure that every practice is like that. You know, Ricky Marvray comes out to practice every day like it's the Super Bowl. And if more guys could get that, we're going to get where we need to be. And, so, we just keep pushing that kind of tempo and that kind of mentality.''

The move with Allmond to the d-line?

‘'Jayson, in my estimation, wasn't going to be a natural tight end, and so I was thinking let's try to see how he does as a defensive lineman. But now with Harkey possibly down, we'll have to see. We may have to move him back. We'll have to see.''


Jayson Allmond, who came to UCLA as a fullback, then was moved to ‘F' back and then to running back and then to tight end, was in a blue practice jersey and is going to get some work on the defensive line at tackle.


Safety Stan McKay came out of practice on Saturday with a concussion.


Tight end Cory Harkey came out of the session with symptoms of a concussion. Freshman defensive tackle Cassius Marsh had a mild tweak of a groin muscle and sat out the second half of practice. Defensive tackle Andy Keane was carted off with an apparent leg injury.


Quarterback Kevin Prince, who has been out with an oblique strain, did not do any throwing. He did do some light running.


Andrew Abbott made some nice plays, working 1 on 1. He stuck with Randall Carroll on a deep ball and battled away the pass, then had a nice strip and interception against Carroll.


Morrell Presley had a bad drop on a post, working against Tevin McDonald. But he came back later in the period and made a nice adjustment and catch against Aaron Hester.


Freshman ‘F' Anthony Barr made a nice play on a deep ball, beating Hester and Tony Dye.

Losing Harkey for any amount of time hurts. The Bruins lack depth at tight end, and Joseph Fauria has been dealing with groind issues all camp and there are questions about his durability. They were hoping to use freshman John Young, but he is out after undergoing surgery on his shoulder. They likely will move Morrell Presley back to tight end.
The two-minute offense did not start well. On the first series, with the 1s against the 1s, Rahim Moore picked off a pass from Richard Brehaut and would have taken it back for a score. Darius Bell had a nice throw to Marvray with the 2s, but Nick Crissman came on and threw an interception to Dalton Hilliard. The offense did get their field goal on the third try, with Brehaut at quarterback. He hit passes to Embree and Nelson Rosario on that drive.

The offense rebounded pretty well in spots out there ...
''Yeah, we made some plays, especially in the passing game. I felt like we made some pretty big plays in 7 on 7 and in some of the team periods.. But, you know, we knew after watching the tape last night we definitely ... we were just off on one or two things, but we understand that it's still early. We still have a whole week left in camp and we have to go out and work.''

Were you dreading going into that film room a little?
''You never really dread it. You don't like to see yourself make mistakes or your team make mistakes, but this period is a learning period. We still have some guys who are new at certain spots, we have some freshmen working in. You can't go in there dreading it, you have to go in there with the attitude that you're going to learn from the mistakes and get better. As long as you're not making the same mistakes, it's when you keep making the same mistakes that it becomes a problem.''

Is there enough of that going on, you think? The self-learning? Coach Neuheisel said yesterday that he asked the team, are you doing everything you can to know everything about your positions?
''Definitely, like you said, a lot of it during camp is you've got to go home at night - you're going to be sore, you're going to be tired - but you have to try to get a few minutes in the playbook. I think last night some guys went and did that. We had a lot less mental errors and you could tell, our offense was flowing a lot better. You could see in our receivers' room, Ricky (Marvray) is asking a million questions. That's what we need, to teach others, because we have veterans now on the offense that can help out. Sometimes, the coaches aren't there. If you're in the training room getting treatment, you know, just talk football and ask questions. That's definitely what you see happening on the offensive side.''


What are your thoughts on yet another switch here?

‘'It's frustrating, but I know I have to do … it's more of a mobility thing. Like, I always tell myself, just in case somebody go down at running back or tight end or fullback, I'm always there to be that person to go back because I know the position.''

You came here as a fullback. What thoughts did you have when they dropped the fullback? Did you think I have to go elsewhere? Make a position change? What do you work through there?

‘'My first thought about the position change was, like, where am I going to go? I came here to be a fullback. They told me to focus on fullback. That's what I worked hard to be. And then spring came, we went to the Pistol, I moved to ‘F' and then they moved me to running back, so the whole thing of me being a running back was good, and then they moved me to tight end because there was no depth there. They needed me at tight end, and yesterday they moved me to d-tackle. So it's just like, my mind if in many different places, cut I have to do what I have to do to get on the field.''

How close would you be to playing as a d-tackle, weight-wise, technique-wise?

‘'Well, right now, I'm under 260. Most d-tackles are 300, 305, I've never played d-tackle. I played middle linebacker, outside linebacker, my whole high school career. It's another, try to get adjusted to the whole d-tackle thing. But I feel like I can get it done.''

You're not adding 40 pounds in two weeks, though …

‘'Yeah. It's kind of hard. But, what Coach (Todd) Howard told me, I could use my speed. I have quick hands, so I can use my speed to get around offensive linemen. It feels like I could get adjusted to it very easily without even gaining the weight.''

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