Tuesday Practice Notes and Quotes

UCLA's running game is making advances in practice, and freshman Malcolm Jones is making a case for playing time. Rick Neuheisel talked about a player transferring out of the program and more...

Opening statement

‘'Another good day, another good day to find out a little bit more about your team as you scrimmage and you tackle and all that kind of stuff. We're getting a little bit fatigued, but that's what you have to fight through. That's where you push through. That's the old saying, you don't know about a second wind unless you push through the first one. We've got to do that and we are doing that and I'm pleased with it. I thought there were some encouraging signs today. As always, you have to look at the tape to find out everything you need to know, But I like where we are. I like what's going on. We'll come out and have two practices tomorrow and hopefully get even better than we were today.''


Even without looking at the tape, you had to feel better about the offense …

‘'Yeah, we made some plays, and obviously when you're in the offensive business you have to make some plays. But now I want to go and see what happened on defense. I never win these. But I never lose them, either. That's a good thing.''


Can you talk about the running game today?

‘'Looked improved, and we'll see if it's a function of us getting better on offense, which I hope that's the case and I think it is, or if it's a case of our defense not being in the right gaps or not being up to snuff like they need to be to be the run-stopping defense that we need to be.''


Marlon Pollard?

‘'Marlon Pollard, thank you for bringing it up, has decided he's going to transfer. The good news about Marlon's transferring is it's completely amicable. We wanted him to stay, had a number of kids talk to him last night about trying to stay and be a part of the team because he's such a good young man. But he just thinks that, for his chance to play and play a lot of football in college, he needs to move on. So, I'm never going to deprive someone of being happy, so we're going to grant his release and we'll miss him. He's a great kid, really a great kid.''


Jordan Zumwalt got a little scrappy out there today …

‘'Yeah, and he had to learn a lesson. You can't throw a punch. The officials were on the spot and would have ejected him and that would have cost him, if it's in the second half, the whole next game, and at least the game he was in. You've got to learn that lesson and hopefully he did.''


How is (Kevin) Prince's progress?

‘'I think it's coming along. Obviously, we'd all like him to be in there, but I keep looking at the positives. It gives the other kids chances and they're getting because of those chances. But, eventually, we're going to need Kevin back and hopefully we're talking about sooner than later. My hope is that he'll be back if not tomorrow then the next day and he'll get some scrimmage. I've got my fingers crossed that he'll get some scrimmage. He needs some live work and it's disappointing that he's missed all this time, but I know he's into it mentally and I know he's had a great summer, so hopefully we can survive the fact that he's missed this much.''


Going into camp, do you have it in your mind that most if not all of the freshmen are going to redshirt and then they play their way out of that? Or do they play their way into the redshirt and you say that they're just not ready?

‘'I think, ideally, you'd say the former of what you said would be the case. But sometimes positions dictate that guys have to be ready to play. Go back two years ago, Rahim Moore had to play. We thought enough of him and the position at safety was such that he had to get in there and that's why Tony Dye had to play as a true freshman. But you'd love to have a chance to, like wine, let them mature. But it always isn't that case and sometimes they play their way onto the team. Guys are doing that right now. You saw a number of freshmen make good plays again today.''


Is Dietrich (Riley) one of those guys?

‘'Dietrich has made plays in each of the two teams we've laced them up to play real football and he's got to be commended for that.''


How about Malcolm (Jones), how do you feel about what you've seen from him?

‘'A couple of things are pleasing about Malcolm. No. 1, we knew he was going to be a physical back and he proved that he is. And, No. 2, he's durable. He took a major quad contusion in the first scrimmage and missed a practice, but was back the next day and you saw that he's back to full speed again. I', pleased with Malcolm, and I think our running game is improving. It's not where it needs to be, but it's improving.''


Can you talk a little bit more about the day-to-day guys?

‘'You saw both Stan McKay and Cory Harkey in red jerseys. That's an indication that they'll be cleared tomorrow if they don't have any lingering effects, and hopefully they won't. Morrell (Presley) is probably another day away from getting that reed jersey on. The hamstrings, I'm not optimistic for the scrimmage, but maybe the exception of (Patrick) Larimore. Larimore did some individual today and hopefully we can get him back and some scrimmage reps out of him.''


(Joseph) Fauria?

‘'Fauria, probably not going to scrimmage, probably going to rest him throughout the rest of this week and then see if we can get him ready for some role starting next week.''


Jordon James?

‘'Jordan James is in that hamstring category, probably still a little time necessary. I hope not – I got to bed every night saying a little prayer for those guys to get them back. But all in due time, I guess, all in due time.''



PRACTICE NOTES

Freshman defensive end Owamagbe Odighizuwa did not practice because of a tight hip flexor, the same injury that slowed him late in the summer and into camp.

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Quarterback Kevin Prince did some individual work and some light throwing for a second day in a row. He also got into team for seven plays – all running plays, including one where he kept the football. He is optimistic he will be able to get at least a few reps in the scrimmage on Saturday.

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Defensive tackle Justin Edison had to come out of the scrimmage with an Achilles' injury. It is not believed to be a serious deal.

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When Edison came out, freshman Cassius Marsh got the reps with the No. 1 defense.

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Jayson Allmond was still with the offense working at tight end. Damien Thigpen was back with the defense and working at cornerback.

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Working 1 on 1, receivers and defensive backs, Jerry Johnson made a very nice adjustment on a deep ball from Darius Bell and made the catch against Thigpen.

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In the scrimmage, Anthony Jefferson had a nice recovery and break up of a deep pass intended for Randall Carroll. The pass was underthrown, but Carroll had a good five yard separation.

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Scrimmage stats: Passing, Brehaut 3 of 6 for 57 yards and two touchdowns; Bell 0 of 2 with one interception. Rushing, Coleman 5 for 26 yards with one fumble; Franklin 3 for 8 yards with two touchdowns; Jones 6 for 43 yards. Receiving, Franklin 1 for 17 with one touchdown; Carroll 1 for 15 with a touchdown; Embree 1 for 25 with a touchdown.

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Prince as well as safety Stan McKay (concussion) and tight end Cory Harkey (concussion) worked in red no-contact jerseys. That didn't stop McKay from getting himself into a collision with Jerry Rice Jr.

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In the scrimmage, Dietrich Riley again made some nice plays. He had a nice hit on Derrick Coleman that forced a fumble, then picked off a pass from Darius Bell in the corner of the end zone. The pass, intended for freshman Anthony Barr, did hang in the air for a while.

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The offense did make some plays in the red zone scrimmage – it also had a chance to work against the No. 2 defense, which might have had a little something to do with that.

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Among the highlights for the offense – Malcolm Jones had some tough runs, including a big gainer where he ran through a tackle by Jordan Zumwalt; Jonathan Franklin picked up 17 yards on a well-executed screen pass; Franklin had a nice tough run at the goal line, splitting WILL linebacker Sean Westgate and safety Tony Dye.


KEVIN PRINCE ON THE WORK THAT HE DID …

‘'Yeah, it felt good. You know, I was in there just for run plays. The trainers didn't want me doing too much throwing, even though I could probably get away with some. They just put me in for some run plays, felt good, just to get out there and run around a little bit.''


The throwing that you've done …

‘'The last three days, we've just been doing some light throwing, just to build my arm back up a little bit and see where we're at in terms of pain level on the throws.''


What's the longest throw you've made?

‘'Twenty yards. It feels all right. It's coming along. It's getting better every day, which is what we're happy about. It's not progressing as fast as we'd want it to, but, you know, it is progressing so that's a plus.''


Are you getting concerned at all? Is Saturday a big goal, the scrimmage?

‘'I feel like I'll be ready for that. Obviously, I can't promise anything. This injury is just kind of lingering right now. I'm going to keep getting in the training room and get back out there as fast as I can.''


JOSH SMITH ON HIS RETURN …

‘'Man, just adjusting and stuff like that. I've had the little groin injury, you know. It's not bugging me too much and after I get it a lot more warmed up, I'm easing into it real well. The (knee) brace is back on, again, as you can see. I'm adjusting to that as well, getting out of breaks and stuff like that. My goal is to get to where it doesn't even matter what I'm wearing - ankle braces, knee braces and stuff like that. My plan is still to blow by somebody.''


Did the knee brace go back on because you needed it, or …

‘'It's just for protection, a precautionary-type deal.''


You're running around pretty good out there, but is that 100 percent? Are you close to where you should be or want to be at this point?

‘'That I don't even really know yet. I know that I always keep my goals set pretty high for myself, and practicing and camp, stuff like that, we're just going over the basic normal stuff right now, you know what I mean? I feel like the true test will come when we get down to game planning and figuring out how I can run plays and seeing what plays can get me in some space and get the ball in a good situation and see how I turn out then. Without that test and trial, that's tough to answer.''


But, physically, do you feel capable of that?

‘'Oh, yeah, I feel capable of that right now. Still easing my way into it, don't want to overwork anything and stuff like that. It gets tough because it's still a whole lot of watching. Some of the stuff, you just want to go and while you're warm you want to stay warm; you don't want to sit around all day.''


How much do you think you were set back not being on the field?

‘'It was a slight setback, not too much, but definitely a little, because the guys are all making a different curve in the learning and stuff like that. For this game, it's like, you can learn a lot of things, but you really have to get out there and try it to really know if you can do it, if you can physically do it. With those guys out there getting the reps and practicing every day, this is my first day and I just tried to cram in as much as I can to see if I could do this, or do this route. Guys are getting open at my position and, you know, I'm pretty confident that I'm going to make the catch. But my only concern right now is how open I'm going to get so I can make every ball coming my way a good situation.''


In terms of getting open today, creating some separation, were you where you thought you would be?

‘'Man, I thought I did pretty good. I mean, I had separation on pretty much all my routes. I got a couple of looks my way, but I guess the quarterbacks saw something else a few times and that happens, too. I've just got to come out of that and try to make a block down field. It's always team first, so whatever decision the quarterback makes, I think that's the best one. I would like for a lot of balls to come my way, but at the same time I just want to make sure what I did out there was correct so that me making any mistakes don't affect anyone else.''


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